More than 60 people came down to Life City Church for a YouthCARE mega morning tea. In attendance were principals, chaplains, City of Gosnells Mayor Olwen Searle and church representatives.
The guests of honour were local MLAs Stephen Price (Forrestfield), Yaz Mubarakai (Jandakot) and Terry Healy (Southern River).
Tony Buti (Armadale) unfortunately was unable to attend due to illness. The morning was opened by Terry Healy, who spoke about his time as a teacher.
“It wasn’t until I started working with chaplains, that I discovered how crucial and important the role is,” he said.
“They’re not youth workers, they’re not teachers, they’re not nurses or psychiatrists. There is an incredible unique role for chaplains in our organisations. I want to convey on behalf of my colleagues, how much we really appreciate it.”
After some food and drink, guests sat down with their local MLAs to talk about what they do, challenges of the role and the positive impact chaplaincy has in school communities.
Since 2001, more than $588,000 has been raised for school chaplaincy by the City of Wanneroo Charity Golf Day.
This year, the day was once again a huge success, with more than $38,000 raised for school chaplaincy. A total of 33 teams of four golfers took part in the event at Carramar Golf Course, which featured representatives from local businesses, council and schools.
Chaplains drove around in decorated golf carts bringing drinks, snacks and prizes to the players. City of Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts said the work that chaplains do is “second to none”.
“They are just an amazing group of people with the biggest hearts and I know that all of their schools are so appreciative of the work that they do,” she said.
The Albany Golf Club also hosted a similar event for the first time, which raised $3,000 for chaplaincy. Albany YCC fundraiser coordinator Noeline Rowsell said she was delighted with how the day turned out.
“It was a great day all round. Beautiful weather, happy players and a pleasing amount of money raised. Everyone was keen to support YouthCARE and Albany Golf Club is happy to make it an annual event.”
CVE Team Leader Katie Sargent visited Hollywood Primary School to see how the Treasure Hunters club was going. The club, which is run on Thursday afternoons, transitioned from CRE three years ago.
Through games, Bible stories and school values, students develop a greater awareness of the world around them. The afternoon is a much anticipated part of the Morgan family’s week.
Mum Rita, said the club had been a great way for her kids, Isabel, Gareth and Richard, to make friends in a new school.
“We need support to teach our kids values and because it’s values based, that’s what I love,” she said. “I also love that it’s nondenominational, which is fabulous.”
Year 3 student Gareth said he enjoyed playing the games and learning about God.
“I remember the story about Daniel and the Lion’s Den, I liked it a lot and I really liked the one about the son coming home after he left,” he said. “His dad still loved him and they had a party because he came home. When you come to Treasure Hunters, you feel like the people really care about you, they are really nice.”
Despite only starting in Term 2 this year, Treasure Hunters at Poynter Primary has grown to become one of the largest. Aided by several helpers, convenor Alison Rasmussen often has more than 90 children attend each week.
“The students give so much positive feedback,” Alison said. “Verbally as well as in the form of cards and letters. They especially say how much they lovelearning about stories from the Bible and how it helps them to make good choices in their lives. They also say how much they enjoy playing games, entering competitions and being with friends!”
Staff have also noticed the positive impact the club has on students. “Many say how excited the kids in their classes get before Treasure Hunters as well as how happy the students are afterwards,” Alison said. “Parents have mentioned how grateful they are for the effort we put in and say how much their kids love it.”
For Jill Clements, driving hundreds of kilometres across WA’s Mid West is just a normal part of her daily routine as a Principal’s Chaplain.
In late 2016, YouthCARE formally launched Principal Chaplaincy, a new initiative to provide confidential pastoral support for principals across the Great Southern and Mid West Regions.
Jill is responsible for the Mid West region, a role she started in early 2017.
As part of the job, Jill contacts each of the principals personally to organise a time should they wish to meet.
“I encourage them to tell me their story, as much of it as they wish, about who they are and how they came to be placed in the position they currently occupy,” she said.
“It’s building relationships for the most part right now, although in several instances, there’s been an immediate need to keep in touch and follow up once a week by phone or in person.”
Coordinating meetings with busy principals across long distances can be tricky. There are 50 schools in the Mid West region, from Exmouth to Cervantes, and from the coast to Perenjori, Morawa, Mount Magnet, Cue and Meekatharra.
“I try to get appointments in several towns which are reasonably close to each other on the same day, to make travel more effective,” Jill said. “But it is not always possible!”
Feedback has been very positive.
“This service is seen to be a ‘safe place’ to speak in confidence about issues of personal concern,” Jill said.
“Principals have valued the opportunity to just speak about themselves, and the chance to unfold some personal matters that have been sitting heavily has been welcomed by a significant number.”
When the Pastoral Critical Incident Response (PCIR) phone rings, it’s never good news.
The dedicated number is manned 24/7 and when it’s called, YouthCARE’s specialist team are mobilised.
The team are trained by renowned clinical psychologist Dr David Cockram, who provided pastoral care in the aftermath of the 2002 Bali bombings and 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in Thailand.
Seventy PCIR chaplains are located across the state with the aim that someone can be on the scene as soon as possible during an emergency. First launched in 2010 as a joint initiative with the WA Department of Education, the service is a national first and has been utilised more than 80 times.
Sadly, there are many reasons why the service is required, such as the death of someone in the school community or traumatic events, like natural disasters. In 2016, the Waroona Bushfires devastated the region and displaced many from the surrounding towns.
Ten PCIR chaplains were mobilised to work alongside government agencies, psychologists and social workers. The chaplains provided pastoral care to hundreds of people at the Australind evacuation centre.
A chaplain was also sent to support the firefighters who had been working night and day. PCIR chaplains refer those affected by trauma to psychological, medical and other professional assistance.
Feedback from school communities has been extremely positive.
“It was truly beneficial to have the chaplains from PCIR at our school following a parent suicide. They brought the love, peace and compassion we all needed to cope with the shock of the parent’s death.” – School Principal
We have had another fabulous year here at YouthCARE and I thank everyone for working so faithfully to make a positive contribution in our school communities.
In this final message for 2017, I wish to reflect on some key points:
We were heartened by State and Federal parliamentarians who continue to express their support and admiration for the work of our chaplains.
It was also wonderful to see the WA Education Minister expressing the government’s support of the chaplaincy program during our Chaplains Conference.
School communities that encounter tough circumstances continue to be supported through Pastoral Critical Incidents Response – PCIR – a joint initiative of the Department of Education and YouthCARE.
The Principal Chaplaincy pilot program continues to be delivered in two regional areas of WA to encourage school principals from a pastoral perspective.
The roll out of CVE’s Treasure Hunters program has gained increasing support from schools and volunteers throughout the year.
Finally, I thank all of our churches, volunteers, supporters and partner organisations for their ongoing commitment to YouthCARE.
May you have a blessed and holy Christmas, filled in the promise of everlasting hope.
AN avocado pick at a Manjimup farm has provided much needed funds for school chaplaincy in the area.
For 11 years, local farmers Tom and Robyn Winfield generously donate a day where volunteers can pick avocados and money that would have been spent on labour, is donated to YouthCARE.
Those who want to help but are unable to pick, provide morning tea. This year, 24 bins worth of avocados were collected which meant more than $4,200 was raised.
About 40 locals turned out on the day including members from the Manjimup Baptist Church and Warren Valley Community Church.
Manjimup Senior High School chaplain Helen Rose said she was thankful for the wonderful community support.
“It is always a great day and a good way to catch up with people while you work,” she said. “To know that so many people believe in chaplaincy and want to support us in such a generous and tangible way, is really encouraging.
“It is always a lovely day out and the work is not hard so everyone can get involved, from the youngest age of two, to the wise and retired.”
Congratulations to chaplains Marty Vause (East Narrogin PS and Narrogin SHS) and Bronwyn Pockran (Yealering PS and Wickepin PS) for receiving awards for their outstanding contribution to their schools.
The awards were presented at the recent Narrogin Schools Network Celebrations at Narrogin SHS.
Bronwyn has been a chaplain at Yealering for two years and started at Wickepin earlier this year. She has worked as an Education Assistant in the area for about 20 years.
“I love being with the kids at school,” she said. “As a student, school wasn’t my favourite place to be, so making it good for them is important to me.
“It is nice to be acknowledged by others and to know that you are respected in what you do.”
Marty has been a chaplain in the area for more than six years. He said the award was a big encouragement.
“I suppose it is like a reflection on what we get up to and who we are supporting in our schools and community,” he said.
“I think the thing I love the most about my school is hanging out with the students either kicking the footy or playing a bit of basketball with them at lunch time.”
“Bron has dedicated herself to the students of Yealering Primary School. She transitions between her role as Chaplain and EA in a professional and mature manner. Bron is a caring staff member and strives to ensure all of our staff are content and happy.”
“Marty is always available to support the school community with personal and professional issues. His high level of professional ethics has earned the trust of everyone. He consistently monitors all those around him and is often the first to support those in need. He runs Breakfast Club for the benefit of the children and has built up a good band of volunteers.”