Breaking the cycle: Coast chaplain's inspiring work
FOR almost a decade, chaplain Mark Macrae has been changing lives at Carinity Education Glendyne.
Glendyne offers alternative education for troubled children and teenagers who have had difficulty succeeding in mainstream schools.
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.
Along with other staff at the school, he is helping students break the cycle of disadvantage.
"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," Mr Macrae 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."
Originally a teacher at Carinity Education Glendyne, Mark has been the chaplain at the school at Nikenbah for almost a decade.
"Working in an environment like this we rejoice in the little wins and the little improvements that we see students making," Mr Marae said.
"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 school 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."