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Edwardstown, SA, 5039

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Media Releases


MEDIA RELEASE - February 9, 2017

‘When Disaster Strikes’

New program launched to support families and communities after a disaster or crisis.

When Disaster Strikes launch at Beyond Bank. Left to Right: Kevin Bew, Paradise Motors Mazda New Car Sales Manager; Brenton Ragless, SMG Ambassador; Angela Jolly, SMG Executive Director; Rev Dr Lynn Arnold AO, SMG Chairperson; Jessica Jenke, Tarlee Primary School Parent; Tracey Butter, Tarlee Primary School Chaplain; Hon. Tony Piccolo MP; Robert Keogh, CEO Beyond Bank and Hon. Peter Malinauskas MP

When Disaster Strikes launch at Beyond Bank. Left to Right: Kevin Bew, Paradise Motors Mazda New Car Sales Manager; Brenton Ragless, SMG Ambassador; Angela Jolly, SMG Executive Director; Rev Dr Lynn Arnold AO, SMG Chairperson; Jessica Jenke, Tarlee Primary School Parent; Tracey Butter, Tarlee Primary School Chaplain; Hon. Tony Piccolo MP; Robert Keogh, CEO Beyond Bank and Hon. Peter Malinauskas MP

Rev. Dr. Lynn Arnold AO, SMG Chairperson, Mr Brenton Ragless, SMG Ambassador, along with ‘When Disaster Strikes’ Program Partners Beyond Bank Australia and Paradise Motors Mazda today launched a new program supporting children, families and communities with emergency Chaplaincy support during disasters and times of crisis.

“Our state has suffered recently with floods, storms and bushfires where lives were lost, homes destroyed, families overwhelmed and communities reeling in the aftermath of those devastating events. ‘When Disaster Strikes’ is a program that aims to be proactive in its support of children, families and communities with a Chaplaincy Service - when it is needed most. The Program has developed out of learnings from the Sampson Flat and most recently the Pinery bushfires. SMG had nine School Chaplains in the affected bushfire zone, and one year on those Chaplains continue to provide pastoral and practical support to children and families in their local communities” said Rev. Dr. Lynn Arnold.

Tracey Butter, SMG School Chaplain at Tarlee and Hamley Bridge Primary Schools shared what it was like for children and parents during the Pinery Fires.  “I organised a coffee morning at Tarlee Primary so that I could comfort shocked parents who had arrived with their children, and then I went into class to listen to children speak about their experiences and provide support. Hamley Bridge Primary was closed until Monday. That morning there was severe dust storms, poor visibility, and the ash and soot in the air was very strong. Parents and children were crying and distressed as they arrived. I remember the CFS siren kept going off because burnt trees kept reigniting, fire trucks were kept on the move. I provided comfort and support to children and parents, and reassurance that there was not another fire.” 

Jessica Jenke’s children attend Tarlee Primary “The Pinery Fires have affected my three children emotionally. One has nightmares and is often screaming through the night. My two younger children were often drawing our house on fire, and using their toys to re-enact us evacuating our home.  I think the constant smell of smoke in the weeks afterwards made them on edge and frightened there would be another fire.  Tracey was often at school in the mornings ready to talk to any kids who were upset or anxious - which was a massive help to my children as they dealt with their emotions and feelings and also feeling safe. The Stormbird sessions Tracey ran at the school enabled my children to talk about the feelings they had during and after the fires.   Tracey has been a huge support to my family in helping us all cope with what happened.”

The Pinery fire was extinguished more than a year ago, however children, families and communities are still recovering from this traumatic and devastating event. Rev. Dr Lynn Arnold affirmed that “The support Jessica has received through SMG’s Chaplaincy Service has been an integral part of her family’s recovery process, and will continue until it is no longer needed.”

Hon. Peter Malinauskas, Emergency Services Minister spoke at the launch about the importance of response as well as recovery when there is a disaster. “In much the same way as our CFS and SES volunteers demonstrate the strong commitment to their local communities, I commend the Schools Ministry Group for their vital contribution and the role of their noble cause. It is so important that when we have programs such as When Disaster Strikes in place that our children and their families can be assured that in the days, months and also years ahead they will not be alone – and that speaks to everything that this group is about.”

SMG have been serving and supporting communities in South Australia for over 25 years. SMG is well placed with Chaplains in over 340 schools in metropolitan, regional and remote areas. The ’When Disaster Strikes’ Program aims to provide support across the state during disasters and times of crisis so children and families like Jessica’s can recover well – and return to a greater level of functioning and resilience with support from their local Chaplain.

Rev. Dr. Lynn Arnold invites all South Australians to “Stand with me and support the ‘When Disaster Strikes’ Program with a tax deductible donation.  Donations can be made by contacting the SMG office 8378 6800, or online via the give now website.

For further information, additional photos or media comment please contact:

Cathy Moore

Schools Ministry Group

Ph: 8378 6834 Email: cathym@smg.asn.au

 

MEDIA RELEASE - JULY 26, 2016

INAUGURAL SMG AMBASSADOR

Ambassador Launch at SMG 25 Year Reunion Monday July 25 2016

Ambassador Launch at SMG 25 Year Reunion Monday July 25 2016

Brenton Ragless – New Schools Ministry Group Ambassador


Brenton Ragless, Channel 9 Presenter, was announced as the new SMG Ambassador last night in front of 500 guests at a special SMG 25 Year Reunion event held at Unley High School.


Brenton shared that he had been positively impacted by chaplaincy while growing up. “I was clueless in school – no clear path in mind – and here I am 22 years later, still no idea on what I’ll be doing next! But I credit my School Chaplain when I was attending Blackwood High School for instilling in me the confidence to embrace life and all its challenges. The Chaplain was - and still is - a pillar for me: a listening ear, a wise voice and a life teacher, leading me through those fundamental teenage years of personal faith and career development. I am who I am today thanks to that Chaplain’s influence on my life, which is why I am an Ambassador for SMG.”


SMG is South Australia’s leading school chaplaincy service provider, and offers ongoing pastoral and practical support through chaplaincy services to help young people and school communities discover purpose, value and hope.


Angela Jolly, Executive Director of Schools Ministry Group said “Today SMG provides over 330 schools across South Australia with a Chaplaincy Service, it continues to offer seminars and interactive workshops for primary and high school students, and contributes to the positive wellbeing of children with its Community Services. In addition over 1000 volunteers support the Chaplaincy Service by helping in their local schools with breakfast clubs, lunchtime activities, mentoring and many other programs.

For further information or media comment please contact:

Cathy Moore

Schools Ministry Group

Ph: 8378 6834 Email: cathym@smg.asn.au


MEDIA RELEASE - FEBRUARY 11, 2016

25 Years Serving SA School Communities

25 Year Cathedral.jpg

A Service of celebration and thanksgiving was held on Monday evening 8th February at St Peter’s Cathedral North Adelaide to celebrate 25 years of Schools Ministry Group serving South Australian school communities.

Rev Dr Lynn Arnold AO, Chairperson of Schools Ministry Group, led the service which was attended by more than 400 people including local, state and federal MPs, the Leaders of Christian Churches in South Australia, Chaplains, Volunteers, and members of the public from both metropolitan and regional areas.

Pastor Bill Vasilakis, representing the Leaders of Christian Churches, prayed for and commissioned the Chaplains, Volunteers and Schools Ministry Group staff.

The history of Schools Ministry Group was recounted and many stories of the impact of this vital work shared. The audience was captivated by Willunga Primary School Principal Mick Underwood as he shared about the increasing number of students coming to school with a range of social and emotional issues.

“As a school Principal I often had to manage these issues – in fact it took up most of my time”. Mr Underwood conducted some research to find out how he could further help the students in his care and found Professor Martin Seligman’s Positive Psychology PERMA framework, which he quickly adopted for his school.

“In 2007 when funding for a school Chaplain became available I jumped at the opportunity as I saw the role fitting perfectly within the PERMA framework. Our Chaplain Sue is a wonderful support for those children who find life a struggle. She organised a ‘Master Chef’ activity giving students an opportunity to shine Over the last 8 years we have experienced the unexpected death of 7 parents. Sue’s role was and is vital in supporting those families during the most difficult of times.” Mr Underwood concluded saying “every school needs a Chaplain!”

 

left to right: Phil Hoffman, Angela Jolly, Bill Vasilakis, Mick Underwood and Rev Dr Lynn Arnold AO

left to right: Phil Hoffman, Angela Jolly, Bill Vasilakis, Mick Underwood and Rev Dr Lynn Arnold AO

In 1991 Schools Ministry Group was formed out of the combined Christian Churches to offer seminars and Chaplaincy Services to schools.  Angela Jolly, Executive Director of Schools Ministry Group said “Today SMG provides over 330 schools across South Australia with a Chaplaincy Service, it continues to offer seminars and interactive workshops for primary and high school students, and contributes to the positive wellbeing of children with its Community Services. In addition over 1000 volunteers support the Chaplaincy Service by helping in their local schools with breakfast clubs, lunchtime activities and mentoring.” 

 

For further information or media comment please contact:

Cathy Moore

Schools Ministry Group

Ph: 8378 6834 Email: cathym@smg.asn.au


Media Release - February 4, 2015

 School Chaplaincy Demand Increases

 

An increased number of schools have applied for pastoral care workers across South Australia following the new round of funding for the National School Chaplaincy Program.

Highlighting the program’s popularity and effectiveness, 338 government schools have applied, an increase of 26 over the previous year.

Schools Ministry Group (SMG) executive director Angela Jolly, says pastoral care workers are an important part of the overall student wellbeing team within schools.

“It is clear that those who are directly connected to chaplaincy - like parents, principals and teaching staff - acknowledge and understand the benefits it brings to students and school communities.”

She said the program’s success brought its own challenges, with the SA Government funding all schools that applied, resulting in the majority of schools receiving less funding than before.

However SMG’s “Fund the Gap” campaign has seen local communities rally and donate more than one million dollars, enabling 272 pastoral care workers to commence working an average of five to ten hours per week from the first week of term even though federal funds are yet to be released to the state.

“The fundraising will also result in pastoral care workers being able to provide extra hours that federal funds won’t cover, which will be significant in the service that can be delivered in schools across the state,” Ms Jolly explained.

Chaplaincy is a highly positive model that has proven to make a difference. It is widely considered the best model of holistic care and welfare, as it provides emotional, social and spiritual support. Independent studies have shown this improves student wellbeing and educational outcomes.

It is generally accepted that spirituality is an important part of wellbeing, and chaplains are not only well placed to offer this, but work collaboratively with other support services to serve their wider school communities.

 

Media Contacts: Lyall Mercer – 0413 749 830 // Bryan Mulligan – 0435 320 026


MEDIA RELEASE - SEPTEMBER 11, 2014

CHAPLAINS APPEAL TO SA EDUCATION MINISTER TO CONTINUE VITAL CHAPLAINCY PROGRAMS

 

State education minister Jennifer Rankine doesn’t understand the role pastoral support workers play in South Australian schools, according to the National School Chaplaincy Association, a network of providers that includes SA based Schools Ministry Group (SMG).

National spokesperson Peter James said Ms Rankine is on record saying she supports “school choice” yet “she refuses to respect or support the choice of more than 300 South Australian schools that have voluntarily opted for a chaplain”.

“No school is forced to have a chaplain. It is the choice of each school,” Mr James explained.

“However those schools that do choose this way understand the social, emotional and spiritual support that chaplains provide.

“In fact independent studies have shown that chaplaincy directly contributes to students’ well-being.

“There is compelling evidence of the value of school chaplaincy. South Australia’s own Learning and Wellbeing framework for schools recognises the importance of social, emotional and spiritual support in achieving student wellbeing and educational outcomes.”

He said those opposed to chaplaincy are not basing their opposition on the facts but on ideology and misinformation.

“Chaplains are qualified, don’t discriminate and operate in the best interests of all students irrespective of their beliefs or backgrounds.”

SMG executive director Angela Jolly said many student support programs will be lost across South Australian schools if the Government does not accept the federal funding this week.

“I’d like the minister to realise that she is putting at risk valuable and sometimes even life-saving programs that support thousands of students, families and staff every year.

“Programs like breakfast clubs, homework clubs, life skills, grief support, self-esteem projects, healthy eating groups, young carers groups and other support groups will be lost to school communities if chaplaincy is not continued.”

Mr James has urged minister Rankine to “do what she has said and support choice – the choice of schools, parents and students across South Australia who value and want a chaplain.”

“I ask her to accept the federal funding immediately.”

 

Media Contacts: Lyall Mercer – 0413 749 830 // Barbara Gorogh – 0435 909 608