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Community supports school chaplains at breakfast

Mayoral Chaplaincy Breakfast school chaplains at breakfast
Local school chaplains with Mayoral Chaplaincy Breakfast guest speaker, Dan Smith.

Over 400 people attended the Mayoral Chaplaincy Breakfast this morning promoting the important role school chaplains play in providing safe and positive influences for students, parents and teachers.

Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey said the breakfast was a valuable event which highlighted the essential role chaplains played at local schools.

“School chaplains play such an integral role in nurturing a safe and inclusive environment in our schools,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“Whether it be through coordinating breakfast clubs or providing mentoring, social and emotional support, the roles our valuable chaplains play in our local schools are multifaceted.

“On behalf of the Bundaberg Region I want to say thank you to all our school chaplains.”

This year’s event, held at the Multiplex, looked to add to the fundraising efforts of the previous nine years which had raised $178,000 for Scripture Union Queensland.

These funds support the 26 chaplains who work across 46 school in the Bundaberg Region.

school chaplains at breakfast
Scripture Union Queensland Field Development Manager for Bundaberg Lisa Hardie and Australian Olympic Swimmer Dan Smith at the Mayoral Chaplaincy Breakfast.

Scripture Union Queensland Field Development Manager for Bundaberg Lisa Hardie said Government funding was a fantastic asset to the school chaplaincy program.

“In reality our schools are craving more support, so local fundraising events are so important,” Ms Hardie said.

“Raising those extra financial dollars help to increase the chappies’ hours needed to assist families and kids in schools.”

Guest speaker Olympian swimmer Dan Smith

Lisa said a highlight of the morning was guest speaker, Australian Olympic Swimmer Dan Smith sharing his personal story.

Dan spoke to the audience about his battles with drugs and alcohol that came from the pressures of high-performance sport.

Hitting rock bottom, Dan redefined his thinking and character to make his comeback.

“For me there is now an opportunity to give back and help people avoid the very painful journey I’ve had,” Dan said.

“I didn’t have the experience of a chaplain helping me when I was young.

“I now understand the importance of chaplains supporting kids navigate life.”

Dan said he also hoped people listening this morning would question whether they’re doing enough.

“It's very easy to get caught up in life and forget what really matters,” he said.

“What does matter is our community, families and kids.”

The 2023 Mayoral School Chaplaincy Support Breakfast was a joint initiative of Bundaberg Regional Council and Scripture Union Queensland.