2nd June 2024

Deakin Uni Worker Appointed to Lead Red Frogs on Campus

Every second Monday night the residents of Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus get to munch on delicious pancakes while chatting with Grace Worldon of OneHope Baptist Church.

Grace, who has been a Young Adults Leader at OneHope for several years, was recently appointed as the church’s Deakin University Worker to lead the Red Frogs team at the campus. She will coordinate social nights to provide some entertainment for the students and to share faith, hope and fun with them.

“The main thing we do is the pancakes! It’s a classic Red Frogs thing to do that the students always love. I try to branch out a bit as well, with things like nachos, slushy machines and all sorts of things. They love free food, and it’s a really good way to engage them and keep it exciting for them. A lot of it is about building relationships with young people throughout the year. I’ve found that when we build relationships with one or two university students, they’re often thinking about their own lives and what they’ll do after uni, so you can have some deeper conversations and show them that you care.”

The admin side of the role sees Grace gathering the food supplies, helping new Red Frogs volunteers to undergo induction and children’s checks, and bringing the team together for a briefing and devotion before each event.

While the role is new to Grace, she is keen to try new things to further build relationships with uni residents – in early April, the team went bowling with 10 of the students and they enjoyed it so much that they decided to go for ice cream together afterwards.

“It was just casual. It naturally evolved and they were keen to hang around. They appreciated that connection outside that context of being in Red Frogs uniform – they saw we didn’t have to do that but we’re doing it because we care. I’d like to plan more events like that, such as a paint night where we do paintings and eat pancakes. The whole Red Frogs mantra is that we’re safeguarding a generation, and that might be just having a chat with someone who’s feeling lonely, or lending a helping hand, and we’re doing it out of love to show that they are loved. I think this role is just starting out and there is so much potential for it to grow. It would be great to see this happening across all different organisations such as workplaces and other universities. So many people don’t know what can come from just a small thing. We sometimes hide away but if we use the things that are available to us, you never know what can happen.”

In the future, she would love to see further bridges built between the university and the church through her role. “Hopefully one day we could see some of those students coming over to the church and being involved in our community and seeking that lifestyle. The more students see our young, fun and vibrant community, they will see that we’re close, having a great time together and not drinking. They do recognise the positive difference in our community.”

She said it was important for Christians to care about the people they meet and engage with them. “Sometimes within our church circles we can become isolated and insular towards what’s within our circle. Doing even small things can help us break out of that mindset – you can ask someone to go get a coffee, or do an activity together, or anything. It’s about being aware of the opportunities around us, and God can work through any of those things.”

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