Article written by 96five Intern – Amber Mostert
May 14 – 21 is Chappy week – celebrating and generating awareness of SU QLD Chaplains in schools! Last week the 96five team visited Robyn Weare at Upper Mount Gravatt State School for a 96five School Excursion and were able to catch up for a chat about what it is like to be a Chaplain.
Robyn has been a chaplain at Upper Mount Gravatt State School for the past four years and loves helping the kids grow and develop into confident people. Being a Chaplin wasn’t something Robyn thought she would be doing. It wasn’t until she had her own son and saw a need in the other children, that she realised she had something to offer.
Robyn chatted with 96five about a typical day as a chappy and the challenges she faces.
A Typical Day in the Life of a School Chaplin
Robyn’s days are so diverse. She explained to us that, “It’s anything from Barbie dolls, to children that just need an extra bit of support, to being with parents and grandparents. I think that’s what I love the most about chaplaincy, you’re there for everybody. Plus everyone is there for you too and that’s what makes a big difference. You couldn’t do this work without that support.”
Robyn has found how important it is to have a strong network of support in your life. As a Chaplin she has shared life’s ups and downs with a range of students, staff and parents. She says, “It’s really important that no matter who you are or what job you do that you stay grounded and you know what’s important in your life.”
The Challenges Faced as a Chappy
Robyn faces a number of challenges daily as the School Chaplin particularly because the school has such a diverse range of people and things can happen. However, Robyn says her biggest challenge is there isn’t enough of her to go around. “I would like to be able to clone myself! The more you work for people, the more you want to be there for them. Sometimes there is never enough time in the day.”
While it can be quiet stressful at times for Robyn, she revealed to 96five some of the strategies she implements to remain calm and ensures she gets support for her needs. “I just try to priorities what the needs are, I talk really well with our deputy and our principle here and our student support services. You realise your never alone, you call on your team and that’s what really helps.”
Tree of Hope
A program Robyn has implemented is the Tree of Hope at the school. A couple of years ago a wattle tree was planted at the front of the state school and it holds the hopes and dreams of all the kids.
“We planted this tree about three years ago, it’s actually about twice my height by now, which is amazing and each child gets to write on a leaf there hope of dream for the year. We then collect them and place them with the tree.”
Hear the full interview with Robyn here.