Why Chaplaincy?

Caring for students and their communities

Why Chaplaincy?

ACCESS ministries have been providing Chaplaincy services to schools since 1955 and are the largest employer of Chaplains in Victoria. Our endorsed Chaplains have the highest standard of professional qualifications. Currently ACCESS ministries operates over 280 Chaplaincy and Wellbeing programs in schools across Victoria and New South Wales, offering pastoral care to over 160,000 young people, school staff and their communities.

ACCESS ministries Chaplains pastorally care for the members of school and wider communities. They respond to issues and critical incidents as they arise, as well as facilitating proactive relationship building, small group delivery and programs to ensure improved wellbeing outcomes for young people and their communities.

ACCESS ministries Chaplains represent local Christian churches and the school in the school and wider community. Chaplains help schools to build connections and relationships within a range of government and community organisations.

The Need for Chaplaincy and Wellbeing in Schools

According to Mission Australia’s 2012 Youth Survey, the top 3 issues of personal concern identified by young people are coping with stress, school and study problems and body image. As well as these, more than 1 in 5 young people indicated that family relationships are of concern, with “a number of young people [indicating] that they were struggling to cope with family conflict... As one respondent said, ‘I just need a bit of help or someone I can turn to when I get really overwhelmed with family issues.’ ” (Mission Australia Youth Survey 2012, page 6)[1]

Meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of students is important as schools aim to develop the whole person and produce resilient, competent and successful individuals. While a variety of support services are required to meet the diverse range of needs within a school community, Chaplains plays a distinct role in providing ongoing pastoral care.

Chaplaincy and Wellbeing Work in Schools

According to the Federal Government’s ‘National Safe School’s Framework’, “When a school works to facilitate positive school-based relationships, bullying is less likely to thrive, student wellbeing is enhanced and there is a greater likelihood of higher student engagement with school.”[2] Being present within a school community and building key relationships is core to School Chaplaincy and Wellbeing work.

For school communities, ACCESS ministries Chaplains offer:

Pastoral care support to the whole school community – including students, families and staff
Educational and small group programs to address specific needs
The building of connections with the wider community
Intervention and trauma support in crises and emergencies

ACCESS ministries Chaplains take part in ongoing training and structured accountability to keep young people safe.

Chaplains deal with a wide range of issues, including:

behaviour management;
social relationship issues such as anger, peer relationships, loneliness and bullying;
family relationship issues;
the development of the self - sense of purpose, self-esteem, and mental health;
the involvement of students in the community;
addressing issues of social inclusion and racism;
In many places, Chaplains work to engage Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse students and their families into the school and wider community.
Many Chaplains are involved in the support of students ‘at risk’.

See below for a chart outlining the major issues that ACCESS ministries Chaplains helped young people to navigate throughout 2013.

Your school community can also have the assistance of a Chaplain on staff. Call ACCESS ministries on 1800 063 341 or email us today for more information.

[1] Mission Australia (2012) – Mission Australia Youth Survey 2012 - http://www.missionaustralia.com.au/research-social-policy/115-research/research-social-policy/658-youth-survey

[2] Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (March 2011) – National Safe Schools Framework Resource Manual – www.safeschools.deewr.gov.au

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