YouthCARE has officially found and introduced chaplains for all Collie and Allanson schools for the first time in 18 months.
YouthCARE Area Chaplain Michelle Boylan revealed to the Mail that Fairview Primary School received a chaplain in early March, while Wilson Park Primary School and Allanson Primary School both gained chaplains last week.
Four of the five primary schools have chaplains that attend two days per week, while the chaplains at Amaroo Primary School and Collie Senior High School work on the premises three days per week.
Some of the school chaplains live in Collie, while one commutes from Burekup and another travels from Eaton.
“It means that it is going to be a great help for principals because they have someone pastorally helping to look after their children,” she said.
“Whilst they do it, and do it very well, that their core reason for being in school is curriculum and teaching the kids, but now we’ve got someone that is advocating and looking after the heart for them, so that’s one thing. \
“It’s the most value to the students because they have someone there that they can speak to, get support from, guidance and is an advocate for them.”
Ms Boylan said the chaplains’ help would reach further out into the community as it would provide added support for parents and grandparents looking after children.
“A chaplain increases the community within a school and helps work with the principal to achieve their objectives in the areas of social and emotional learning,” she said.
Ms Boylan said YouthCARE’s chaplains are all practicing Christians, while the recruitment process requires all chaplains to have a certificate IV in community services or youth work.
The recruitment process also sees applicants go through interviews with YouthCARE and the school or schools in need of a chaplain.
Ms Boylan and Amaroo Primary School principal Jason Romeo addressed the Shire of Collie council at the Ordinary Meeting of Council on Tuesday, March 28.
The presentation discussed funding support for chaplains in Collie and the South West along with their work in schools.
She said she and Mr Romeo received positive feedback from the council last month.
Last year, the former Liberal-National Government had announced a funding boost for chaplaincy programs in 501 WA public schools.