In August 2002, I reported that we had been able to place chaplains in five primary schools, as well as the long-established chaplaincy at the Upper Yarra Secondary College. Speaking of Upper Yarra, Elissa White has resigned to start a family and has now given birth to a lovely boy. Elissa will recommence chaplaincy at Yarra Junction Primary in third term. Jan Adams is now at Upper Yarra and has been accepted readily by all. She comes with a long and solid history as Chaplain at 'Gilmore Girls', in the West of Melbourne. The explosion, however, has been in the Primary Schools. As Principals and parents have seen the model work, the word has spread. We now have Chaplains in Wandin Yallock, Seville, Coldstream, Woori Yallock, Launching Place,Yarra Junction (third term), Millgrove, Warburton, Warburton East, Badger Creek, Healesville, Mooroolbark East and Birmingham-Mt Evelyn. The reason for the need to have chaplaincy support has grown out of an increased workload thrust upon Principals and teaching staff. There is an ever increasing demand on schools these days to provide a higher level of care and responsibility for the student's welfare, that was once carried by parents and the extended family. As more families experience difficulties in our community, it seems to follow that an extra level of care can be helpful. Often it is as simple as having someone at the school with whom parents can talk, and for the children, someone who does not have a disciplinary role available for a chat. Of course at the emergency end of the range help may be brought to families who have suffered significant losses like relationship breakdown, family bereavements and behavioral problems that require special attention. Quite often the Chaplain is a referral and resource person for staff, parents and children to access help in many areas. I suggest that if you have children in a school in our valley, make an appointment to meet the Chaplain, get to know him or her and find out what help is available. All our Chaplains are registered with the Council for Christian Education in Schools, have individual contracts drawn up by each School Council, have been Police checked and have had to undergo training required by the CCES and the schools. A good number of our Chaplains have been in the teaching profession so they know their way around.
On behalf of the following participants:
Benwerren Respite Care
Christian & Missionary Alliance
Churches of Christ
River Valley Church
Valley Christian Fellowship