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Hope A Float fundraiser supports school chaplains

hope a float chaplain
Panel of speakers at the recent Hope A Float event which raised funds to support the work of chaplains in our schools.

Recent fundraiser Hope A Float supported Bundaberg school chaplains who work outside of the staff structure to provide a caring, calming presence for young people.

Also known as ‘chappies', they provide an integral service to schools across the region.

On Melbourne Cup Day, the SU QLD Bundaberg Local Chaplaincy Committee held Hope A Float – a fundraising breakfast at Rowers on the River to support the work of these chaplains.

School Principals, student leaders, business people and local political leaders – including Mayor Jack Dempsey and Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett – joined other supporters of chaplaincy to help fund the vital work of chaplains in schools.

SU QLD has worked alongside school principals and staff to provide a listening ear and a caring presence for children and young people in crisis, and those who just need a friend, for over 20 years.

Now more than ever, the ‘chappies' make themselves available to provide spiritual and emotional support to school communities.

These specially trained, compassionate people help students to find a better way to deal with issues ranging from family breakdown and loneliness, to drug abuse, depression and anxiety.

“Chaplains work alongside teachers, guidance officers, principals and counsellors within schools to provide a friend for our community’s young people” SU QLD Field Development Manager Lisa Hardie said.

“Each chappy brings with them different life experiences, different ways in which they relate to the students. But the thing that makes them all the same is the way they care for students, teachers, parents and entire school communities.”

While the School Chaplaincy Program does receive some funding from both state and federal governments, it’s the local community efforts to “top up” this funding that really enables the program to make the impact it does.

hope a float chaplain
Students from Walkervale State School attended the recent Hope A Float fundraiser.

David Batt recently stepped into the role of Chair of the Local Chaplaincy Committee.

“I’ve always been an advocate for the work of chaplains in schools and I consider it a privilege to help them out in this way” he said.

“I remember when my kids were at East School during the floods. The school went underwater and the school community was hurting.

“But my kids would come home telling me chappy did this today and chappy did that – supporting the community, helping them deal with the sense of loss and coming to terms with what this natural disaster had done to their school community.

“I was amazed and impressed with how one person worked so hard to make sure that every single member of the school community – kids, parents, teachers and staff – were made to feel like someone cared for them as an individual no matter what their circumstances were.”

Hope A Float was a great success with every single one of the 200 seats available sold.

Throughout the two hour breakfast, attendees had the opportunity to hear first-hand from the SU Chaplains about the way they approach their work, some of the tools they use to care for their school communities and also why they do what they do.

All money raised from this event will stay in the Bundaberg Region to support SU chaplains across Bundaberg and the coastal communities of Bargara, Burnett Heads and Elliott Heads.

These funds will assist the work of chaplains to strategically help school communities journey through the ups and downs of life with love, compassion, a listening ear and community links to outside support.

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