COVID-19 has changed life as we know it. In this time of uncertainty and fear, hope is the antidote – and our chaplains are there to share that message with children and their families. Find out more at suqld.org.au/bringhope
Chappy Jason wears lots of hats in his community. Most recently, he has taken on the role of an artist, lifting spirits by leaving hand-painted wooden stars around town.
The idea came from an art-therapy group in the US called “Stars of Hope” – who have a mission to spread hope, show hope and shine hope in the world. Chappy Jason, along with his daughters, thought this would be a great way to thank the Frontline workers in this pandemic – particularly those working at the local hospital.
“The Stars for Hope initiative is focused on what we can do for others. It’s about acts of kindness, thankfulness and gratitude for other people – the real heroes in this time,” says Chappy Jason.
“It’s a nice way to change your focus, instead of dwelling on your own challenges. The local paper actually ran a nice story about it. The Police, Paramedics and Hospital Staff were overwhelmed by the kindness.”
Two of Chappy Jason’s helpers, seven-year old Esther and fifteen-year old Erina think the stars are a great way “to make people happy, and let [the workers on the Frontline] know we are thinking about them and that we are all in this together.”
In addition to being a fantastic star-painter, Chappy Jason has had his hands full working across three schools.
“The past few weeks have been challenging. I work across three different schools and all three schools are different. I’ll often run programs in the school on and off as they are needed, but that hasn’t been possible right now. Instead, it’s been about finding new ways to support kids, families and staff,” says Chappy Jason.
“When you hit a phase with lots of change, often anxiety and fear follow. At the start of COVID-19, there were lots of students who weren’t coping at all and were having breakdowns. They needed someone to sit with them and just listen.”
“Sadly, a listening adult is lacking in the lives of many young people – even those that live in a safe environment. Kids that live outside of that – in vulnerable situations and split homes – have even less of that crucial support.”
Chappy Jason’s story into chaplaincy came when he reached a crossroad in his own life, and he doesn’t regret a second of it.
“It’s definitely a God story. God planted it in my heart to become a school chaplain, and over and over again I have seen the impact a chaplain can have.
“These days, people just get caught up in the busyness of life and extra-curricular activities after school. Family time is missing. It’s so important that young people have an adult there to listen to them – that’s why I love my job.”
The work of a chaplain includes joy and many triumphs, but there are certainly moments of pain and grief. But it is a calling that cares for the well-being of little lives – and it’s a calling that makes Chappies like Jason, heroes.
Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others – visit suqld.org.au/donate for more ways to show your support.