Narrogin fundraiser brings festive joy

Did you know the Hilltop Café at Narrogin Senior High School is WA’s only high school student-run restaurant? 

The café recently hosted more than 70 people for a Christmas in July celebration event, which raised funds for school chaplaincy. The event was organised by the Narrogin YouthCARE Support Network and was one of the most successful events they have ever run.

Guests were treated to a three-course meal prepared and served by the school’s hospitality students. Throughout the evening, there were jokes from the ‘questionable Christmas crackers’, live music (including Christmas songs) and various prizes on offer from raffles and games.

YouthCARE CEO Stanley Jeyaraj, who was in attendance, said the evening was a resounding success.

“A big thank you to the staff and students from the school for helping with the fundraiser, as well as the YouthCARE volunteers for their wonderful work on the day.”

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Stall a hit at Kelmscott expo

Chaplain Kerin Williams had a YouthCARE stall as part of Kelmscott Senior High School’s ‘Act Belong Commit’ Student Health Expo. 

There was a fantastic turnout, with more than 30 local services and organisations who support young people represented on the day. Students played games, took on challenges, MC Trooth from Reach1 Teach1 played a DJ set and even got some kids involved in freestyle rapping.

“I liked that there were so many different organisations in one place, so it’s easy to find one that suits each individual, the free stuff was cool too!” — Year 11 student

“Having a chaplain’s table was fabulous because at a school with 1400 students, I don’t often get the chance to talk to them without a referral,” Kerin said.

“I had a blast chatting with so many students about their day, giving away Lifeline cards and YouthCARE swag, plugging the programs I run, and quizzing them on who I am and where they can find me! These little chats build to meaningful conversations where I get to speak encouragement into their lives.”

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Volunteers honoured for outstanding service

Three YouthCARE CVE volunteers have been honoured for their outstanding service to the Gosnells school community. 

Ruth Welch (45 years of service), Beverley Pabedinskas (31 years) and Gillian King (25 years) were presented with Certificates of Appreciation at the annual Gosnells YouthCARE Council Chaplains and CVE Dedication Service at Thornlie Anglican Church. 

CVE Field Officer Shelley Puddle said it was wonderful to be able to honour such faithful volunteers. 

“These ladies have done an amazing job and their longevity is truly a testament to the great work they do,” she said. 

Mrs Welch has served for as long as YouthCARE has existed, and is still passionate about her role. “As a child, I really enjoyed storytelling, and volunteering gives me the opportunity to continue to do this with the children,” she said. 

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Metro Connect energises volunteers

More than 50 people attended CVE Metro Regional Connect at Westcity Church. 

CVE’s biggest metro event of the year began with a reflection from YouthCARE COO Michael Norman, who then handed out certificates of appreciation to some of our longest serving volunteers.

Volunteers heard about behavioural management, some practical ways to prepare for classes and how to deal with challenges in the classroom.

Morning tea was a great chance for people to mingle and get to know each other. Volunteers were then split into two groups — depending on whether they were involved with CRE or Treasure Hunters — for some specific workshops. 

Volunteer Shaw Cheong said the day was a wonderful time of fellowship and learning. 

“It was encouraging to have an opportunity to talk to other volunteers over tea, and to pick up some ideas and tips from them. Getting to meet the Field Officers was also great.”

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Chaplains hit the airwaves

Students from Halidon Primary School and North Woodvale Primary School interviewed chaplains Bronlyn Cathie and Di Sanders as part 89.7FM’s School of Thought program.

Students had creative control during the two-hour show and chose to ask their chaplains about their role, experiences, education and highlights. Di said the kids were absolutely amazing with their ability to run the whole show.

“They had obviously put in a lot of time preparing,” she said. “It was a great honour to be asked and I really enjoyed being interviewed with Bronlyn.”

Bronlyn also enjoyed the experience. “The students worked so hard and were extremely professional throughout the whole experience,” she said. 

Bronlyn and Di agreed that being interviewed together provided a great opportunity to talk about their work in two great local schools, as well as tell listeners about programs and initiatives that YouthCARE chaplains provide.

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Derby chaplaincy — a job like no other

The role of a chaplain can vary dramatically from school to school. Each position is unique and this is especially true for Derby District High School chaplain Nikki Stinson.

Nikki divides her time between various tasks, such as ‘intentional loitering’ — walking around during breaks to see if any students need to chat, and one-to-one sessions in her office with students, teachers and parents. After several suicides in the area, Nikki was asked to do a weekly hour-long program on local radio called Chaplain’s Corner.

“That was almost two years ago, and the radio program has become a way to do mass home visitation, to talk about parenting, health, emotions, and the many issues that students and families deal with every day.”

Nikki is also an artist and has naturally incorporated art therapy into her role as a chaplain.

“I keep a file of photocopies from adult colouring books on my ‘talking table’ along with a basket of markers and crayons, and I would say that is my greatest art resource,” she said.

“When kids or adults come in upset, angry or stressed, they’ll head straight for the file, start colouring and the talking follows.”

Bubba, Nikki’s tri-colour small dog, has also become part of the school family.

“He was invited to come to school not long after I started working by a couple of the deputy principals, and was such a hit with everyone that he’s been attending almost every day since then,” Nikki said. 

Bubba wears a vest made from an old school shirt, with a ‘Therapy Dog’ sticker, so people know why he’s there.

“When students are upset, angry or sad, there’s nothing like a cuddle with Bubba to make them feel better. It works for teachers too! When we’re ‘intentionally loitering’ at recess or lunch, Bubba has a way of knowing who needs to have a bit of a yarn and leads me to them.”

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Message from the CEO

During my recent visit to the Kimberley, I had the opportunity to meet many of our volunteers, supporters and chaplains – including a chaplain and her dog – who continue to make positive contributions to school communities.

Working in remote parts of the state can be extremely challenging. YouthCARE’s Support Networks in Narrogin and in Collie organised Christmas in July events for YouthCARE.

There was amazing community response for the oversubscribed events.

Thank you and well done! Two of our Area Chaplains Karen Nelson and Brent Findlay met the Prime Minister during his recent visit to WA.

The PM commended the great work of YouthCARE’s chaplains in the south of the State. CVE hosted its biggest metropolitan gathering of the year in what was a wonderful time of connection and fellowship. We also celebrated the service of our volunteers – some of whom have been with us since the beginning of YouthCARE. A fabulous achievement!

I trust the stories featured in this edition of Connect will leave you encouraged and informed of some of the wonderful work we do.

Stanley Jeyaraj

– CEO

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Givit – Goods for Good Causes

Givit is a free service connecting people donating items, with those who need it most.

All you need to do is sign-up on the website and request what you need for vulnerable students.

This can include anything from a bed, to a jumper or stationery.

Click here for a simple step-by-step guide on how to get involved.

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