Chaplain serves for 22 years
Matt Brady outlines role helping Burnside students
FOR children going through a tough time, having an adult to rely on and open up to can make a world of difference.
That’s where Matt Brady comes in.
Mr Brady has been the chaplain at Burnside State High School for the past 22 years, making him not only one of the longest serving staff members but also the longest serving chaplain in the state.
While school chaplains are known for the role of providing spiritual and emotional guidance, Mr Brady goes above and beyond to connect with students and help them engage.
“I run groups for young people and a trek program which is largely adventure based learning,” he said.
“I have become a bushwalking and climbing guide to facilitate the program, and we do things like rock climbing, abseiling, a three day trek, and look at issues in a fun and engaging way.
“That probably takes up about 50% of my time, and then 40% would be talking one on one with students and then a bit attending school events and things like that.
“Chaplaincy relies on community funding a lot ... we get some from the government but it is quite limited ... that’s always a challenge.”
Prior to undertaking the role of chaplain, Mr Brady was working with youth organisation Teen Challenge before working as a religious eduction teacher and volunteering as a youth worker.
When he heard about chaplaincy, he knew it would be a perfect fit for him.
“I had experience with religious education and young people, and the role came up here at Burnside and I got it,” he said.
“Chaplaincy was very small back then.
“The first thing I did was start a group for at risk kids ... one thing I get a lot is that we aren’t seen as part of the authority structure so they often feel more comfortable talking to us.
“Another issue is a lot of kids do really want to talk about and explore spiritual stuff and for those kids it is a really important part of life for those who do want to explore it. I think that’s the thing chaplaincy has that is different to other youth worker positions.”
While some things have changed over the years, his infinite value as a mentor and support for students has remained.
“One thing that has changed is not the level of dysfunction, but the amount and percentage has increased since I started,” he said.
“It is very sad.
“We do what we can and sometimes it is enough.”
If you would like to donate to school chaplaincy, contact Matt on 0412 137 748.
We aren’t seen as part of the authority structure, so they often feel more comfortable talking to us. — Matt Brady.
DEDICATED: Matt Brady has been working as the chaplin at Burnside State High School.