Lauren’s gifts from the heart

Through your support school communities across Queensland are being blessed by the everyday actions of their school chaplains. But as Chappy Carol from Vienna Woods State School can attest…

Through your support school communities across Queensland are being blessed by the everyday actions of their school chaplains.

But as Chappy Carol from Vienna Woods State School can attest to, the blessings often flow both ways.

When she first met a big-hearted young girl named Lauren, she was moved by her compassion for those in need. What followed has been a partnership that continues to bless and impact her local community.

Since she was in prep, Lauren has given away her birthday presents to those in need.

This selfless act started after the Queensland floods, when Lauren saw the devastation that affected other kids in her class. The following year, six year old Lauren and her mum, Deb, contacted a chaplain through the Radio Station 96.5, and gave gifts to a little girl whose house burnt down.

On the invitation to her birthday parties, Lauren writes specific details of someone in need and the people at her party bring gifts to be passed on anonymously.

Over the last eight years, Lauren has helped a man suffering from cancer, a lonely teenage girl and a family who lost their mum. 

“I know that money can’t buy happiness, but it can make a difference when it makes people feel special,” Lauren says.

Since she was in prep, Lauren has been giving away her birthday presents to those in need.

The process of selecting a special ‘someone’ each year, led to partnering with local chaplains who are the heartbeat of their communities, explains Deb, who also volunteers with the Local Chaplaincy Committee.

“Chaplains know that perfect person who needs a little bit of encouragement,” Deb says.

“Over the years they’ve played a really important role for Lauren, because they’ve been our gift registry!

“It’s a very joyful journey. I get a warm-fuzzy smile thinking about it.”

Chappy Carol says the partnership between chaplaincy and families is incredibly important.

“This family, everything they do is about giving. Lauren is very generous and her mum, Deb is always thinking of ways to bless others. As a chaplain, I get the best job of sharing the love around,” Chappy Carol says.

Lauren has started a beautiful tradition of generosity that will last for many years to come.

Your support helps make partnerships like Lauren and Chappy Carol’s possible. Please help keep this going. Visit suqld.org.au/donate.

Posted: 2/12/2019

When floodwaters subsided, your support saw them through

When her high school students were being evacuated from their homes in the dead of night, with rain pouring so hard it was deafening, William Ross State High School…

When her high school students were being evacuated from their homes in the dead of night, with rain pouring so hard it was deafening, William Ross State High School chaplain, Kay, was there to support them in any way she could.

The February floods tore through the Townsville high school community, destroying everything in its path – carpets, furniture, resources. Some staff lost everything.

William Ross State High School principal, Allan Evans, who steered the school community through the flood disaster, said one teacher was lucky to escape with her life.

“[The teacher’s] fiance was shifting the vehicle up the road to get out of the water and when they walked out again the water was chest-deep. The guys in the boat said ‘dump the lot or die’, so they got in the boat and that’s what they left with,” he says.

Chappy Kay recalls that many students feared for their lives too.

“I was talking to some kids and they said they were taken out in great big army trucks, and there was a cover over the top but because the rain was so heavy, there was a foot-and-a-half of water inside the truck,” she says.

“They couldn’t see anything, and every time the truck lurched, the parents were grabbing their kids because there was so much water, and they didn’t want them to drown inside the truck.”

In the light of day, the devastation became heartbreakingly clear. Many of the buildings at nearby Oonoonba State School had to be completely gutted and rebuilt.

Mr Evans found himself adopting 350 year 3-6 students on the high school campus for Term 1 after quickly offering his support.

“We were given 12 hours to completely revamp the school. We were a little protective of the younger students,” Mr Evans says.

Even after the floodwaters began to subside, it was clear that the full impact was still being felt. Mr Evans recalls that many of the students would panic whenever it would start to rain again. “Every time it rained, it was like they were re-traumatised,” he says.

But he was full of praise for Chappy Kay and the school’s other support staff.

“The support staff are the pivotal edge of any change. Kay is one of five support staff and each brings that element of support and that’s critical,” he said.

“The day-to-day business, the staff have got the ammunition to deal with it. But when you’ve got the blow-ups, a teacher can’t handle that because they’ve
got 20 other kids – that’s when you call for Chappy.”

Chappy Kay was there to support her traumatised school community because of your support. Help keep this support going, visit suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 10/10/2019

Backpacker’s journey becomes a life of service

When Julia Creek State School chaplain Angelina was feeling lost and hopeless as a teenager in her native Germany, she met a shepherd – well, a teacher whose surname…

When Julia Creek State School chaplain Angelina was feeling lost and hopeless as a teenager in her native Germany, she met a shepherd – well, a teacher whose surname meant ‘shepherd’.

After her parents’ divorce, Angelina was searching for help to navigate her feelings of confusion and rejection. (more…)

Posted: 11/04/2019

You’re changing lives through SMASH Camp

When a young person experiences God’s love and hope on camp, it’s always an incredible thing. But when they turn their experience into a wellspring of life for the…

When a young person experiences God’s love and hope on camp, it’s always an incredible thing.

But when they turn their experience into a wellspring of life for the next generation – that’s truly remarkable.

SMASH is an SU QLD cluster camp for high school students in Brisbane’s North West. From dance parties and live music, to tubing and giant water slides, the week has heaps of fun activities for campers to enjoy.

Sam Green has directed SMASH Camp for the past eight years, and in that time more than a thousand campers have enjoyed a fun-filled week of community, conversation and spiritual input.

But Sam’s story with SMASH goes back to his first camp when he was just 15 years old, where he first heard of and experienced God’s love.

“I heard about SMASH Camp in Grade 10,” Sam recalls.

“My friends had gone the year before and had come back raving about how much they loved it. The next year I came along.

“I just remember feeling – as soon as I got there – the energy and atmosphere and environment. It was super caring and loving, and it was pretty easy to settle into that straight away.”

Sam had been on school camps before, but SMASH was very different.


SMASH Camp is helping change young lives for the better.

“Having so many leaders giving up their time to care for me – that was so different in itself,” Sam says.

“I’d also never experienced a Christian camp before. But there’s no doubting my spiritual experience on SMASH was a positive one, which had a significant impact on my life. I became a Christian when I was in Grade 12, between camps.”

SMASH not only impacted Sam’s faith journey but also his personal life, so when the opportunity came for him to become a leader on camp, he was keen.

Fast forward a couple of years and Sam was heading up the directing team.

“In 2018 we focused on how Jesus is the light of the world, and how regardless of where the kids are at in their lives outside of camp, there is always hope.

“As leaders, we have found our hope in Jesus, and being able to share His life-transforming message was incredible.”

After eight years of directing SMASH Camp, Sam will now pass the reins to the next generation of leadership.

“I know SMASH is in good hands and I’m excited to see where the new directors take it,” Sam says.

“They know that SMASH is SMASH because of the God we serve. So it’s exciting to see how they bring their gifts and talents into that space to glorify God.” If you’re interested in leading or attending an SU QLD cluster camp in your area, contact SU QLD Camps on (07) 3112 6583 or email the team at info@sucamps.org.au

Posted: 17/01/2019

Chappy on cloud 9 after surprise Air Cadet award

There is more to school chaplains than high fives, games of handball, running programs and connecting with children and young people. Sometimes they win awards for being amazing in…

There is more to school chaplains than high fives, games of handball, running programs and connecting with children and young people. Sometimes they win awards for being amazing in other ways.

Nambour State College Chaplain, Ryan Lowes, was recently awarded Airman of the Year for 2WG Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC).

The award left the chappy veteran speechless.

(more…)

Posted: 19/09/2018

Chappies make a school a better place

It’s Chappy Week, and while we could talk for hours about how wonderful and amazing our chaplains are, it’s even more special when that high praise comes from other…

It’s Chappy Week, and while we could talk for hours about how wonderful and amazing our chaplains are, it’s even more special when that high praise comes from other Queensland state school support staff.

(more…)

Posted: 18/05/2018

Joy of children’s faces, mud pits, and school camps – all in a day’s work for Chappy Donna

Seeing joy on children’s faces is what school chaplain Donna Shearing loves most about her role at Back Plains and Clifton state schools on the Darling Downs. “My happiest…

Seeing joy on children’s faces is what school chaplain Donna Shearing loves most about her role at Back Plains and Clifton state schools on the Darling Downs.

“My happiest moments are always when I see change for the better in a student’s life,” the eight-year chappy veteran said.

(more…)

Posted: 18/05/2018

Chappy Les

When luck runs out you’re giving hope

Australia has long gone by the moniker of the ‘lucky country’, but for hundreds of outback Queensland families, luck is as absent as rain.  Families are struggling under the…

Chappy Les

Australia has long gone by the moniker of the ‘lucky country’, but for hundreds of outback Queensland families, luck is as absent as rain. 

Families are struggling under the enormous weight of crippling debt, financial insecurity, isolation and hopelessness. 

(more…)

Posted: 16/03/2018

Chappy! Chappy! Chappy! Oi! Oi! Oi!

At SU QLD, we know our hard-working school chaplains are amazing and we like to make a fuss of them every chance we get.  But it’s even cooler when Federal…

At SU QLD, we know our hard-working school chaplains are amazing and we like to make a fuss of them every chance we get.  But it’s even cooler when Federal politicians do it for us!

On Australia Day, 16 chaplains in the Hon. Peter Dutton’s Federal electorate of Dickson were honoured at a breakfast and awards ceremony, where he presented each chappy with the Dickson Appreciation Award “for recognition of your outstanding service to our school communities”.

(more…)

Posted: 7/03/2018

Chappy throws in the oil rag to build community

Former diesel mechanic, Brad Hartland, had job offers rolling in after completing his degree in Business Management, but instead he felt the call to school chaplaincy at Seville Road…

Former diesel mechanic, Brad Hartland, had job offers rolling in after completing his degree in Business Management, but instead he felt the call to school chaplaincy at Seville Road State School.

Instead of closing deals, today Brad is breaking down cultural barriers, bringing communities together and making a positive impact in the lives of the children he serves.

Located next to the Holland Park Mosque, Seville Road State School is home to a school population that is approximately 50 per cent Muslim. As such, the prospect of a Christian chaplain at a largely Muslim school initially raised a few eyebrows.  (more…)

Posted: 17/05/2017

See how your support impacts young lives
Sign up to our monthly e-News