Tag Archives

4 Articles

A Year to Remember and Forget!

Posted by rstapholz on
A Year to Remember and Forget!

cynthia brian-green mask.jpg

Click to view this email in a browser


You will be remembered forever by the tracks you leave.”  Navajo saying


The one-year anniversary of the global pandemic lock-down has arrived. It will be remembered as a year of fear, sadness, grief, unemployment, civil unrest, political polarity, racial discrimination, global natural disasters, online learning, myriad business closings, mask wearing, sheltering-in-place, social distancing, and the devastating Covid-19 virus. These are twelve months that we all want to forget.

Yet, amidst the destruction, devastation, and death, heroes have emerged. Essential personnel including medical staff, store employees, firefighters, police, postal workers, drivers, construction, maintenance, transportation, and utility workers, farm laborers, repair technicians, TV and radio employees, restauranteurs, and many other persons showed up to jobs despite the risks. Teachers pivoted to teach on-line classes as parents scrambled to help their children with this new mode of education. People who could work from home transitioned to performing their tasks from bedrooms, basements, and kitchen tables. We will remember and commemorate their dedication and kindness for years to come.

One thing is clear.

We have all been in this together although apart.

At Be the Star You Are!®, with all in-person events cancelled, we pivoted to increasing, growing, and managing our virtual programs including the Star Teen Book Review Team, our two radio broadcasts, and assisting with disaster relief, despite minimal donations and financial loss. Our programs have helped thousands, returned amazing results, and been extremely successful.

Everyone is ready to get back to some semblance of normalcy. It is heartbreaking that over 525,000 Americans have died from the disease. As vaccinations roll out, infection rates will decline, and we will once again be able to gather. Getting vaccinated is not a political statement. Both former Republican President Trump and sitting Democratic President Biden were both vaccinated in January. It is critical that all Americans follow suit to overcome this deadly disease.

My hope is that every individual will understand the importance of getting vaccinated as soon as it is available. Even after vaccination, we must still be diligent, wear a mask, and practice social distancing until herd immunity has been accomplished. A welcome pronouncement from the CDC this week exclaimed that those who have had both doses of the Pfizer and Moderna or the single dose of Johnson and Johnson may get together indoors with one another. Hurray for the vaccines!

2021 may also become a year to be remembered as the next baby boom. I’m calling it the year of Covid kids. It’s been a full year since I’ve seen my daughter and six months since seeing my son and their spouses. Now that I have been vaccinated, I can’t wait for a real hug. Most young couples I know are currently pregnant. Like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, my children have announced that they are both expecting baby girls this summer. What a gift of new beginnings.

Joy and strength emerge from adversity. Let us all do our part to bring a smile to another and peace to our planet. It is almost spring, a time of rebirth and renewal.

What tracks have you left this year? Leave a legacy. Make a difference. Forget and Remember.

Sending virtual hugs and lucky shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day.

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556




DONATE: https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504



Thanks to our volunteers, supporters, donors, and community Be the Star You Are!® is one of the first charities of 2021 to be named a TOP NON PROFIT. Congratulations to all,. Read reviews and witness what people are saying about BTSYA!  https://greatnonprofits.org/org/be-the-star-you-are-inc


Be the Star You Are!® has also earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Guidestar/Candid: https://www.guidestar.org/profile/94-3333882

2021 Guidestar Platinun seal.jpeg


It may seem like reading is a straightforward task that is easy. Actually, you use many different skills together.  Together these skills lead to the goal of reading which is reading comprehension or understanding what you have read.

Reading comprehension can be challenging. Below are six essential skills needed to be able to comprehend what you have read. When kids have trouble with any of these, they can have trouble understanding what they are reading.

  1. 1. Decoding is vital in the reading process. Kids use this skill to sound out words they have heard before but have not yet seen written out. The ability to do that is the foundation for other reading skills.

Decoding relies on phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness lets you hear individual sounds in words (known as phonemes). It allows kids to play with sounds at the word and syllable level. Decoding also relies on connecting sounds to letters. Grasping the connection between a letter(s) and the sounds they typically make is important in “sounding out” words.

  1. 2. Fluency.  Kids need to instantly recognize words to be able to read fluently. Fluency speeds up the rate at which they can read and understand.

Sounding out or decoding every word will take a lot of effort. Word recognition is the ability to recognize the whole word instantly by sight.

  1. 3. Vocabulary.  To understand what you are reading, you have to understand most of the words in the text. Strong vocabulary is a key part of reading comprehension. Kids can learn comprehension through instruction but also everyday experience and also reading.
  1. 4. Sentence Construction and Cohesion.   Understanding how sentences are built and understanding the connection between ideas within and between sentences (cohesion) are important for understanding what one is reading.

Knowing how ideas link up in the sentence helps kids get meaning from passages and entire texts.  Coherence is the ability to connect ideas to other ideas in a piece of text.

  1. 5. Reasoning and Background Knowledge.  Most readers relate what they’ve read to what they know. It’s important to have background knowledge. They also need to “read between the lines” and see the meaning when it’s not spelled out literally.
  1. 6. Working Memory and Attention.   When kids read, attention lets them take in information from what they are reading. Working Memory allows them to hold on to that information and gain meaning and knowledge form what they are reading. Self-monitoring is also important as kids need to know when they do not understand something.

Stephanie Cogeos is the Coordinator of the Star Teen Book Review Team.

Read the reviews at www.BTSYA.org


“Read, lead, succeed! To be a leader, you must be a reader!”


No one knows exactly where the beloved Irish blessing “May the Road Rise Up to Meet You” came from. Some trace it back to St. Patrick because it is similar to his other writings. This blessing was originally an Irish prayer, first written in the Irish Gaelic language and then translated into English.

In Ireland, people have a deep appreciation for all things nature and outdoors. The Celts often used wind, sun and rain as symbols, or to show how God is connected with His people. In the 4th century, St Patrick used the green shamrock as a metaphor to explain the Holy Trinity as he converted the Irish to Christianity. The word comes from the Irish seamrog, meaning young clover. It is the unofficial flower of Ireland. Wearing a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, has been a tradition.

Karen Kitchel who penned two chapters in the book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World, is the Kindness Coordinator volunteer with BTSYA. She serves meals to the homeless and is a volunteer teacher, writer, job coach, and mentor. www.scatteringkindness.com

Irish poem.jpg

“Communicate, collaborate, innovate.”

2021-STARSTYLE radio logo.jpeg


LIVE on Wednesdays from 4-5pm PT, be entertained, informed, amused, and educated on StarStyle-Be the Star You Are!. Then be inspired and motivated on

Sundays from 3-4pm PT, it’s Express Yourself! Teen Radio with our Be the Star You Are! star teen hosts and reporters.

Express Yourself orange 72x24 banner-1.jpg

You’ll meet authors, actors, artists, activists, musicians, poets, scientists, educators, and other creatives. Enjoy our upbeat, authentic, and fun radio parties on the Voice America Network Empowerment Channel or wherever you like to listen.

Visit https://www.StarStyleRadio.com for our line-up of guests.


We have suggestions for you to shop, save, and stay safe. Please use these web sites for all of your shopping essentials.

US smile Orange@1x.png

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882

2. Discounted books at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/shops/be_the_star_you_are_charity

3. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash at 3500+ popular online stores :https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc

Giving Assistant Icon 234x60.jpg

4. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE: http://www.iGive.com/BTSYA

2020 IGIVE logo.jpg

5. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” black tanks and books at StarStyle® Store: http://www.starstylestore.net/

cyntha brian with books.jpg

6. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundle. http://ow.ly/cYs130iN6n4



DIRECT LINKS you can use for Be the Star You Are!®

Positive Results: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/positive-results

About Us: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/about_us

Programs: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/programs

How to Help: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/how-to-help

Blog: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/blog-1

Events: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/events

Contact us: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/contact

Shamrocks copy.jpeg

Remember and Forget. Leave a legacy. Wear green. 

Erin go Bragh!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick's Day.jpeg

For 2021: PLEASE make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504


May you find your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! Health and Happiness.

Be the Star You Are!501 c3 charity

PO Box 376

Moraga, Ca. 94556



Aging: Future Possibilities, Fulfilling Life, Brain Health

Posted by presspass on
Aging: Future Possibilities, Fulfilling Life, Brain Health
Longevity is an accomplishment. Continuing to live a fulfilling, active lifestyle as we age is fundamental to our emotional, mental and physical well-being.
The decline in physical ability and mental acuity as we age are realities of the aging process. And, in the case of dementia, the cognitive decline* can be even more precipitous and pronounced. But can we engage in activities that promote physical, mental and emotional well-being, help us continue to live a purposeful and fulfilling life, as well as stave off or lessen the effects of decline. The answer is a resounding, YES!!
Furthermore, remaining active and engaged in our advancing years is an important legacy to future generations about the meaning of future possibilities.
1. GET UP AND GET MOVING: Regular exercise that elevates your heart rate increases the flow of blood to the body and the brain, sometimes referred to as breaking a sweat, has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. Studies throughout the years have found there is a link between increased physical activity and reducing the risk of cognitive decline. This can include a regular schedule of walking, running, swimming, or another form of exercise of your choice. Even a slow but steady exercise for extended periods, like gardening, has proven to be helpful. Maybe this is the ideal time to commit or recommit to your fitness goals.
You can also find a new passion or explore an old one.
A 2017 article in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience reported that older people who routinely partake in physical exercise can reverse the signs of aging in the brain, but that dancing had the most significant effect.
The results were reported as a result of a study which compared people whoparticipated in dancing and endurance training. The lead author of the study, Dr.Kathrin Rehfeld, concluded that dancing is a “powerful tool to set new challenges for body and mind, especially in older age.”[1]
2. GET HEARTY: Taking care of your heart should be a priority. The same risk factors that we know causes cardiovascular disease and stroke, namely obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, can also be risk factors for cognitive decline.Therefore, adjust your lifestyle in accordance for a healthy heart and you may be helping your brain at the same time.
3. FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Eating a diet lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit may help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. This is not as evidenced based as other areas, however, people who live in countries eating what is known as the Mediterranean diet, and many other people who have adopted it around the world, as well as another version known as the Mediterranean-DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), are said to experience a reduced risk of cognitive decline.
4. GET BOOK SMART: When the brain is actively engaged in learning it is not only merely keeping it more healthy and vibrant, it could reduce the risk of decline. There are many adult education classes suited to almost any area of interest. They are offered at local colleges, high schools, community centers, libraries or even online. This also helps staying socially engaged by connecting with others who have similar interests.
5. GET REST: As we get older, it is not always easy to get an uninterrupted night’s sleep. However, one should still try to get enough sleep so they feel rested. Lack of sufficient sleep can result in memory and thinking problems.
6. “DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY”: The words in the song convey an important message. There are studies that draw a direct connection between
depression and cognitive decline. It is important to be able to recognize if you are experiencing depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. If you are aware of having these issues, know you are not alone. Speak with your physician or seek treatment through other avenues. If a friend or family member recognizes that you are having these symptoms and opens up a discussion, it means the symptoms are significant. Appreciate the fact that they are concerned and are doing you a great favor!
7. GET FRIENDLY: The importance of staying connected with others cannot be overstated, whether it be family, old friends or making new ones. Finding activities in your community that you enjoy will help you stay socially engaged. A few examples: Always loved photography? Consider joining a photography club, Hiking or nature? There are many groups that offer nature programs. Walking? There are even mall walking groups, Singing? Join a choir, Teaching? Consider tutoring young people at an after-school program. Planting or flowers? Consider a local florist, botanical garden, greenhouse. Consider joining a book or cooking club or starting one of your own.
Volunteering is another way to remain engaged in your local community. it is also a way to give back while simultaneously achieving a sense of joy and gratification. A few examples of places to volunteer include:
· Libraries
. Political parties
· Hospitals; Nursing Homes
· Animal shelters
· Food banks
· Day care centers
· Places of worship: churches, temples, mosques
· Cultural groups
· Non-profits organizations
Consider seeking out an organization that is close to your heart. e.g., Diabetes Association, Cancer Agency, Alzheimer’s, AARP. Many websites list volunteer positions and provide training as needed. Opportunities to get involved are endless and many organizations offer info and sign-up forms online.
If one cannot get out as often as they would like or is possible, online activities is another a way to connect with others. This can reduce a feeling of isolation which can be tremendously beneficial. Connecting with family, friends, and online groups help to provide a sense of community. Social networking sites like Facebook help people stay active and engaged. online are other ways that seniors are keeping themselves active and engaged.
8. QUIT SMOKING: There is ample evidence that smoking increases a person’s risk of decline in physical well-being and cognitive function. The earlier one quits smoking the sooner the risk is reduced to the same level as a person who has not smoked.
9. PROTECT YOUR HEAD, LITERALLY: Brain injury can raise your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Protect yourself against falls, always wear your seat belt while driving and use a helmet if bicycle riding or participating in a contact sport.
10.BRAIN TEASERS: It’s important to keep your brain active. Learn new games or play your favorite ones: jeopardy, bridge, dominoes, backgammon, scrabble, chess, bridge. Work on puzzles: from crossword or jigsaw. Join clubs that highlight these activities. Learn to do something new in which you were always interested: a new language, playing an instrument. There are groups or clubs for many of these which would also keep you socially engaged.
10.BRAIN TEASERS: It’s important to keep your brain active. Learn new games or play your favorite ones: jeopardy, bridge, dominoes, backgammon, scrabble, chess, bridge. Work on puzzles: from crossword or jigsaw. Join clubs that highlight these activities. Learn to do something new in which you were always interested: a new language, playing an instrument. There are groups or clubs for many of these which would also keep you socially engaged.
If just beginning to consider these areas, it may be unrealistic to think of adopting all of these habits at once. Pursue those that feel the most likely to be accomplished from an interest, scheduling or availability point of view. Participating in these activities should be enjoyable and fun. If they are effortful and seem like work, it will defeat the purpose.
*Cognition – Cognition is a mental process which includes thinking, knowing, remembering, reasoning, judging and problem solving.
[1]“Dancing Can Reverse the Signs of Aging in the Brain”. Frontiers of Human Neuroscience August 25, 2017.https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-08-reverse-aging-brain.html

A Legacy of Love

Posted by Editor on
A Legacy of Love


It is that time of year again…the season that brings joy with the lighting of the tree, the anticipation of Santa, drinking hot chocolate by the fire and for my girls and I, pulling out the box of treasured Christmas ornaments that my mom made us over the years. She has been gone for 2 years now and as we carefully unwrap each ornament she lovingly made we reflect on the memory it brings. It has become one of our most favorite events as we decorate the tree each year. The delicately painted reindeer adorned in silly hats with all our names on it makes us think of the endless rounds of tickling she engaged in just to bring more laughter into our lives. The shells with glitter bring memories of the many walks we shared on the beach collecting shells. The glass balls filled with ribbon represent her style and grace. And, then there are the ones she made while undergoing endless rounds of chemo which remind us of her bravery and courage as she fought cancer with such strength and determination. My girls are 9, 7 and 6 and even at their young age, they understand what a legacy means and they have such fond memories of their grandmother who is now their guardian angel.

This yearly occurrence enables her memory to stay alive as if she were sitting across the table from us engaged in a conversation listening to our every word. As we take time away from our busy lives and come together engaged in a Christmas tradition we are able to reflect on the beautiful memories she created and the selfless love she gave us all. I know many of you are missing a loved one also this holiday season and I hope this story will inspire you to find a tradition in which you can reflect on a legacy of someone not forgotten in your own life. Celebrate the many blessings this person brought to your life and reflect on the good times you shared. He or she would not want you to be sad and cultivating a ritual in their honor will fill your heart with love. May this holiday season bring you all a deep sense of peace and joy.

Tune in every Monday at 7am PST to Intentional Living

Trending: Thought Leadership Matters

Posted by Editor on


Cheryl Esposito welcomes Denise Brosseau, author of Ready to Be a Thought Leader?  She is CEO of Thought Leadership Lab, and co-founder of Springboard, the startup launch pad that has facilitated over $6 billion in funding for women entrepreneurs.

Her clients include leaders from Apple, Genentech, and Morgan Stanley, as well as startup CEOs, partners in professional service firms, and nonprofit executives. Fifteen years ago Denise realized she was a thought leader when the media kept calling…and they still do.

Influence, Success, Impact, and Legacy. Thought leaders have it all. Have you ever wondered how they became the go-to person in their field? Denise Brosseau says it’s not about creating flashy PR campaigns. Thought leadership is not about being known, it is about being known for making a difference.

What do you want to be known for? Are you Ready to Be A Thought Leader? Join Cheryl Esposito and Denise Brosseau to begin the journey!

Tune in to Leading Conversations Friday 10/23 at 10am PST

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Follow by Email