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

Feeding the 1,100 – meet Queensland’s top dad

A big congratulations to Wynnum local, charity-worker and 37-year-old father-of-two, Phil Sargeson, who was named the 2019 Queensland Father of the Year – an award proudly presented by SU QLD….

A big congratulations to Wynnum local, charity-worker and 37-year-old father-of-two, Phil Sargeson, who was named the 2019 Queensland Father of the Year – an award proudly presented by SU QLD. Phil was nominated by his wife Samara, who spoke highly of his dedication to their kids.

“He is just an absolutely beautiful father,” Samara says.

“He spends large amounts of quality time with our kids – he has such a beautiful bond with both Joe and Hope – they just relish being in his company.”

For Phil, being a dad has had a huge impact on his life, he says.

“It helped me become more selfless and put their [his kids] needs above my own.”

In 2015, along with his wife Samara, Phil launched Cereal for Coffee, a charity focused on providing a healthy breakfast for kids who miss out.

“One in five kids turn up at school without breakfast,” Phil says.

“We knew a youth worker at our local school who was running a breakfast program and decided to help him out in getting supplies.”

Phil had the idea of going to local cafes and getting them on board.

“We asked a few cafes if they’d be willing to give away free coffee in exchange for cereal boxes – just for one day,” Phil recalls.

“In the first year nine cafes participated in the Manly area. We collected around 450 boxes of cereal – it took five car loads to collect them all!”

Since its inception, Cereal for Coffee has grown significantly. They’re now feeding more than 1,100 Brisbane young people a healthy breakfast each week.

Congratulations Phil – a deserving winner. Keep up the great work!

Posted: 18/09/2019

You’re connecting busy dads with their children

It’s not always easy for dads to spend quality time with their children in today’s competitive, fast-paced world. But the need is vital. One way Pallara State School’s Chappy…

It’s not always easy for dads to spend quality time with their children in today’s competitive, fast-paced world. But the need is vital.

One way Pallara State School’s Chappy Andrea is helping parents connect with their children is through an annual Camp Out at the school, where dads play games, sleep in tents, cook up burgers on the BBQ, and spend one-on-one time with their child.

Camp Out provides the opportunity for vital connections to grow between fathers and their children. Your generous support for chaplaincy is helping to deliver programs like this. (more…)

Posted: 15/08/2019

Helping your child navigate cliques and friendship groups

Everyone wants to feel accepted, especially young people. Childhood friendships influence the way kids will interact with others as an adult, and also contribute greatly to their self-esteem. The…

Everyone wants to feel accepted, especially young people. Childhood friendships influence the way kids will interact with others as an adult, and also contribute greatly to their self-esteem.

The dynamics of friendship groups, especially in our highly-connected society, can present real challenges such as peer pressure and conflict. Kids might feel they have to change to conform to the group’s rules, even if they don’t agree.

Being able to identify the difference between belonging to a group, as opposed to trying to fit in to be popular, is vital for kids to understand. (more…)

Posted: 15/07/2019

Helping your child when families break up

Max is 8 years old. His parents have separated. Over time, he is changing. His relationships at school and at home are more dysfunctional and disrupted. He is not…

Max is 8 years old. His parents have separated. Over time, he is changing. His relationships at school and at home are more dysfunctional and disrupted. He is not sleeping well. He is not as happy as he was. On occasions he yells out how unfair things are.

This is just one way separation may affect a child. There are many other ways, of course.

In any case, separation is a loss for the child – a loss of what they need: security, a sense of status, and of significance.  However, children can have different outcomes depending on what happens around them, even after separation. And you can make a difference. (more…)

Posted: 17/05/2019

Tackling bullying for our children’s sake

Sadly, bullying is common in our society, and our schools are not immune. This month’s Parenting Corner writer, educator and social entrepreneur Rachel Downie of racheldownie.com, shares her tips…

Sadly, bullying is common in our society, and our schools are not immune.

Educator and social entrepreneur, Rachel Downie.

This month’s Parenting Corner writer, educator and social entrepreneur Rachel Downie of racheldownie.com, shares her tips on how parents and grandparents can help their children in the schoolyard:

It’s important to understand what bullying is. It’s deliberate and repetitive behaviour which seeks to achieve dominance and power over another person.

More often than not, bullies act the way they do because they’ve learned it from others. A significant number of bullies have been bullied themselves (1).

Bullying is not: a one-off fight, equal-sided teasing, friends arguing, being bossy, or expressing negative thoughts.

There are four main types of bullying: physical, verbal, social (spreading rumours, social exclusion), and cyber bullying.

Bullying is a problem we all need to work as a community to solve.

If your child is bullied, teach them what to do. It’s also imperative as a loving community that we teach our kids to stand up for others, too, in a safe and respectful way.

You’ll be supporting them to change the culture and empowering them to say no to bullying!

References: 1. Olweus, D. (1999). Norway. In P. K. Smith, Y. Morita, J. Junger-Tas, D. Olweus, R. Catalano, & P. Slee (Eds.), The nature of school bullying: A cross-national perspective (pp. 7-27). London & New York: Routledge.
2. https://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2018/11/uq-efforts-see-bullying-recognised-globally-contributor-mental-illness

As parents, grandparents and carers, what can we do?

  • Slow everything down and breathe! Please don’t lose it in front of your child (do that later in your bedroom). They’re already stressed and don’t need to take responsibility for your feelings (because they will).
  • Right now, you need to L I S T E N, H U G and L I S T E N again! Praise them for telling you because you want them to know they can always come to you. Ask, “What do you need right now?”
  • Don’t take over. As carers we want to ‘fix it’ and this means we want to drive what happens next. Your child needs to feel part of every step of the healing process, because they need to be the one walking forward.
  • Fact check. Is it bullying? Has it been repeated? Is it deliberate and aggressive? I know it’s hard but you’ve only heard one side of the story.
  • Collect evidence (particularly if it’s cyberbullying).
  • If it is school based, contact the school. Make an appointment to see the relevant staff member. Don’t forget, the school and you are on the same team – your child’s. It’s important you let them guide you.
  • Role model appropriate behaviour.
  • Don’t contact the parents of the other child.
  • The school is your intermediary.

Posted: 5/02/2019

Students serving HOPE to families in need

American grief and loss counsellor, Alan Wolfet, once said, “Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.”  If that’s true, then the students at Beaudesert State School are…

American grief and loss counsellor, Alan Wolfet, once said, “Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.”  If that’s true, then the students at Beaudesert State School are sending containers of love out into their community for people who need it most.

The HOPE cooking group was born from a small group of Year 5 students approaching their school chaplain, Jade Cocks, about wanting to help people.  After Chappy Jade talked to the staff for ideas, the school’s Head of Special Education Services suggested a cooking group.

(more…)

Posted: 7/11/2018

You supported Kim’s broken-hearted family

When Natalia was 11-years old, she faced a situation no child should. Her mum, Kim, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Along with her nine siblings, Natalia was left to…

When Natalia was 11-years old, she faced a situation no child should.

Her mum, Kim, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Along with her nine siblings, Natalia was left to journey through her teenage years without a mum… but thankfully there was someone she could count on. (more…)

Posted: 12/10/2018

If art imitates life, Moranbah’s in safe hands

Moranbah school chaplain Desley Kerr knows all too well the impact that domestic violence is having on children. “A single-parent family had been hiding here for years — the…

Moranbah school chaplain Desley Kerr knows all too well the impact that domestic violence is having on children.

“A single-parent family had been hiding here for years — the child never having been to a park or shop or played with friends because of threats to their lives,” she shared.

“I know of people who have spent the night hiding outside in bushes because they didn’t feel safe to go into their own home.  Our children should never be too scared to be home!

(more…)

Posted: 17/09/2018

What is Family Space?

Family Space is a resource-based website that’s all about nurturing the family unit.

Our mission is to equip, empower and nurture family households and church families across Australia.

Family Space seeks to support children, teenagers, parents and churches through practical resources, activities and expert advice.

We’re all about nurturing healthy families and creating healthy communities.

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