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Every Little Helps

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Sec) - Church Schools


To consider that even the little things we do matter a lot.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available an image with the phrase ‘They ought to do something’ crossed out and replaced with ‘I/We ought to do something’ and the means to display it during the assembly.

  • You will need a leader and five readers to take the spoken parts in the two stories in the ‘Assembly’, Step 4. Alternatively, the stories could be simply told in narrative form by the leader.


  1. Ask the students to recall a situation that has worried them and has seemed overwhelming. Point out that within the school community, there will be people feeling like this today.

  2. Ask the students to think of any situation that the world is facing that seems overwhelming. Explain that sometimes, situations can seem so enormous that they induce a feeling of total helplessness within us. We feel like we really can’t make a difference, no matter what we do.

  3. Show the image with the phrase ‘They ought to do something’ crossed out and replaced with ‘I/We ought to do something’.

    Emphasize the point that we can all do something.

  4. Tell the following stories. The stories are in a format for readers to be involved. However, they could be simply told in narrative form by the leader, if preferred.

    The Story of the Jellyfish

    Leader: The following story is one that Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks tells.

     (pointing to an old man): An old man was walking along the seashore at dawn. Ahead of him, he noticed a young man who was stooping and picking up starfish from the beach, where they had been stranded by the receding tide, and throwing them back into the water.

    Old man (to the young man):
    Why are you doing that?

    Young man:
    If I dont, theyll be stranded and the heat of the sun will kill them.

    Old man: But the beach goes on for miles and there are millions of starfish. What difference does it make?

    The young man stooped, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea.

    Young man: Well, it makes a difference to that one.

    The Story of the Snowflake
    This is a Russian folk story. Two mice were sitting watching the snow fall and settle on the branch of a tree.

    First mouse:
    How much does a snowflake weigh?

    Second mouse:
    A little less than nothing.

    Narrator: They continued to watch the snow falling. Eventually, the snowflakes lessened and then they stopped. A final snowflake fell onto the branch of the tree. The branch creaked, snapped and fell to the ground.

    First mouse:
    So, a little less than nothing can make a big difference!

    The lessons are clear.

    – Do what you can to help.

    – Little things can make a big difference.

Time for reflection

Remind the students that ‘every little helps’. A small action may not seem to make an enormous difference and change the world, but it will make some difference, however small.

Ask the students to contribute ideas for things that they could do, such as the following.

– Make a small contribution to the next charity collection.
– Organize a sale to raise funds for a chosen charity.
– Write a letter to someone who can make a difference to a situation, perhaps the local MP or councillor.
– Listen to someone who has a problem.
– Talk to someone who is lonely.
– Pray.

Remind the students that, for some of these activities, it will be best to discuss it with a teacher or parent/carer first.

Dear God,
You have made us all different
And given us to each other
For friendship and support,
To share with and enjoy each other’s company.
May we always value each other
And always look for opportunities to improve the lives of those around us.


‘When I needed a neighbour’ (Come and Praise, 65)

Publication date: July 2020   (Vol.22 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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