“I had some close friends ask me what my dream job would be. My reply was, ‘to work with teen girls and their families, to encourage and journey with them.’ I had no idea how or where a job like this existed, but God did.”
Sonia Davies is the chaplain at Carinity Education Southside, a special assistance school in Brisbane for young women who have faced barriers to education.
“Chaplains fill a unique space in supporting students. Without the responsibilities of teaching curriculum, we can focus on relationships and bring the light of Jesus to places that may not be reached otherwise,” Sonia said.
“I became a chaplain because I love teens and have always seemed to be able to connect with them. I believe relationships are key, so I try to mix with the students as much as possible. Support is a huge part of my role and the various ways that can look – from conversations and prayer, through to home visits and delivering food parcels.”
Carinity Education Southside students such as Georgia are benefitting from Chaplain Sonia offering holistic support to the young women.
“Sonia is there for me; I can talk to her and feel comfortable. She helps support me with work and my friends. She helps me a lot with my mental health and my friendships. I think they are better than before,” Georgia said.
Fellow student Anna Leigh says Sonia “makes sure my day is alright, smiles and checks in with me, supports and has conversations with me”, while classmate Libby says the chaplain “has been there for me at my lowest”.
Sonia is inspired by witnessing “wonderful outcomes” for the teenaged students including those experiencing difficult relationships with family members.
“Recently after speaking to a student, she came up to me in the hallway, hugged me and thanked me for helping her. She said, ‘You really made a difference to my day and helped me and my mum talk about some stuff’,” Sonia said.
“I love this because this opened the way for more conversations between the mother and daughter. Seemingly insignificant interactions can have a profound impact, some we will never know and some deeply significant to our students.
“We are all on a journey and made mistakes, but our past does not define us. I love seeing the bravery and courage our students show constantly, and seeing the small steps each of them makes becoming bigger steps.”
Carinity Education Southside Principal, Leann Faint, says Sonia has a “lovely non-intrusive way” of building trust with the students and offers practical support.
“A chaplain brings the spiritual dimension to the school environment, living out the message of being the hands and feet of Jesus. Staff and students are benefiting from a loving and practical example of Christ our saviour,” Leann said.
Supporting the 2022 Carinity Chaplains Appeal will enable Carinity to place more dedicated and passionate chaplains like Sonia in schools, aged care communities, hospitals and prisons across Queensland.
Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.