HELPING KIDS: Gladstone State High School Chaplain Yvonne Kamholtz with SU Queensland CEO Peter James who is on tour with his “Back Our Chappies” campaign.
HELPING KIDS: Gladstone State High School Chaplain Yvonne Kamholtz with SU Queensland CEO Peter James who is on tour with his “Back Our Chappies” campaign. Nicky Moffat

Tour promoting role of school chaplains arrives in town

A LITTLE yellow bus stopped off in Gladstone on Tuesday morning to put on a breakfast for community leaders and raise awareness about the role of school chaplains.

Part of the Back our Chappies tour of the state organised by the Scripture Union of Queensland, the trip started in Brisbane and will finish on the Gold Coast.

The visitors from SU Queensland were welcomed by Gladstone MP Liz Cunningham, Mayor Gail Sellers, Gladstone-based chaplains and members of the Christian community.

SU Queensland's Peter James quit his job as a highly paid lawyer to become the CEO of the not-for-profit group, which employs school chaplains across the state.

All children need to know someone loves them no matter what, Mr James told the group who gathered at the Grand Hotel for breakfast.

Mr James said chaplains helped bring meaning and purpose into lives that were sometimes too focused on short-term goals.

He said the prevalence of anxiety and depression among youths was a motivating force that helped him forge a path for the future of chaplaincy in Queensland.

"We need to help our children understand perspective," he said.

"We want them to celebrate achievements but also celebrate who they are."

Our kids just want to be loved

YVONNE Kamholtz is one of nine chaplains who service 14 schools in the Gladstone region.

The Gladstone State High School chaplain believes her job is the best in the world.

"Kids have always been a passion," the former teacher said.

"Chaplaincy has allowed me to really focus on the person rather than the data side, and I just think that's so essential in today's world."

So if you can get a little bit of internal peace happening, it makes each day a lot easier.

The number one problem for young people who visit Ms Kamholtz is relationships.

"It's not just peer relationships, it's family relationships," she said.

"As much as teenagers might indicate (through) behaviour that family's a burden, it's the exact opposite.

"They really want to be loved and approved (of).

"They want to know their mums and dads really value them."

She said being a chaplain allowed her to help in that field.

"Some of the kids are dealing with really difficult issues at home," she said.

"As a chaplain I'm able to help direct them to more professional services, or I'm able to just walk along beside them and help give them tools and strategies to help them feel a stronger person within the areas they have control.

"That brings them a peace that they otherwise don't have. They live in torment, some of these kids.

"So if you can get a little bit of internal peace happening, it makes each day a lot easier."

Fast facts

Schools Gladstone chaplains are based at:

  • Ambrose State School
  • Benaraby State School
  • Bororen State School
  • Boyne Island State School
  • Calliope State School
  • Clinton State School
  • Gladstone Central State School
  • Gladstone State High School
  • Gladstone South State School
  • Miriam Vale State School
  • Mount Larcom State School
  • Tannum Sands State High School
  • Tannum Sands State School
  • Toolooa State High School


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