Tag Archives

2 Articles

Lead with Empathy, Now and Always

Posted by rstapholz on
Lead with Empathy, Now and Always

Be the Reason to smile.jpg

Click to view this email in a browser



“Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back into the same box.”

~ Italian Proverb


cynthia- Halloween garden (1)In the past few years, global warming and climate change have enhanced the number of natural disasters. Since the tragedy of 9/11, 2001, Be the Star You Are!® has shipped books and other resources to shelters and organizations in the United States to support survivors offering hope and healing. In 2021, natural disasters were more violent and deadly causing thousands to flee their homes.

Because we care, we share.

Normally volunteers get together to sort, pack, box, load, and ship resources. Because of the pandemic and the necessity for social distancing, I decided to go it alone this year. Books are heavy.

After shipping over a dozen cases to various states, I was working to load another twenty boxes when something snapped in my back and I fell to my knees in acute pain. I was not able to stand or walk. After two days, crawling became my method to get from my bed to the bathroom. It’s been two weeks since the injury and I am finally more upright like a homo sapien.

I’ve always thought that I’m an empathic individual, but being so extremely debilitated provided another level for understanding the feelings of others. Leading with empathy means we need to walk in someone else’s boots, to see their perspective, and attempt to understand. Divisiveness, racism, misinformation, misogyny, religious differences, conspiracy theories, untruths, and political polarization are leading us down a rabbit-hole of separation. We are the United States of America, not the Divided States of America. The Miracle Moment® quote for today illustrates the power of equality. Whether we are prince or pauper, president or farm laborer, when life is over, we all return to dust.

My entreaty to everyone is to care for yourself and for one another. Be kind. Be inclusive. We never know what struggles another person is facing.

Lifting nearly 3/4 of a ton of books in a few hours alone was not the smart move on my part. I will be more careful in the future and give my back a break. The good news is that all the resources have now been delivered and hopefully will provide happy holidays for a few thousand individuals so that they can lead with empathy.

Thanks for your ongoing support!

Wishing you health and a happy haunted Halloween.


Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556




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


2021 Pear Festival-covid-masks downA big round of applause to the Be the Star You Are!® volunteers who worked at the Be the Star You Are!® booth at the Pear and Wine Festival. Although we didn’t garner many donations, we helped children craft and decorate masks to protect them during the pandemic, read them stories, and gave each child a brand new copy of the beautiful 10th anniversary book, The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob. Getting together for the first time since 2019 was a bonus! Everyone wore a mask and adhered to protocols. Thank you to all to visited and to our sponsors: The Lamorinda Weekly Newspaper (www.lamorindaweekly.com), Dr. Brian Sheaff Family Dentistry ( https://www.drsheaffdentistry.com) and MBJesse Painting (www.MBJessee.com) and to Brooks Olbrys author of the book (https://www.blueoceanbob.com).

thank you sponsors 2 mask making

Read about Be the Star You Are!®: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1517/Children-create-crafty-masks-during-annual-Pear–and–Wine-Festival.html

2021 Pear Festival-covid


AWESOMEby Karen Kitchel

Has anyone ever told you that you are awesome?  If so, how did it make you feel? Leaving little positive messages, either verbal or written, can turn someone’s day around. No need to wait for a major accomplishment.  Things like making a good cup of coffee can also be awesome.  All it takes is time to notice.

And YOU are awesome!

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


sharanyaphoto-headphonesSharanya Roy is a 7th grader in Gale Ranch Middle School. She loves to swim, play the piano, and make amusing jokes with her friends. Apart from planning her goofy schemes, Sharanya really enjoys writing. She finds that each sentence has a life of its own, and she loves the sound of the keyboard clacking, as well as the scrick of a pencil. In her radio show, Sharanya hopes to change how teens look at writing, as writing doesn’t JUST consist of essays for school, it is a lot more. In Sharanya’s segment, “The Scribble”, she wants to share new methods of writing, and how writing can be a part of every teen’s life. https://www.ExpressTyourselfTeenRadio.com

Listen to her recite an original poem that combines her love of writing with genetics.


Express Yourself orange 72x24 banner-1


Maggie DiGiovannipictureBy Maggie DiGiovanni

Few go from a ten-year-old writing her first story and basking in her mother’s praise to the realization of her life’s dream of writing for a newspaper. I am one of those few. How did it happen?

Writing every day, listening to real authors when they critiqued my work and learning to self-edit helped enormously. In the middle of this learning curve, I opted to enter a contest put out by Cynthia Brian and Be the Star You Are!® charity with a story aimed at young people. The multi-author book, Be the Star You Are for Teens, gave advice from building skills to keeping a good attitude. The chapters wrote in plain, but gentle language reaching out to the hearts and minds of young people.

My offering on Responsibility began with the dubious sentence, ‘Mama was a drug dealer.’ It drew the reader’s attention. An explanation followed that Mama’s drugs included her kids being drug to church, drug into her arms for hugs, drug to the shed if we misbehaved.

Winning that contest lifted my confidence so that when a friend asked my assistance in writing a blog for seniors, I agreed. The initial title of ‘Frugal Florida Seniors,’ drew few readers.  attention, we changed the title to ‘Sexy, Sassy Seniors.’  Readership increased and they stayed.

From there I moved on to offering stories to magazines and writing letters to the editors of newspapers. Magazines like the stories and my letters to the editor appear regularly.

The last step came when a library volunteer told me the Autauga Elmore Newspaper wanted a reporter for our hometown. The owner hired me. It has been a long trek, but without that contest, it might never have come to fruition. Thank you for the encouragement, Cynthia.

Currently Maggie DiGiovanni is an author, newspaper reporter, and blog manager.  Maggie penned the chapter, The Gift of Responsibility in Be the Star You Are!® for Teens. Previously, she was human resources director, purchasing manager and resort office manager. She is the proud mother of two. sexysassyseniors.com (Blog site)https://elmoreautauganews.com/

Be the Star You Are for TEENS 2


Cynthia Brian books bannerIn honor of our 20th anniversary since being on the first New York Times best seller list, first edition, autographed books are discounted in a special sale with proceeds benefitting Be the Star You Are!® You will also receive extra goodies and FREE music CD with your purchase when you buy from the website. Stock up now! http://starstylestore.net


The 2021 natural disasters continue to climb. Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tornados, and fires are more ferocious and deadly causing thousands to flee their homes. Global warming and climate change are causing extreme weather conditions that have never been seen before. Throughout 2020, Be the Star You Are!® concentrated disaster relief on helping individuals who were out of work survive during the pandemic. We now turn our assistance back to helping survivors of these major natural disasters happening throughout the United States. Be the Star You Are!® will be providing books and other materials to shelters and organizations in need. If you’d like to donate, please do so at our website, https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org. If your organization or shelter is in need of our resources to supply to survivors of a disaster, please email us at info@BetheStarYouAre.org.



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

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

2020 Amazon smile logo

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

Giving Assistant Icon 234x60

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

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

2020 IGIVE logo

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


BTSYA 3 book series

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


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.
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.
on air logo


 Have a safe and fun hallowed eve! Happy Halloween! Thanks for being part of our STAR family!

PumpkinsCarved-Halloween - 3 2


Contact Information: Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3, PO Box 376, Moraga, Ca. 94556

Fall is Now!

Posted by presspass on
Fall is Now!

orange ash skies.jpeg

” style=”display: inline-block; line-height: 1; vertical-align: bottom; padding: 0px; margin: 0px; text-indent: 0px; text-align: center;”>

Click to view this email in a browser



Lamorinda Weekly Logo 3

Publishers Andy and Wendy Scheck http://lamorindaweekly.com

Pear festival-face painting
Pear Festival 2011 - 1
Pear Festival morning crew 2014
Pear Festival with henna paintng (1)
Pear festival-face painting (1)
nature art
pear fewstival 2011 - 10 2
maria-bue ocean-fire boy






“Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”

Thomas Paine

MESSAGE FROM CYNTHIA BRIAN, Founder/Executive Director

Booth at Pear Festival with CIn normal times, today I would be celebrating the beginning of fall with our volunteers at our BTSYA booth at the Pear and Wine Festival where we would be providing fun activities for children, giving away books to increase literacy, and encouraging positivity. This gathering is a time to celebrate our “harvest” of serving the community, country, and world. Every year our booth has been sponsored by Andy and Wendy Scheck, publishers of the Lamorinda Weekly newspaper where I have been a columnist since 2008. Because of Covid-19, all in-person activities and events have been canceled so the Lamorinda Weekly decided to honor our autumn festivities by sponsoring this newsletter. We are grateful.

So much has occurred in the last month that it is mind-boggling. Deadly towering infernos, thirty days of red alerts and save-the-air days, falling ash, smoke-taint on red grapes, civil unrest, political nastiness, and all in the midst of the pandemic. I’ve been busy (and sadly) moving out of our office building where Be the Star You Are!® has been headquartered for the past twenty-one years.

As part of Operation Disaster Relief, we have donated over $3500 of brand new books and other goods to survivors of the California fires. We have also provided radio interviews and publicity to authors, actors, artists, and others who have had all of their personal engagements canceled due to the coronavirus. Our Star Teen Book Review volunteers have written hundreds of book reviewsto help children, teens, parents, teachers, and others discover the love of reading. We have welcomed several youth to be content providers, adding their unique voices to the public conversation. We’ve trained teens join our radio family as journalists and radio reporters.

I have never been a political person. Since the time I could vote, I have never voted a party line. As a history major, I read all the materials, vet the source, study the issues with care and caution, then vote for the people, programs, and policies that I believe will best serve the citizens of our nation. This election season is the volatile, derisive, and divisive. It seems we are on the verge of another civil war. I urge you to study the ballot carefully. Cast your vote for decency, respectability, and for the people who will empower our country, not divide it. The world is watching. Americans are waiting. Thomas Paine was astute in his words.

Be brave, be smart, be strong. Do your part. WEAR A MASK! VOTE!

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556




Cynthia Brian-mask-window 2

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


Spotlight.jpg 2

Author, John Layne will gallop into the 2021 season of StarStyle® Radio with Red River Reunion a classic Western Fiction novel set in 1877 Texas. It follows U.S. Marshal Luxton Danner and Texas Ranger Wes Payne on their mission to seek out and eliminate the vicious outlaw threat on the banks of the Red River. They risk everything to defend the settlers and uphold frontier law. Encountering tragic circumstances along the way, the duo band together with the settlers to survive, thrive and create a safe and prosperous future for all. Fans of Layne’s distinctive style will enjoy his rich characters and period details that bring the Old West back to life. www.johnlaynefiction.com.

john layne Red River Reunion Standing Cover 2


Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio is thrilled to welcome two new reporters to our roster, Maggie Campione and Nihal Gill.

Express Yourself orange 72x24 banner-1

Maggie Campione is a seventh grade student and passionate about theater, reading, public speaking and most importantly, helping others. Her segment is called “The American Connection.” where she will present stories about community connections and staying united during difficult times. Listen to her segment beginning on October 4, 2020.

maggie campion headshot nihal gill heashot 2

Nihal Gill, sophomore at Turlock High School loves to play golf and is on the THS varsity golf team.  His love for music is expressed through the piano and with his love for robotics he created a non-profit called “Project Spark” to reach out to young elementary students to teach them STEM/Robotics through hands-on kits, and coding.  He incorporates the four aspects of STEM into his once a month community classes. His segment is entitled Spark the Interest. He’ll introduce topics that are important for health and wellness for teens all over the world. Nihal will debut on October 28th.


by Karen Kitchel 

Catch a glimpse of leaves turning golden.

     Stroll down a less traveled path.

          Inhale the scent of a new season.

               Remember this amazing autumn day!

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

karen kitchel with millennial book karen's fall garden 2


Our content writer volunteers speak up and speak out by writing about what  is on the minds of the youth and adults of our country. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
A judge who will never be forgotten

By Sarah McClenaghan

On September 18, 2020, America lost one of the most rememberable judges’ in the Supreme Court to pancreatic cancer: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was an associate justice for many years and made a difference in our country. During her time in court, she was known to argue for gender equality, fight for women’s rights, contributed to civil rights, as well as the rights of workers and supported the separation of church and state.

Women would not be where they are without Ginsburg’s influence in Supreme Court, but she also made an impact on men. It is true she was a role model for women across the country, but men had the opportunity to learn from her leadership, her determination and her life. This shows that Ginsburg was a leader of all humanity, not just women, which has been to inspiration to many Americans.

Continue reading at http://www.btsya.com/resources.html

Thank you, Ginsburg.

Sarah McClenaghan is an inspiring content creator from Lancaster, PA who loves to explore, read and drink coffee. Sarah volunteers with Be the Star You Are!®

Sarah McClenaghan

The Mysteries of Online Learning  

by Angelica Paramoshin 

Upon the unanticipated arrival of the raging coronavirus, our society was flung into a seemingly never ending quarantine lifestyle. With this followed the forced embracement of remote learning for the many months that followed.

As a current student in high school, I was initially overwhelmed by the sudden alteration from in-person learning to fully remote. Within a few days of the unprecedented change, my mind was flooded with thoughts surrounding the questionable reality we were all living in. It was very difficult to adjust to the confined daily routine that embodied quarantine. With time however, I was luckily able to acclimate to the given circumstances and began improving in my productivity levels.

By improving my ability to complete my assignments in a timely manner, I allowed myself to not continue my interests in volunteering, but to explore new hobbies that would greaten my appreciation for the little things in life.

Continue reading at http://www.btsya.com/resources.html

Angelica Paramoshin, a content creator volunteer with Be the Star You Are!® charity, is a rising senior in high school devoting time during this pandemic to volunteering. 

Angelica Paramoshin 2


As part of our Be the Star You Are! Disaster Relief Outreach program (https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-operation-hurricane-disaste), StarStyle® Productions, LLC and Be the Star You Are!® are showcasing authors, artists, actors, poets, musicians, and many others, all of whom had had their gigs canceled and are out of work. We believe in supporting creativity that provides escape and joy, especially during tough times. Tune in to StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® on Wednesdays at 4pm PT for “Wednesdays with Writers and Performers” LIVE http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2206/be-the-star-you-are as well as our teen program, Express Yourself!™ airing on Sundays at 3pm PT for “Super Smart Sundays” https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2014/express-yourself

2016 Promo Banner bothshows-no pics

Both programs broadcast on the Voice America Network, Empowerment Channel and will be archived on that site.


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

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


GREAT NON PROFITS REVIEWS: https://greatnonprofits.org/org/be-the-star-you-are-inc

GUIDESTAR/CANDID: https://www.guidestar.org/profile/94-3333882

2020 Platinun Guidestar logo

We invite you to volunteer, get involved, or make a donation. Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504


t-shirt_btsya_outlinesBTSYA receives no government or corporate support. We count on YOU to help us help others. During this pandemic, all of our fundraising events have been canceled, yet we continue to support those in need. We appreciate a direct donation most of all via PAYPAL GIVING FUND at https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

Checks can be sent to PO Box 376, Moraga, California 94556




Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3
PO Box 376
Moraga, California 94556

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Follow by Email