COVID-19 has changed life as we know it. In this time of uncertainty and fear, love is the antidote – and your chaplains are there to share that message with children and their families. Head to suqld.org.au/bringhope for more information.
Chappy Marisa may be new to the title of ‘chaplain’ but has already been having an impact on her community in this unexpected season. After just 5 weeks in the role everything turned upside-down, and new systems were put in place to meet the demands of COVID-19.
“My job in COVID-19 has been about putting joy and hope back into the children’s lives. Many of them are facing their parents’ stress at home, so we have been playing lots of games and doing inclusive activities at school with the students who were still attending at the end of last term,” says Chappy Marisa.
“We’ve been playing basketball and mini-golf and having egg-and-spoon races and giving students the opportunity to come to you if they need to talk. I had a child break down in the middle of drawing on cement with chalk.”
This COVID-19 season is hard, and it’s affecting parents, children and grandparents across the world. But thankfully – your chaplains are there to replace fear with hope. They are there to be a friend for the lonely, and a listening ear to the overwhelmed.
“Kids, especially, need a support person. They need someone who has the time to speak into their lives and build them up when they’re feeling low,” says Chappy Marisa.
“The students still at school are struggling and feeling lonely. We went from a school of 400 students to a school of 20 – 30 students in a week. Being there for the students who are having to adapt, and being their support person is crucial right now.”
“These last few weeks, our teachers have been working incredibly hard to set up the online learning systems, and I was able to leave little gift bags of cookies and easter eggs in their pigeon holes to encourage them.”
This crucial support extends outside the school grounds. When a local family needed to feel seen and remembered, Chappy Marisa was there in a flash.
“There was a family who had just returned from a 5-month hospital stay with a premature newborn – but the grandmother wasn’t able to visit because of COVID-19. I was able to set up a welcome banner, and leave a kind note and balloons in her place,” says Chappy Marisa.
“Because of what’s happening, this family won’t be able to have a lot of support from friends and family around them. And even though it’s a small gesture, it’s a joy to be there to show the love and kindness of Jesus – it’s why I’m a chaplain.”
School chaplains across Queensland have been hard at work, sharing love and hope in a time of uncertainty.
At this crucial time of year, please consider giving to our Bring Hope Appeal so communities like Chappy Marisa’s can continue to receive the gift of hope in their time of need. Visit suqld.org.au/bringhope today.