'I'm making a difference': How to support school chaplaincy
KINGAROY school chaplain Jordan Bennett has been offering his pastoral care services in the South Burnett for more than five years and relies on community donations to keep the program running.
To help boost the chaplaincy bank balance, Mr Bennett has organised a fundraising night.
"It will be a pizza dinner with a dessert bar at the Whipbird Cafe," he said.
"Tickets are $40 per person and there will also be a silent auction.
"Without fundraisers like this and the community's support we wouldn't be able to keep the program running."
Mr Bennett said the school chaplaincy program provided students and staff with emotional, social, and spiritual support.
"We run a lot of programs as well as putting on breakfasts," he said.
"Then of course I see a lot of students one on one.
"My room is a safe place where they can come to talk to me about whatever is on their mind."
Mr Bennett said government funding for the program was significantly reduced in 2007.
"There really isn't much funding left for us any more," he said.
"We're lucky to get enough funding for one-and-a-half days of work for one school chaplain from them.
"I think what I'm doing is making a difference in these kids' lives. I can't see myself stopping any time soon."
When the Unbreakable Farmer visited Taabinga State School and Wondai State School, where Mr Bennett works, the students confirmed their trust in his chaplaincy services.
"It was a really big indicator for me that I was doing something that's worthwhile and making a real difference," Mr Bennett said.
"One of the activities for the kids was to trace around your hand on some paper and then on each of the fingers to write the name of someone you trust and could talk to in an emergency or if things weren't OK.
"I had over a hundred kids put me down and that really felt great.
"It was like validation that I was doing my job and really making a difference in these kids' lives."
If you're interested in supporting the chaplaincy program, you can purchase a ticket for the dinner from the Salvation Army Family Store or Kingaroy State High School. Tickets cost $40 and sales will be taken in cash only.
RSVP by October 16 for the dinner on Thursday, October 24. It will start at 6pm and include food, a silent auction, and live music.