Congratulations James Nash State High School chaplain, Kylie Read (pictured, left) and the equally amazing Ruth Polley for taking out this year’s Gympie Chamber of Commerce Community Organisation of the Year Award!
Kylie and Ruth received the award for the life-transforming work they’re doing through the Hope Reins program, which seeks to partner broken horses with broken people from the community to help unlock their full potential in life.
Participants in the program learn about horse handling and riding. They also learn skills in relationship building and farm maintenance with the aim to “restore relationships, trust and hope, while recreating and transforming the whole person”.
Both ladies were incredibly humbled by the win.
“The quality of the other finalists was extraordinary. I didn’t think we even had a chance, so it’s amazing. Ruth went up on the stage when they announced it and she certainly jumped in the air for joy,” says Chappy Kylie.
“We also have 57 volunteers at Hope Reins, and they are the heart of the program. So we’re really grateful to them because we couldn’t run this program without them. This award belongs to all of us,” she adds.
While Hope Reins is not strictly a school chaplaincy program, Kylie views it as an extension of her role as a school chaplain.
“We partner with chaplains from the other schools. We offer them different positions in the program. It’s great to see these chaplains come out and volunteer with their students and just continue walking beside them through their time here.”
Kylie admits that the ongoing drought has made it really tough for them to keep the program going but she’s grateful that God continues to meet their daily needs – even if it does get a little scary at times. It’s also the results of the program that has the Hope Reins team inspired to keep going.
“I could tell you many stories of people who had planned suicide but changed their mind as a result of coming to the program. We’ve had young offenders who felt their only calling in life was to be on the dole and end up in jail that have come through and have since gone on to college and are working now.
“It’s such a privilege to serve the community in this way with what most people would see as broken horses,” Kylie says.
Hope Reins also received over 1,000 votes for the Gympie Chamber of Commerce People’s Choice Award, which was good enough for a top 4 finish!
Well done Kylie and Ruth and your dedicated team of volunteers. You are doing an amazing job!
SU QLD school chaplains like Kylie have a great heart for children and young people in need. It’s your support that keeps them in our schools and positively impacts communities across Queensland. Visit suqld.org.au/donate today to keep this great work going. Thank you!