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Stepping Forward

An assembly for Volunteers’ Week, 1–7 June 2017

by Claire Law

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To consider the nature of volunteering and the benefits that it brings.

Preparation and materials


  1. Show Slide 1.

    Ask the students, Who wants to volunteer to help me?

    Show Slide 2.

    Summarize the response to this question by saying, for example, ‘That’s interesting, about 30 per cent of you raised your hand to volunteer.’

  2. Talk through the possible reasons why some people volunteered, and some didn’t.

    - For those who raised their hands: that is interesting. You have volunteered for a job or a task that you know nothing about. Why was that? Is it because you are keen to help? Is it because helping others gives you a feel-good factor? Is it because you like to be seen as a role model to others?
    - For t
    hose who did not volunteer: why not? Is it because you needed more information? Is it because you weren’t sure if you would get anything out of it, or what sort of sacrifice of time and energy you would need to make? Is it because you prefer to keep yourself to yourself? Is it because your friend or the people you are sitting next to didn’t raise their hands?

  1. In today’s assembly, we are going to think about volunteering. We will consider why and how people volunteer and what benefit volunteering brings. Every year in the UK, the first week of June is given over to Volunteers Week. The week is an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution that millions of volunteers make across the UK. It is organized by NCVO, the National Council for Voluntary Organizations.

  2. As we begin to think about the benefits of volunteering, let’s watch this short video.

    Show the YouTube video ‘The Simpsons S08E08 Hurricane Neddy - Rebuilding Ned’s House’ from the beginning until 1.07 minutes. Stop the video when Ned walks through the front door.

    In this video, we saw how the community of Springfield came together to volunteer their time, skills and services to rebuild Ned Flanders’ house after it was destroyed by a hurricane. The end result of the new house, Ned’s obvious gratitude and the positive feeling felt by the volunteers all came from individuals being willing to give of themselves.

  3. Show Slide 3.

    Volunteering can be defined as ‘any activity that involves spending time, unpaid, doing something that aims to benefit someone (individuals or groups) other than or in addition to close relatives, or to benefit the environment.

  4. This definition talks about volunteering benefitting the community. It could involve visiting older people who may feel lonely; getting involved in a nature reserve project by litter picking or planting new trees; volunteering as a youth leader at Scouts, Guides or another youth organization; or acting as a peer mentor in school. Volunteering helps other people and, in so doing, builds a stronger community and society. Every world religion – Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism – all include the teaching that we should ‘treat others as we want to be treated’. Volunteering is a way of showing care, concern and kindness towards others. The following video from NCVO makes this point.

    Show the ‘Where volunteering begins’ video. It is 1.06 minutes long.

  5. As well as the benefits that volunteering brings to others, being a volunteer can also have positive results for the volunteer.

    Volunteering connects us to others and helps us to build positive relationships.
    Volunteering is good for our minds and bodies. Researchers at the London School of Economics found that the more people volunteered, the happier they were. The odds of being ‘very happy’ rose by 16 per cent for people who volunteer weekly.
    Volunteering is good for our careers, helping us to learn new skills. Over 70 per cent of employers believe that those who volunteer have a better chance of earning a higher salary and gaining promotion.

Time for reflection

Let’s take a moment to reflect on how we might commit to helping others and our community through volunteering our time and our skills.

Let’s identify the skills that we each have to share with others.

- Are you good with younger children?
- Do you have skills in sport?
- Have you skills in organizing and planning?
- Are you a good listener?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Now let’s reflect upon the opportunities and times when we might be able to volunteer.

- One evening a week?
- During the school holidays?
- At the weekend?
- Within school: at break, at lunch or after school?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Finally, let’s reflect on the opportunities that we have in our community to volunteer. (If possible, name or list a variety of opportunities that are specific to your own school setting and the local community.)

Pause to allow time for thought.

Dear God,
We remember the important spiritual principle that encourages us to ‘treat others as we want to be treated’.
Today, we pray for a world where kindness, care for others and compassion are the hallmark of our communities.
We ask you to give us opportunities to volunteer.
We ask you for the courage to say ‘yes’ when these opportunities arise.

Publication date: June 2017   (Vol.19 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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