Chaplain helps students break cycle of disadvantage
Mark Macrae says God has taken him on a “roundabout way” to working with young people.
The former fruit farmer has volunteered at a drug and alcohol recovery centre, was involved in prison ministry, worked in residential care and taught agriculture.
He is now chaplain at Carinity Education Glendyne, an independent school in Hervey Bay which provides education, vocational training and life skills for teenagers having difficulty succeeding in mainstream schools.
“Staff refer students to me who need a bit of extra support. A lot of that need comes about from the majority of students having had learning difficulties, disengaged from school, or come from challenging backgrounds,” Mark says.
“I catch up with students who need support and do home visits to support families.
“I’m in a very privileged position because when I ask a student to have a chat, they can be free to talk to me about anything in confidence.
“Working in an environment like this we rejoice in the little wins and the little improvements that we see students making.
“We see that turn into something substantial in the end when our students are able to break the cycle of disadvantage from which they originate.”
Mark’s chaplaincy work extends to assisting Carinity Education Glendyne staff to maintain their mental health, particularly with the extra demands of teaching and supporting students during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Staff can experience high stress levels at times, so for those who aren’t doing so well I am a listening ear for them,” he says.
Mark says supporting young people to live happier and more fulfilling lives has been part of a “long journey” planned for him by God.
“I have a strong confidence that I am doing what God wants me to do, and he’s opened doors to enable me to do that,” Mark says.
More than ever, some of our community’s most vulnerable – students requiring special assistance, people in hospitals and prisons, aged people in residential care and people living at home with care assistance – need generous ongoing support.
Please support Carinity by partnering with us on our mission – making a real difference to people in need – by donating to the Carinity Chaplains Appeal.