“I saw the body of my best friend lying lifeless on the ground…”
How do you process the sudden death of your closest friend at age 16?
“It was my birthday party. We slept out in a tent overnight. One of my friends got up early in the morning to go outside. Sometime between her leaving and when I woke up, she’d passed away… I found her.”
“I saw the body of my best friend lying lifeless on the ground,” says Shyla.
Exactly what happened to this precious young life remains a mystery.
For Shyla, she was wracked with grief and guilt. She wondered how she could ever hope to overcome the tragedy of losing her closest friend at her birthday party. How could she even return to school?
There was one person she knew she could turn to.
It wasn’t long ago that Shyla wandered the schoolyard alone. She’d sit in the corner and hear the other girls laughing and joking together, enjoying friendship. It’s something Shyla didn’t have.
“I kept to myself. I was very shy. I really wasn’t confident to put myself out there,” she says.
But that changed after meeting her school chaplain, Josh.
“It’s hard to explain, he just inspired me to help and comfort other people. He helped me come out of my shell and not be afraid to be me,” Shyla recalls.
Her newfound confidence soon translated into making friends and engaging more in school. She joined the ‘tech crew’ and gained skills she knew would help her in life beyond the school grounds.
Life couldn’t have been better for Shyla… But on that tragic morning, it all came crashing down.
After witnessing that confronting scene on that fateful April morning (almost 12 months ago now) Shyla was inconsolable. There was only one person she would talk to – Chappy Josh.
“I could come and talk to him, cry, or just vent. He made such a difference when I needed that support. I could pour out my heart and then leave ready to face the rest of my day,” says Shyla.
Together with other wellbeing and support staff from the school, Chappy Josh ensured that not just Shyla, but the wider community were supported during this tragic time. It’s what chaplains do.
It’s what you are doing when you support school chaplaincy. You are saying that children and young people matter.
Without your support who
would Shyla have turned to?
You can be there for children like Shyla. You can assure they have the support they need in times of crisis.
Chaplains give children
a safe place to go.
They help you to grow in confidence so you
can begin to really enjoy life.
We need your help.
For more than 27 years school chaplaincy has been a pillar of our school communities – but the future is uncertain.
Federal funding is not guaranteed beyond 2018.
For the many more Shylas in schools across Queensland, please help us keep this support alive, regardless of government funding.
We need to raise $79,000 before March 31 because children and young people like Shyla need their chaplains.
You can bridge this gap.
Your tax-deductible gift today will be used to:
- Train and equip new chaplains for roles in new schools,
- Resource chaplains and young volunteers with the skills to run life-changing small groups for at-risk youth, and
- Provide necessary support to enable more than 600 chaplains in 850 schools to meet the needs of young people like Shyla.