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'Mail' Newspaper Articles

Focal Point (for publishing-07/11/06)

Schools Welcome Chaplaincy Support

After a number of years of successful Chaplaincy at the Upper Yarra Secondary College, it became apparent that the Primary Schools in our Valley needed a hand. Principals were stretched for time in dealing with a new wave of children coming to school in a state that rendered then unable to be taught well. Parents were stretched with split family problems and some were simply not able to cope with their children's needs. Some children were missing breakfast, some had not had a good night's sleep and some were simply traumatized by the family splits and the arrangements that went with them. After some discussions between Principals and Church leaders, arrangements were made for some support to be forthcoming. In 1999 the first Primary School Chaplain was appointed, more followed and our Valley became the forerunner for primary School Chaplaincy in Victoria. Today we have thirteen Schools covered with a Chaplain at least one day per week. There are many variations for the chaplaincy support structure in schools. Some where the school underwrites the total cost, some a Church, or a group of churches, and some a mixture of both. Some schools have support committees and some don't. The Council for Christian Education in Schools (CCES), the body charged with the responsibility to train and monitor the chaplains also underwrites chaplaincy support when funds get low. An example of committee work was the recent Chaplaincy Awareness Breakfast that the Wandin Yallock and Seville Schools ran. Forty attended and heard the Principals of both schools tell how vital the role of the Chaplain was for the children, parents and staff. A quote from each Principal was, "She is the glue that holds the school together", and, "I don't know how the school would function without the Chaplain". Along with the latest announcement made by the Federal Government has come much misinformation and hysteria. The $90,000,000-00, when divided up around the country will only give minimal relief compared with the current annual budgets. However, it is welcome and will allow the fundraisers to ease off for a while. It is also important to say that in answer to those who fear a Christian domination or proselytizing, that the Chaplain, Christian or not has a strict charter in terms of the role. The Chaplain is primarily in the school to provide general emotional, psychological and welfare support and promote wellbeing for children. Some individual charters include the wellbeing of parents and staff as well. Depending on the individual school charter set by the school council, they can also have an educative role in the areas of beliefs, values, morals, ethics and religion. One Principal was heard to say, "I don't care where they come from, as long as I get help". Maybe, as an individual or a business you can help in fundraising and support, or you would like more information, contact me on 0409 517273

Graeme Dawson 
Co-ordinator Focal Point & Valley Care Counsellor & Manager
Inter-Church Action 





 

Focal Point Yarra Valley 2009