In our rapidly changing, technology-driven society, families often face challenges. It is common for people to experience feelings of loneliness, isolation, and even discrimination due to bullying and harassment. And no one bears this burden more today than young people.
Initiatives like school chaplaincy play a crucial role in addressing these concerns by offering counselling and support to benefit students’ social, emotional, and spiritual well-being. That is why Redland City Mayor Karen Williams is hosting the twenty-first annual prayer breakfast to raise funds for the program.
Pastoral Care For Students
The breakfast brings people together to raise vital funds for chaplaincy programs that benefit close to 15,000 local students each year. Karen recently joined us on 20Twenty to share her thoughts on how pastoral care for students can enhance both their well-being and their educational outcomes.
‘Every year society has changed,’ says Karen. ‘Back in 2003 when we started, we didn’t have social media. We didn’t even have smartphones. The world is connected twenty-four-seven now, which can be a good thing. But for young people, it means that they never have time to reflect and take a break.’
That’s why face-to-face support with school chaplains is so important for children. ‘It’s a person you can look in the eye and who is just there to listen. We live in a very fractured society now, and young people need mentors. They need role models to aspire to.’
Karen believes that children are seeking encouragement from real people who can give some positive reinforcement, especially those who aren’t blessed to come from a loving family. ‘It is very complex and complicated for young people. We definitely need to pray that they find their way.’
All the money raised at the prayer breakfast goes directly to supporting chaplains. ‘Just to put it in context,’ says Karen, ‘it might mean that children have a lunch or a breakfast that they wouldn’t normally get at home. It helps them to learn, but also to feel like they’re worthy and they’re appreciated.’
The purpose of this year’s breakfast on September 8 is to honour chaplains while sustaining their fundraising efforts, enabling them to support an increasing number of students each year. Karen says that while it’s great to also have some government support, it’s really up to the community.
Supporting Young People
‘The community needs to own the future of our young people,’ she says, ‘and they do that by attending the prayer breakfast and giving some small level of support to our chaplains who give a huge level of support to our young people.’
Listen to Karen’s full interview on 20Twenty below: