A record $3,500 was raised for school chaplaincy in Bunbury, as more than 150 people attended the annual Devonshire morning tea at Jim and Flo Cunniffe’s home.
Perfect weather greeted guests to the Carey Park property who were treated to delicious food and live music from local band JARK.
South West Coast Area Chaplain David Cunniffe said he was delighted to see the local community turn out and show their support for YouthCARE.
“It was a fantastic day,” he said. “It was great to connect with the wider community and wonderful to see the increase in numbers from previous years.”
“The plant store also sold well as people took inspiration from the garden.”
Bunbury YouthCARE Council chairman Stephen Foster said the support from the community including schools, local government, businesses, churches and individuals was greatly appreciated.
When it comes to buying school equipment, some students need a helping hand.
Noticing a need in their local community, local couple David and Christine Thomas and chaplain Kim Scaddan decided to help provide stationery for students at Grovelands Primary School.
“We regularly receive children into our school that come without anything at all,” Mrs Scaddan said. “Some families are reluctant to even send their children to school due to not being able to buy basic supplies needed to feel ‘ready’ for school.
“The idea that seemed to make most sense was to see if a few backpacks filled with the school booklist could be provided for each year level. “I provided Christine with the booklists, she took the proposal to her leadership group, and they filled them with the items from the booklist from each year level.”
More than 10 backpacks have been distributed this year already. “It means kids can focus on learning, instead of worrying about supplies,” Mrs Scaddan said.
Travelling from as far Kalgoorlie and Busselton, 17 CVE Convenors gathered at YouthCARE’s central office for the official 2017 launch.
After spending time being reminded of the significance and power of the work they do, the group ran through a refresher overview on what is involved in being a Convenor. The morning also covered what to expect for the coming year, and some changes CVE have made to Treasure Hunters’ training.
Interim CVE Team Leader Katie Sargent said it was a very successful morning with all Convenors feeling empowered, encouraged and equipped for the year ahead.
The CVE Department recently hosted a training day for nine new Treasure Hunters volunteers.
It was the first time training had been run as a one-day intensive.
Volunteers were reminded of the privilege it is to be invited as guests into schools. They were also taught skills and important information along with finding out about some fun new games and activities.
Interim CVE Team Leader Katie Sargent said the new streamlined approach had been very successful. “We are excited about the year ahead with more new schools wanting to have a Treasure Hunters program in their school,” she said.
Treasure Hunters groups are run by CVE volunteers during lunchtime or after school and give children the opportunity to hear bible stories and take part in activities that teach christian values.
“The CVE Department have several schools asking for a Treasure Hunters program for their school – which is very exciting – but we need to find volunteers to join a team so we can begin,” Ms Sargent said.
The New Year started with a bang with YouthCARE hosting its biggest ever gathering of chaplains for Chaplaincy Formation.
The event was held over two days and saw more than 300 chaplains from across state journey to Catherine’s College UWA for a time of fellowship, learning and networking.
Keynote speakers included new Education Minister Hon. Sue Ellery MLC, former Education Minister Hon. Peter Collier MLC and Father Joe Parkinson.
The room is silent, but there is plenty being said between YouthCARE chaplain Corey Piestrzeniewicz and a couple of her students.
Mrs Piestrzeniewicz is the first YouthCARE chaplain to be placed because of her knowledge of Auslan – the sign language of the Australian Deaf community.
Mrs Piestrzeniewicz worked for the WA Deaf Society as a Paraprofessional Auslan Interpreter, before making the switch to chaplaincy.
“I thought it would be a great opportunity to still be in the Deaf community and work specifically with young people in a very privileged position,” she said. “It takes a lot of courage and trust for a teenager to open up and be vulnerable with someone. The fact that I get to be that person for these students is a huge honour that I don’t take lightly.”
“Being able to communicate effectively without needing an interpreter, has given the students the opportunity to talk to someone who knows the uniqueness of their culture and community in a private and confidential setting – it brings a sense of comfort and ease to the situation.”
Principal Leanne Potter said Corey was “a gift to our deaf school”.
“Not only does she visit students out of hours in homes and hospitals when they are unwell, she does the same for staff – often armed with food,” she said.
“It is really important to have someone in the school like a chaplain, because they fill the rather large cracks that can appear, that teachers have no time to attend to.
“As far as we know, we have the only chaplain/interpreter in Australia and we are very proud of our Australian First.”
This year is a milestone year for the organisation as YouthCARE celebrates 45 years of serving the Western Australian community.
Our anniversary includes 45 years of Christian Values Education and 35 years of School Chaplaincy.
In that time, we have experienced significant growth: in 1982, YouthCARE started with just three chaplains. Today there are more than 400 chaplains in over 550 schools – and those numbers are growing.
YouthCARE continues to receive praise from the local community and our political leaders.
During a pre-election debate, the leaders of the Liberal and Labor parties showed united support for YouthCARE’s school chaplaincy.
Their responses came after CEO Stanley Jeyaraj asked what their commitment was beyond 2018, when the current funding agreement ends.
Both said YouthCARE’s school chaplaincy service was a great support to children and families and allowed other staff to carry out their roles more effectively.
Mark McGowan said chaplaincy was a vital service in the school community.
“I’ve had considerable involvement with chaplains in my electorate of Rockingham, they do a brilliant job,” he said.
“I agree that the program should continue. It is a very good program and the funding should roll on.”
I trust you are all enjoying a fruitful start to the year.
Here at YouthCARE, 2017 began with our biggest ever gathering of chaplains in Perth, before more chaplains joined the ranks to start the new school year.
As most of you will know, we have seen a change in state government and we congratulate WA’s new Premier and long-time YouthCARE supporter Hon. Mark McGowan MLA on his success.
Mr McGowan recently reaffirmed his commitment to state school chaplaincy beyond 2018 and we welcome this great news.
We’re thankful for the wonderful bipartisan support we receive from both major parties.
We have come a long way since our inception in 1972 and as we celebrate our 45th anniversary we acknowledge all those people who went before us who played major roles in getting YouthCARE to where it is today.
Chaplaincy and Christian Values Education continue to grow and adapt to the changing needs of our school communities and we are excited for all the year has to offer.
Stanley Jeyaraj – CEO
Australian Red Cross is partnering with ACRATH to organize a Workshop on the topic of Forced Marriage. The workshop will be delivered by ACRATH Community Development Worker Liz Payne and Dr Carol Kaplanian on Friday 5th May.
This workshop is aimed at practitioners and other parties wanting to learn more about forced marriage. It will equip participants with the skills and information required to be able to recognize the indicators of forced marriage, understand Australia’s response to early and forced marriage, and to respond to disclosures by making appropriate referrals to key agencies.
Please pass on these details to any other people who may be interested in attending. To enrol in the workshop please follow the instructions on the flyer.