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. For more information, visit suqld.org.au/bringhope.
Chappy Riss has been right in the thick of the raw emotions and anxiety faced by the students, teaching staff and families in her community.
“It’s a challenging time, but as chaplains we are here for such a time as this,” says Chappy Riss.
At the end of last term, Chappy Riss was able to work with the generous tuckshop lady to deliver food parcels to families in need, thanks to an incredibly generous P & C member suggesting that we do up some food parcels.
“With the food parcels, we really wanted to focus on the families in our community who were most in need. We were able to give them each three full bags of food which had bread, milk, drinks and other essentials.”
“It’s comforting to know that someone’s there when you’re going through a rough patch, and that was the aim with these food packages.”
Chappy Riss knows that emotional support is just as important in times of hardship, and she has been keeping an eye on the mental well-being of the students and teaching staff at her school.
“During this time, I’ve been privileged to have some really in-depth conversations with students and staff. I was really grateful for the last week of term, where I could talk with the teachers as they do some serious prep for what their teaching space will look like going forwards,” says Chappy Riss.
“One teacher came to me sharing her concerns around her mum who is a medical professional. Another lady had a family member pass away overseas, and she couldn’t get to his funeral because of the restrictions. Really listening to people is so important for their emotional well-being, and as a chaplain that’s what I can do.”
“Times of crisis are when people most need support. I would encourage my fellow chaplains to remember the value they bring to this space. We are encouragers – the people who bring a smile and calm to the chaos. We are the people who can bring comfort and really take time to listen to those around us.”
Chaplaincy is not only reserved to supporting children and young people, it’s about supporting the community so our young (and not so young) people can dare to hope and dream in the midst of crisis. Your support is bringing hope – the antidote to fear – the communities like the one that Chappy Riss feels honoured to serve in.
“I know of a little girl who comes from a difficult family background, so I put together some pictures and words for her to make her own story book whilst away from school. She was so excited to have a project to work on over the holidays! I could see it meant a lot to her mum too – knowing that someone took the time to look out for her daughter,” says Chappy Riss.
“What I love about chaplaincy is there are so many ways to be a light and connect with those around you. Everyone needs something different in this season, and I’m grateful to be here to look out for my community. I really love my job!”
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 Riss’ can continue to receive the gift of hope in their time of need. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others during this time. Visit suqld.org.au/bringhope today.