Fundraiser celebrates 25 years

More than 150 people packed out St David’s Anglican Church hall for the 25th annual Ecumenical Dinner fundraiser. 


Members from seven local churches worked together to help organise and run the dinner, which raises money for YouthCARE’s chaplain at Applecross Senior High School. 


This year’s event raised $6,000, putting the total amount raised over the 25 years to more than $92,000. 


Coordinator Gwen Stagg was honoured alongside fellow volunteers Thera and Keith Alexander for their 25 years of service. 


Gwen said she was proud to be part of such a wonderful event that unified the local churches. 


“Chaplaincy helps the children,” she said. “Anything that helps the children is a worthwhile cause. 


“All the churches contribute and everything is donated because we need the money to go towards chaplaincy. We do the same thing each year because the people love it. 


“Even though people are from different denominations, we all know each other. We are all part of the same community. The unity is doing something good for a common cause for our schools.” 


Guests of honour included City of Melville mayor Russell Aubrey and his wife Glenys; Area Chaplain Andrew Hadfield and Applecross SHS chaplain Andrew Saxton and his family. 


Will, Ollie and Charlotte Saxton were all busy helping in the kitchen alongside five volunteers from Applecross SHS. 


“This was my third year that my wife and I have attended the Ecumenical Dinner and once again we really enjoyed the evening,” Andrew said. 


“The volunteers do such a great job in organising the event and ensuring that it runs smoothly. For the last two years we have had student volunteers from Applecross SHS helping out at the event which has strengthened the connection with the school. I have also been lucky enough to have my own children come along to help serve for the last couple of years - very little encouragement needed! 


“As a chaplain, it is very humbling to know local churches of all dominations are fully supportive of the work being done by YouthCARE and in addition to prayer, they continue to support us through events such as the Ecumenical Dinner.”

Students bounce back in new program

Floreat Park Primary School recently launched its Bounce Back program by having a school fun day. 

The curriculum teaches students resilience by learning to ‘bounce back’ when things don’t go their way.

Chaplain Sue Robinson and teacher Emily Eldridge organised the event – which is part of the school’s focus on social and emotional development.

Activities included a bouncy castle, sumo suit wrestling, obstacle course, gratitude chain, emoji hand painting, games challenge table and bounce back people table. 

“The day was about helping parents, teachers and students explore together what they could expect in the coming years as the Bounce Back Program is implemented and taught,” Sue said.

“This program is part of the Health Curriculum which sees the school maximizing strong support in the social and emotional development of our young charges.”

Students Samuel and Isla said they really enjoyed the day. “I’ve learnt not to let people push you down, but if they do, how to bounce back up,” Samuel said.

“I like the programs [chaplain Sue] organises,” Isla added. “I know that it’s ok to tell other people how you’re feeling.”

There was a great community feel to the day with the Town of Cambridge providing funds for the sausage sizzle lunch, with 600 sausages cooked and served by the local Rotary Club.

Local church All Saints Uniting Church prepared the morning tea while volunteers from the Victory Life International Training College helped run some of the activities.

“Sue and Emily have been working on this for about six weeks and they’ve done a brilliant job,” principal Jane Rowlands said.

“Sue’s contribution to the school has been fabulous and having a program like this has been a really good way to lead into her work and tie things together.

“A lot of the skills in the Bounce Back program are things that she works with children anyway – resilience, courage, relationships and working through difficult times.

“A day like this gives her access to all the kids. They all know who she is and they all know where she can be found.

“The program teaches the kids that sometimes you do go through hard times and that’s ok. A lot of children don’t have that emotional literacy.

“Many grow up thinking they need to be like someone else. Each child is unique and we teach them that being themselves is ok.

“We equip them with the skills to get up and keep going – push through those times, how to deal with negative feelings and how to express them.”

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