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sep/oct 2016

servant leadership

community service

story, tips & ideas for kids

hooray! it's our

2nd birthday

8. leadership: Is Every Kid Supposed To Be a Leader?

14. tips: Community service Ideas for kids

22. inspire: doing big things

27. printable: heart placemat

28. cook: baked flan

18. girlhood: Share Your Gifts

21. win:

birthday giveaway

31. crafts: care gifts kids can make

36. subscribe

Kids Nation is a bi-monthly magazine, dedicated to empowering kids around the world. It is published by MOS Design Creative (

32. fatherhood: how a water heater teaches dads about fathering

Front Cover: Alicia D. (Australia)

Copyright Š Kids Nation magazine. All rights reserved. Reproducing without permission is prohibited. Copyright of articles and photos remain with the individual contributors and may not be reproduced without permission.

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photo: melissa hicks photography

from the editor One of my most memorable memories as a kid was helping my parents doing things. They regularly got involved with a local church/community group hosting Christmas service for the needy and the blinds in poverty-stricken communities in Indonesia. I just helped with little things such as holding their arms and took them to their seats so they could sit down and enjoy the service. However, meeting them was an eyeopener for me because I realized that I had a lot to give and to give thanks for. In this edition, we’re privileged to feature Dr. Tim Elmore sharing about servant leadership and how every child can lead and serve others with their talents.

Dr. Bill Magee, Mark Redmond and Tim Norton inspire us with community service ideas for kids. Ellen Stumbo writes a story of encouragement for children to share their gifts. We’re also so grateful to have Julia Varverud, Celia Andrews and Genevieve Groves sharing their experiences in doing volunteer work for their organisations. Don’t forget to check out Andreja Vučajnk’s placemat printable, awesome care gift ideas that kids can make, Desi Trisnawati's family recipe and Dr. Michelle Watson's story of hot water and fatherhood.

xo, Mia kids nation's birthday giveaway starts October 1st see page 21

this edition’s contributors:

MIA SETYAWAN AUSTRALIA EDITOR & FOUNDER of KIDS NATION MAG Mia is a mother of two boys and a business owner from Australia. She owns an award winning graphic design studio and print + stationery online shop. She also writes a lifestyle blog and volunteers at a local children program.

ELLEN STUMBO UNITED STATES WRITER & FOUNDER OF DISABILITY MATTERS ELLENSTUMBO.COM Ellen Stumbo writes and speaks with gritty honesty and openness. Ellen’s writing has appeared on Focus on the Family, LifeWay, MomSense, Not Alone, Mamapedia and the Huffington Post. Ellen blogs at and you can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

dr. Tim Elmore united states founder & president of growing leaders growingleaders. com Tim is an international speaker, founder and president of Growing Leaders, an organization equipping today's young people to become the leaders of tomorrow. He is best-selling author of more than 30 books, including Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future and the Habitudes® series.

Desi Trisnawati INDONESIA food artist & chef consultant inspirational-chef. com Desi is the winner of Masterchef Indonesia 2012 and the first female Masterchef Indonesia. She is the author of 20 Fun Recipes of Strong Heart and creator of the Indonesia's first culinary board game Cooking with Inspirational Chef Desi.


this edition’s contributors:


Julia Varverud united states volunteer operation smile

Dr. Bill Magee is a plastic and craniofacial surgeon who co-founded Operation Smile. He serves as the organization's CEO. Operation Smile is a children’s medical charity whose network of global volunteers are dedicated to helping improve the health of children.

Julia Varverud is a 6th grader in Norfolk, Virginia. She began volunteering at the age of eight when she raised money for children in need. Julia now encourages all kids to volunteer and give back.

andreja vuČajnk slovenia founder of itsy bitsy fun www.itsybitsyfun. com Andreja is the creator of Itsy Bitsy Fun, a website that provides tons of free resources for kids such as educational worksheets, games, activities and craft projects. Connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.


Dr. Michelle Watson United States Author & Founder of The Abba Project drmichellewatson. com Michelle is a national speaker, counselor, author of “Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart” and founder of The Abba Project, a 9-month educational forum for dads of daughters ages 13 to 30 in Portland, Oregon. Connect on Facebook and Twitter.

this edition’s contributors:

MARK REDMOND UNITED STATES EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SPECTRUM YOUTH & FAMILY SERVICES Mark Redmond is director of Spectrum Youth and Family Services and has worked in the field of helping homeless youth for 33 years. He is the author of “The Goodness Within: Reaching out to Troubled Teens with Love and Compassion”.

Celia Andrews united states volunteer Spectrum Youth and Family Services I’m an eighth grader who lives in Westford, Vermont with my parents and younger sister. I like to play soccer, hike, and backpack, and in the winter I cross country ski. I like to get involved with causes with my friends, because we have a lot of fun while doing something good for the world.

tim norton australia Head of Campaigns savethechildren. Tim manages Save the Children Australia's advocacy campaigns and public engagement activities, including youth advocacy program. He and his team work to ensure that children's right are a core part of our public-facing campaigns.

GENEVIEVE GROVES AUSTRALIA YOUTH AMBASSADOR savethechildren. Genevieve is a 2016 Youth Ambassador of Save the Children Australia. She has volunteered for a wide range of organisations and causes such as tutoring refugee students at a local high school. She is passionate about empowering young people.




Is Every Kid Supposed To Be a Leader? by: dr. Tim Elmore


There I stood in front of a crowd of one thousand students and faculty members, at a university in the Midwest. One instructor stood up with a question I get almost everywhere I go, because I teach leadership to students. The person asking usually has an answer already—they just want to hear how I’m going to respond to this question…

“Is everyone a leader?”


he answer of course is yes and no. (How’s that for a politically correct answer?) It all depends on how you define the word “leader.”

What if leadership was more about people pursuing a “calling” in their life; a calling with which they will influence others in its fulfillment?

If you define it in the tradition fashion — that a leader is someone with a position, in charge of a group of people in an organization—then, the answer is no.

What if it had more to do with finding an area of strength — and in using that strength, they’ll naturally influence others in a positive way?

Not everyone and certainly not every student is gifted to become the president, CEO or key leader of an organization. Most never occupy a top spot in a flow chart. Perhaps only ten percent of the population will. For the sake of discussion, we’ll call these people “Leaders” with a capital “L.” If leadership means possessing a gift to organize groups of people to accomplish a task, then it’s exclusive and obviously not for everyone. In fact, we will frustrate students by telling them they are “Leaders”— only to disappointment them with a lofty ideal they’ll never attain. We create a false expectation. Most of the arguments surrounding this question boil down to contrasting definitions.

It seems to me, every one of us possesses some strength or gift that enables us to master something and to influence others in a healthy way. Certainly, mankind has perverted this idea. History is full of leaders who tried to dominate others by force, such as Nero, Stalin, Hitler or Saddam Hussein. But we can’t let counterfeits of good leadership convince us that leadership should be avoided. In fact, if there is a counterfeit, it means there is something genuine that is valuable.

If we define leadership in a different manner, however, it opens up an entirely new perspective for students. 9

photo: unsplash

I believe leadership is about serving others in the area of our giftedness. When kids do, they naturally ripple with influence. They don’t even have to try to “lead” others. As kids mature, we are to help them naturally uncover their strengths, so they can serve people and influence them in a positive way. Students may not even have a position at the top of a flow chart, but they lead. Because this is a larger segment of the population, it might be helpful to call these people “leaders” with a lower case “l.” They are “leaders”, not “Leaders.” They’re everywhere, and we must prepare them to influence their world. This is why I choose to define leadership in this way: Leadership is using my influence for a worthwhile cause.

Two Kinds of Leaders Let me say it another way. These two kinds of leaders (“Leaders” and “leaders”) can be defined as HABITUAL leaders and SITUATIONAL leaders. “Habitual leaders” are the natural ones, who tend to be good at leading whatever group they are in. They feel natural taking charge and running point on just about any project. They lead out of habit. “Situational leaders” are those people who make up the majority of the population. Most of them don’t even feel like leaders — until they find the right situation that fits their passions and their strengths. Once in the area of their strength, they come alive and become the right one to lead in that particular situation.


"Leadership is using my influence for a worthwhile cause."

This is why a central goal for parents and mentors ought to be to help students find their “situation.” This situation is likely where a person will fulfill their purpose and leverage their best influence.

Dr. Tim Elmore

Whether your student is a “habitual” leader or a “situational” leader, the next discover we must help them make is what every healthy leader is about.

Two Goals for Healthy Leaders

I believe effective, lasting leaders earn their right to influence others because they: 1. Solve problems. 2. Serve people. That’s it. The fastest way to earn a position of leadership is to solve problems and serve people. When kids do, others naturally follow them. They have roles of influence. This is what we need to cultivate in our kids today. We don’t need more bosses or politicians. We don’t need more fame hungry athletes or celebrities. What we need are emerging adults who know how to solve problems because they serve a greater cause beyond themselves. In 2000, the Kellogg Foundation published a report on the status of leadership on university campuses in North America. The report included both state and private schools, and was compiled by Dr. Helen and Dr. Alexander Astin, from UCLA. Their conclusions were intriguing. Let me summarize a few of them here: 1. Every student has the potential to be a leader. 2. Leadership cannot be separated from values. 3. Leadership skills must be taught. 4. In today’s world, every student will need leadership skills.


photo: Nadine Asfour

So, let’s embrace it. Let’s help kids learn to lead and influence in a manner appropriate with their giftedness, and not excuse themselves because they won’t ever be Mother Teresa, or Dr. King or Bill Gates. Leadership is a calling on every one of us, to some degree. It’s about becoming the person we are gifted to be. It is less about position and more about disposition. It is not so much about superiority but about service in the area of our strengths. When we define it this way, it puts the cookies on the bottom shelf. Every child can do it.

FOR DISCUSSION: How do you define leadership? Do you believe every student has some influence to leverage? How do you foster an environment that encourages students to think and act like leaders? 12

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photo: Miriam Müller


Community service Ideas for kids COMPILED BY: MIA SETYAWAN



"Just because you are a kid doesn’t mean you can’t serve your community." Mark Redmond


our years ago a 9-year-old girl asked me if she could sleep outside one night during the winter to help raise funds for Spectrum, the organization I run which helps homeless teens.

I told her yes, and she raised over $1,400. The next year a few more kids joined her, and raised even more money.


The following year over 400 kids did it, raising upwards of $20,000. And it’s continued to spread. All this because one 9-year-old girl cared enough to do something about homelessness.


photo: Rob McKechnie/Save the Children Australia

there are so many things kids can do to make the world a better place.

Tim Norton Head of Campaigns Save the Children Australia


f you see something as unfair in the world, talk to your parents and teachers about how you can change this. Become a school leader and talk to your friends about what you can do together. Worried about kids who don’t have enough to eat? Run a breakfast club. Interested in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander rights? Ask your principal to run a National Close the Gap Day at school. Reading about refugee children overseas? Organise a fundraiser at your school for a charity. Ask for help from others about your role in making the world a better place.


photo: operation smile

"Whatever you do, get to know the story of the individuals you’re helping." DR. BILL MAGEE


ompassion and passion are key when it comes to community service. Kids should find something they love to do and do it in a way that’ll enhance and engage others. Community service comes in all shapes and sizes. You can volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate your talent, or fundraise. Whatever you do, get to know the story of the individuals you’re helping. I encourage people to start volunteering at a young age, which is part of the reason we’re proud of the thousands of students around the world who’ve started or joined more than 900 Operation Smile Student Clubs.



photo: Karolina Grabowska


Share Your Gifts 18

BY: ellen stumbo

When it comes to girls, there are abundant messages about being cute, a princess, being sparkles and unicorns. Our girls are pink and bowed and superficially perfect and beautiful. While I want my girls to know they are beautiful, I want much more for them. I want them to know they are smart, they are creative, they are talented.


y oldest daughter is quiet, reflective, and soft spoken. She is also good at math, she writes books, she can sing, she plays the piano. She is talented, but she likes to hide her gifts. Part of it is being shy, part of it is feeling vulnerable to what people might say, part of it is fear of not being able to be the best of the best, and some of it is personality. I do not expect her to be the kid on the stage, but I also know that gifts are not to be hidden. I want her identity to come not from what she looks like, but from what she contributes to other people to make them smile or have a better day. "This picture is incredible." I say. "it's okay." She says. "Can I share it with the family on What'sApp or Facebook?" "It's not that good mom, don't share it."

"But when your grandma sees it, she is going to smile. This picture you created right here, this is going to make her day better. What if she had a hard day at work? She might look at it and think of how much she loves you, how good you are getting with your drawing, and how much she enjoys spending time with you." I say. She smiles. "God does not give us gifts to hide them. He gives us gifts so we can share them with others and make their lives more beautiful, even if it just with a smile." I say. "I know." She says. This is a conversation we have often, because I like to remind her (and all three of my girls) that our gifts and talents are not meant to be kept in closed fists. They are also not for us to boast about how great we are. Our gifts and talents are meant to be shared with other people.


I want my girls to know that no matter what it is they have to give, it can make a difference in the life of someone else. I want them to know, that as young as they are, they can make a difference in the life of another person.

The former principal at our girls' school used to tell her children every morning, "Make a difference in someone's life today." I try to encourage my kids to do the same. To live their life to be a blessing to other people.

I do respect their choices, and I do understand sometimes they need a little more time to feel brave and ready to share. But I keep encouraging them to do so.

They say some of the happiest people are not those who take, but rather those who give. Those who serve. Those who are not focused on themselves but focused on others.

It can be a story, a picture, words of affirmation for a friend, including someone who is left alone, celebrating with a friend for a win at their soccer game. All those are small ways in which we can impact someone's life, be present, and share our gifts.

So I keep reminding my girls that they are smart, talented, kind, caring, thoughtful, curious, creative, artistic, and any other gifts I see in them. And then I encourage them to share those gifts, because someone out there might need that encouragement for the day.

Ellen Stumbo is passionate about sharing the real – sometimes beautiful and sometimes ugly – aspects of faith, parenting, special needs, and adoption. 20


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photo: unsplash


doing big things compiled BY: mia setyawan



Celia Andrews Country: U.S.A Age: 13 Organization: Spectrum Youth and Family Services

with her family The 9yo Celia (in green) the $1,200 she at Spectrum to drop off Sleep Out raised during her own in her backyard!

What inspired you to get involved with Spectrum? I knew there was a big fundraising event for adults, and I thought kids should be able to help too. Spectrum helps homeless youth, so it only makes sense that youth should be involved in helping Spectrum.

What did/do you actually do? We sleep outside in March in Vermont to raise awareness for homelessness, and raise money too. The sleepout happens in all weather, including snow sometimes!

The best thing about volunteering: It makes you feel good to help.

Hardest thing to do: Imagine what it’s like to be a homeless kid.

Most important lesson you've learned: Anyone can help a cause they care about.

Tips for other kids who want to make a difference in their community: If you care about something, you can always find an organization that needs your help. 23

GENEVIEVE GROVES Country: Australia Age: 16 Organization: Save the Children Australia

What inspired you to get involved with save the children australia? Simply put, young people are one of the most vulnerable groups in society. They often feel that they don't have a voice to influence the decisions that affect them. Save the Children Australia has given me a chance to show young people they have a chance to speak out in their communities.

What do you actually do? I am a voice for youth, so I engage in work with my community to bring greater awareness to the issues facing young people in Australia.

The best thing about volunteering: Meeting so many incredible people who have such inspiring personal stories.

Hardest thing to do: Feel like you're not doing enough.

Most important lesson you've learned: There is no single journey for those suffering hardship.

Tips for other kids who want to make a difference in their community: Check out community organisations in your local area, like an animal shelter or nursing home, and ask to start helping out!


Julia Varverud Country: U.S.A Age: 11 Organization: Operation Smile

Julia, Operation Smile

student volunteer

What inspired you to get involved with operation smile? I saw the kids they helped and it inspired me to help. I began volunteering with Operation Smile as a 5th grader. I spread awareness about the need for kids to have access to safe surgery. This message is part of a new global youth campaign called, Until We Heal.

What do you actually do? I started an Operation Smile Student Club, participated in the “Final Mile” race to raise money, and I write “thank you” letters to donors.

The best thing about volunteering: I get a chance to give back, which makes me feel good.

Hardest thing to do: Finding time to volunteer isn’t always easy, but you just have to make time.

Most important lesson you've learned: I’ve learned to be grateful for what I have and not to take anything for granted.

Tips for other kids who want to make a difference in their community: I would tell other kids to just do it because it’ll make you feel good while making a difference. or nursing home, and ask to start helping out!


more ideas

click on the pictures below to read more stories about how these kids help their communities:

Ethan King (CHARITY BALL) Ethan was only 10yo when he started Charity Ball, a charity dedicated to give new soccer balls to kids in poverty-stricken communities.

Katie Stagliano (KATIE'S KROPS) From a tiny cabbage seedling to feeding hundreds of people.

lulu cerone (Lemonade Warriors) Hosted lemonade stands and donated the money to charity.

ISABELLE AND KATHERINE ADAMS (Paper For Water) These two sisters love creating origami and have raised over $815K for water projects by selling their creations.


photo: andreja vuÄŒajnk


heart placemat printable BY: andreja vuÄŒajnk when we think about community service, there are plenty of things that little children can do too. one of them is coloring a placemat and give it to an elderly at a nursing home. It will surely cheer up someone's day! Simply click on the black circle below, download the printable, print it and color it to your heart's desire.

click here to download the placemat



baked flan BY: desi trisnawati


INGREDIENTS: 3/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoon water 2 eggs 220 cc evaporated milk 200 cc condense milk 1 tablespoon vanilla essence

METHOD: 1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F). 2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until liquefied and golden in color. Carefully pour hot syrup into ramekins, turning each ramekin to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside. 3. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Beat in condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour egg mixture into ramekins. Cover with aluminium foil. 4. Place ramekins into a deep baking dish. Add very hot water to the baking dish so it fills halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, cool completely, and then turn out onto serving dishes. tips: Substitute vanilla essence with rum to create stronger flavour.

For more recipes, follow Desi on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram 29

Stingless bee honey, from Indonesia's forest Stingless bee honey contains propolis and has many health benefits including treating ailments such as a sore throat, microbial infections and inflammation. For more info, visit Meliponini Honey on Instagram.


care gifts kids can make compiled BY: MIA SETYAWAN teddy bear toweL Nina (Cookies in the Sky)

tough cookie

DIY Card: Sue (Creative Tryals) Cookie recipe: Emma (Paleo With Mrs P)

hand print flower bookmark click on the pics to see the tutorials

Stacey (The Darice® Live Craft Love)

DIY Notebook crayons

Ashley Ann (Under the Sycamore)


photo: Magyarorszรกg


how a water heater teaches dads about fathering by: Dr. michelle watson 32

photo: unsplash

It’s interesting how some of the things that are most significant and impactful seem to take place at the most unexpected times, and in the most random of ways. Here’s the story of my recent encounter with a water heater.


think I speak for a majority of women when I say that interacting with devices that have the potential to blow up and set our house on fire doesn’t rank high on our list of favorite things to do. For me that came in the guise of needing to relight the pilot light of my water heater after it went out during a strong windstorm. In the past, I’ve always been able to talk my dad into coming over and relighting it for me. He knows it scares me, especially once I start smelling gas (after a few failed attempts at starting the dumb thing), which usually results in me calling him to come to the rescue. One time, it was even after 9 pm, which prompted him to drive all the way to my house just so I’d have hot water in the morning for my shower. (Thank you, Dad!) Through the past six years I've lived in this house, my dad has repeatedly tried showing me how to relight the pilot light, but for some reason, it’s just not something I’ve been able to master. Maybe it’s that I don’t do it enough to be good at it. Regardless, it comes close to terrifying me and I’d rather defer. My dad has tried to cheer me on by saying, “You can do it!” while standing there with me, but that honestly doesn’t help. Oftentimes I’ve gotten frustrated and then refused to keep trying after repeated unsuccessful tries. (I know…not a mature response on my part, but I’m keeping it real.) But then, a few days ago, things changed. This time I knelt there on the garage floor to read the instructions my dad had written on the side of the water heater a few years ago: 1. Turn to off 2. Turn to “Pilot” and push down and hold 3. Hold one minute WHILE pushing green button (clicker) 3 times 4. Turn to “on”…should light 33

Here's what I am calling “Lessons from the Water Heater:” 1. When you teach your daughter to do something that doesn’t scare you but does scare her, don’t expect her to walk into her fear in the same way or within the same time frame that you do. (It has taken me over six years to finally do this, even after repeated “tutorials” with my dad here on site!)

My dad's step-by-step instructions, written in permanent marker. I’m not going to lie, I was feeling a bit of anxiety the whole time. And then, when I smelled gas, I was ready to quit and call my dad to come to the rescue yet again. But I also wanted to prove to myself (and him) that I could do it. I wanted to face my fear and succeed this time. That’s when I started praying for a miracle. And on the fifth try…success! To say I was excited was an understatement. I could hardly wait to let my dad know that I DID IT!!! You may be asking yourself why I’m making such a big deal about a seemingly insignificant thing. The reason is that this experience highlighted for me some key fathering tools that I thought would be worth passing along. 34

2. Don’t belittle your daughter in the process of teaching her something new, especially when it’s a skill that you have but she doesn’t have yet. Never tell her that she’s a “baby” or a “scaredy cat” if her real emotions of fear surface. 3. Be available to come to her aid by doing things for her, because it communicates that she’s worth the help you can offer. Anytime you can stand with your daughter while providing supportive help, it's a good day for you and a great day for her. This is love in action. Talk about a win-win! 4. Respond to her in the way that you want her to eventually respond in crisis when she’s on her own. Because more is caught than taught, she is always watching how you respond (to her and the situation) during these times that are often stressful (with a dash of urgency and panic thrown in). Model to her what it looks like to stay steady in the storm as you demonstrate problem-solving with diligence and strength.

5. Be willing to write out the steps for her to navigate tricky and scary things so she has everything she needs to succeed on her own. Having my dad's hand-written instructions on the side of the water heater, which I could eventually use to navigate the situation on my own, was a gift. It took me years to be ready to follow his instructions, but when I was ready they were there. (Perhaps penning a hand-written note to your daughter today that affirms her will give you a way to put this step into action. Even if it’s not a "step-by-step action plan" like my dad's water heater list, the note can help her remember you're there for her when her fears surface). In the end I fully believe that most women want:

to be proud of ourselves because we did it… all by ourselves to know that you're willing to step in when we need your help, especially during those times when things scare us...because it let's us know we're worth being cared for for you to be proud of us for you to cheer us on no matter how long it takes to finally get it right and figure it out to live empowered lives where we do what needs to be done with anything and everything that comes up in our lives. So I cheer you on, dad, to stand next to your daughter as you help her face her fears while you are there with her, sometimes in person and always in spirit. If you do, she will soar. And so will you.

to successfully face our fears to internalize the lessons you’ve taught us, dad, while making good decisions of our own



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Kids Nation Magazine - Edition 13 September/October 2016  

Edition 13: Service & Leadership for kids. World's first free digital magazine, dedicated to empowering kids around the world, with global c...

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