YouthCARE Chaplaincy spreads its wings across remote communities
There’s nothing like spending time with people face-to-face and having real conversations about their situations, opportunities and challenges. To say that Paul White and Paul Marais go the extra mile to make that happen across Western Australia’s northwest, would be an enormous understatement.
Spanning enormous distances, the two Paul’s regularly visit schools connected to the Kimberley School of the Air, in Derby. School community destinations that benefit from chaplaincy support include One Arm Point, Koorabye, Looma, Yakanarra, Djugerari, Wananami, Ngalapita, Bayulu and Muludja. These schools have been visited weekly throughout the term.
Regularly taking to the skies to reach communities hundreds of kilometres apart is possible thanks to the ongoing support of Kingdom Aviation and the Department of Education.
Airtime, gifts and great relationships – it’s all in a day’s work.
To get an idea of “a day in the life”, here’s what Paul White had to say about his recent experiences:
I recently completed my first cattle station and indigenous community run for 2022. It’s always a real pleasure meeting up with families and children on the stations and communities. My wife Laurel makes little gift packages for the children including practical items such as seeds for gardens, games and toys, plus a bag of fresh fruit that is always well received. Once I’m picked up from the airstrip I normally join in with the kids, tutors or parents for the day, helping out where I can, encouraging them and trying to build good long-term relationships.
We cover many kilometres to carry out this pastoral support. It takes 2 hours of flying to get to Kandiwell Community, located near Mitchell Falls, then Sandfire Roadhouse is another 2hr flight from Derby. Drysdale River Station is also just under 2 hours of flying and it takes two and half hours to get to Ellenbrae Station. Then after spending the day with the various families, I’m back in the plane, flying back to Derby. Most days I prep the plane early and take off at first light, normally home by 3 or 4 in the afternoon, most days turn into a 10-to-12-hour day.
Here at YouthCARE, we are grateful for the positive impacts all our people have on the well-being of school communities throughout WA and we appreciate the time, effort and in this case, air travel it takes to demonstrate our values of respect, compassion and service – statewide.
Keep an eye out for more updates from around the state.