Thank you for calming the storms in Lochlan’s life

When Chappy Beck first met Lochlan, he was the new kid in Year 6 “whose name you’d say 100 times a day”. Little did she know the huge role…

When Chappy Beck first met Lochlan, he was the new kid in Year 6 “whose name you’d say 100 times a day”.

Little did she know the huge role she’d play in helping him turn his life around – from explosive and combative, to calmer, happier, and focused in class. You helped make that possible. (more…)

Posted: 17/05/2019

Troupies roll up sleeves to help Townsville flood victims

When your small country school is closed due to flooding and your community is struggling in the wake of a large-scale disaster, what do you do?   If you’re…

When your small country school is closed due to flooding and your community is struggling in the wake of a large-scale disaster, what do you do?  

If you’re Rollingstone State School chaplain Travis Johnston, you roll up your sleeves and mobilise your town’s youth group, called the Troupies.

“The school was going underwater.  It was like a sinking ship, and I knew we were going to be off for days,” Chappy Travis recalls. (more…)

Posted: 19/03/2019

Students ‘tri’ out Camp Cooroibah!

Caboolture Special School sent their largest ever team of 41 senior students to compete in the Noosa Special Triathlon last year. But before the team set off on their…

Caboolture Special School sent their largest ever team of 41 senior students to compete in the Noosa Special Triathlon last year.

But before the team set off on their epic adventure, they spent three days preparing for the triathlon at SU QLD’s Camp Coorooibah, as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award Adventurous Journey.

Caboolture Special School’s then physical education teacher, Ben Byrne, says the camp was “a story of achievement”. (more…)

Posted: 15/02/2019

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

Chappy’s cadets bless Biggenden

Sometimes the impact of a school chaplain’s unconditional love and support reaches far beyond the playground.  With less than 1000 people calling the Central Queensland town of Biggenden home,…

Sometimes the impact of a school chaplain’s unconditional love and support reaches far beyond the playground. 

With less than 1000 people calling the Central Queensland town of Biggenden home, and less than 150 school students, there wasn’t a lot for young people to do when the school bell rang.

Biggenden chaplain, Moira Thompson, knew she could help.

“Ten years ago, Biggenden’s young people had little to do after school and very few were volunteers in the community,” Chappy Moira says.

“In 2009 I introduced a bushwalking program into the school. These remote hikes involved cliff climbing, scaling fallen trees, rock hopping creeks, scrub bashing, camping in rain, on starry summits or in caves, and swimming in crystal clear rock pools hours away from civilisation.”

Chappy Moira’s program was so successful, she needed something more to help feed into her students’ new-found passion for adventure.

“In 2012, with the support of our local council and emergency services we set up an Emergency Services Cadet unit for young people aged 12 and up.  We’ve had 20 young people in the unit since then, which equates to nearly half our high school,” Chappy Moira says.

Three cadets have won Australia Day awards for volunteering and ‘Chappy’, their Cadet Coordinator, is very proud of them.

But this admiration and respect is more than mutual, and shines a light on the impact a school chaplain has on the young people they work with.

Lucas was inspired and encouraged by his high school chaplain, Moira, and credits her for changing the trajectory of his life.

Emergency Services Cadet Lucas McAskill, who finished school recently, said his future was bright because of chappy Moira’s influence through the program.

Chappy has been a massive part in my life and has taught me about life. She has encouraged my quest for knowledge and most importantly has been a friend, a mentor and someone I will never forget,” Lucas says.

Anything I succeed in, whilst pursuing my future, will be because of Chappy’s influence, encouragement and overwhelming support.

For Moira, the work of chaplaincy doesn’t end at the school gate.

It’s about supporting young people to thrive in their school life and beyond.

“There is a ripple effect to what you do that can be seen in the mentoring given to cadets, providing them with opportunities to work with adults, and helping to reveal their generosity of heart,” she says.

“It can be seen in the development of trust and understanding, through engagement with the local community.  And it can be seen in the opportunity to foster wonder and awe at creation, through the huge unexplored mountain range in Biggenden.

“Being Cadet Coordinator continues the work of chaplaincy, bringing hope to a young generation,” says Moira.

Your support for school chaplaincy continues to bless so many young lives throughout Queensland.
To keep this support going, visit suqld.org.au/donate.

Posted: 5/02/2019

Horsing around reaps powerful change for Mikayla

Two years ago, Mikayla struggled with poor self-image and low self-esteem. Today, she’s a role model and an inspiration to others, including her best friend, who is now following…

Two years ago, Mikayla struggled with poor self-image and low self-esteem. Today, she’s a role model and an inspiration to others, including her best friend, who is now following in her footsteps.

Behind Mikayla’s massive transformation has been the loving support of her school chaplain, Erin, and her team of equine friends. You helped make that possible.

Allora P-10 State School chaplain, Erin Wilson, runs Mane Matters, a horse program that focusses on the social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of students from diverse backgrounds.

“We’ve worked with young people with major behavioural disorders, some with backgrounds of abuse, and others who have autism. We’ve had both bullies and the bullied, and young people who are grappling with who they are and their place in the world,” Chappy Erin says.

Since joining the program, Mikayla has made huge strides in her confidence and overall sense of wellbeing – and her love of horses.

“I’m more confident getting up in front of people now. I’ve learned how to have a relationship based on mutual respect. It’s such an amazing feeling when you connect with a horse that chooses to work with you. Chappy Erin calls it a heart-to-heart moment,” Mikayla says.

The bond between the horses and students is a huge Catalyst for change
– a chance to build confidence, trust, and self-esteem.

For Mikalya, there’s one horse in particular that she’s connected with.

“Fuggles is my favourite. I’ve been involved in her training and rehabilitation from previous bad experiences. I’ve loved seeing her transform from a scared, antisocial pony to now being able to trust people,” says Mikayla.

Mane Matters is also about supporting young people to make meaningful connections with the horses – the benefits of which flow both ways.

“Fuggles was one of our rescue ponies with a background of trauma and we never thought she’d be a ‘program pony’ at all. But now she’s one of our best,” says Erin.

A big reason for this, Erin explains, is the love and support Mikayla and the other students have shown Fuggles.

“Horses show us a lot about ourselves. They can act like a mirror for what we’re feeling and how we’re behaving,” she says.

Chappy Erin has seen many young people start the program with no self-confidence. But before long, they find their courage and begin to flourish.

“It’s about getting them to remain calm and be gentle with the horses. When the children are calm, the horses respond. It’s like that verse in the Bible that says, ‘Be still and know that I am God’. It’s in those calm and quiet times that we make those special connections,” she says.

Joining the Mane Matters program is not for the faint-hearted. There’s a lot of hard work involved and each student is expected to roll up their sleeves to help out. Mikalya is one who has risen to the challenge and is now mentoring others.

“I’ve seen a girl grow in confidence. I’ve seen her develop leadership skills and she’s really stepped into that mentoring role. It’s so encouraging to see,” says Chappy Erin.

Mikalya’s best friend, Sam, agrees.

“I decided to do this program after seeing the change in Mikayla’s life. I wanted what she had,” says Sam.

Your support is keeping chaplains like Erin in schools across Queensland. Thank you! 

To learn more about Chappy Erin’s Mane Matters program, check out the Facebook page, or to support her work directly, click here championyourchappy.everydayhero.com/au/erin-wilson

Posted: 5/02/2019

You helped special school students find their voice

“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable”. If American author, David Augsburger, got that right, Currimundi Special School chaplain,…

Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable”.

If American author, David Augsburger, got that right, Currimundi Special School chaplain, Bec West, is helping her students feel loved by helping establish the school’s first school council.

Chappy Bec, a former teacher who spent time teaching in Thailand, said the students have wholeheartedly embraced their student council.

(more…)

Posted: 12/12/2018

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

We’re happy, Jan!  LCC Chair gets Community Achievement Award

School chaplains do an amazing job, but no chappy is an island – behind every one is a Local Chaplaincy Committee helping them along. A little birdie told us…

School chaplains do an amazing job, but no chappy is an island – behind every one is a Local Chaplaincy Committee helping them along.

A little birdie told us this week that Elanora State High School LCC chairperson, Jan Drury, will receive a 2018 Queensland Community Achievement Award for her outstanding support of chaplaincy after being nominated by one of her school’s principal.

(more…)

Posted: 31/10/2018

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

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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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