18 May 2018

Chappy Dan growing seeds of change

Posted in SU QLD

Chappy Dan Dubbeld walked away from a career in engineering so he could help children and young people in his community.  Now the 17-year chappy veteran, at Rasmussen State School and Thuringowa State High School, is using a community garden to help his students grow.

“In Rasmussen State School, we’ve got a community garden that’s been developed through the I Grow in Grandad’s Garden book by Brian Andrews, and we’ve got a big market garden developing out of that,” Chappy Dan said.

“I also use the space for mentoring students.  We grow seeds, we see progress, we get to talk and learn together and build confidence.  I also use it after school for parents, grandparents, family, and interested community members.

“For me, the garden continues to be an opportunity to reach people where they’re at; see the nature of families where they’re at.”

And the need is constant, with both schools located in a highly transient and impoverished area of Townsville with many disengaged students.

“For me, it’s about the child that I might not have much to do with throughout most of their schooling but then all of a sudden when they’re a senior student and there’s an issue, they identify me as the person they trust that they’d like to talk that through with,” Chappy Dan said.

“I think those students see me as a safe person, as a stable person, and when they need that, they identify me.  It’s those surprises that make it special for me.”

Chappy Dan’s garden is set up with the resilience zones covered in the book as a part of the journey through the garden, but the garden as a whole only has plants which are food or for production of food.

The garden currently grows bananas, citrus, rosella, sweet potato, corn, watermelon pumpkin, tomatoes, paw paw, pineapples, spinach, mint, stevia, coriander, lemongrass, basil, and oregano.  These are sold to teachers for a donation, but the plan to have a stall at the school’s front gate.

This Chappy Week you can keep the seeds of school chaplaincy growing, visit www.suqld.org.au/donate

Jennifer Kerr

Media and Communications Administrator

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