Messages of hope for bushfire victims

St Augustine's School, Currumbin Waters

​Students Molly O’Shea and Jax Fiebig with some of the more than350 letters that were sent to families struggling after the recent bushfires

ST Augustine’s School, Currumbin Waters, teacher Paul Barrett asked students if they would like to write letters to children affected by devastating bushfires.

The Year 2 teacher was stunned with the response with students putting together more than 350 letters filled with colourful pictures and messages of positivity and hope for struggling families.

Paul explains how it all came about.

“It has been well documented that, over the summer, many Australians were seriously affected by bushfires.

“While the physical rebuild could take quite some years, the emotional and mental scars are likely to take much longer to heal.

“Across Australia people have rallied together to provide an enormous amount of financial support to those most affected.

“At St Augustine’s School we wanted to provide a little emotional and spiritual support as well.

“As a gesture of compassion, students decided to draw pictures that would be sent to families that had been affected.

“Their pictures were simply just colourful drawings of positivity and hope.

“We also included messages of encouragement and support that the parents and older children had written on the back.

“On contacting the Catholic Education Office of the Canberra/Goulburn Diocese, we were directed to a number of Catholic primary schools that had been most affected by the disaster.

“Hundreds of letters were sent away and it is hoped that they will each make their mark in the homes of many families that we are never likely to meet.

“An indirect benefit of the whole exercise has been that St Augustine’s students had learned first-hand, how important it is to extend the hand of compassion towards others in need.

“This is, of course, something that is fundamental to what it means to be in a Catholic school community and becomes a way in which we can follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

“We collected hundreds of positive pictures and letters to send to school communities that have been seriously affected by the recent fires.

“The pictures are so amazing and many of the comments so beautiful, that I wanted to include some quotes from a few of them.

“They have been written by parents and students and clearly demonstrate how thoughtful and compassionate our own school community is."

“Please know that we are praying for you all and that little by little, day by day, your lives will be restored in the best way possible.”

“Family, friends and communities are at times, all that is needed, to remind us that we are supported and cherished.”

“We pray that your journey through recovery will be fast and that your strength and positivity will grow stronger every day.”

“Tough times never last but tough people do.”

“Remember that God loves you and all will be well in time.”

“Just know that everything will be alright because you guys are the toughest people in the world.”

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

“As long as you have lots of hope, I promise every day will just get better and better.”

“I want you to think that the worst is over and that a whole lot of positivity is going to rain down on you.”

“I pray for you and your family to be safe and comfortable and that all your troubles will be washed away with the next cloud of rain.”

“You are true blue to be going through such tough times, so I say good on you.”

“Trust me, everything is going to get better, stay strong, have hope, you’re not alone, you can do it.”

“The bravest people in life have been hurt before and in the end, it has made them stronger.”

St Augustine’s also held a free dress day to raise funds for the Hearts Aflame BCE appeal.

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