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School is in Session—Maybe??

Posted by Felix Assivo on
School is in Session—Maybe??

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“Life is the only school where the exam comes before the lesson.” Source Unknown



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

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

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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

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


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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

TSHIRT_design-2.jpg 2On 9/9, Be the Star You Are!® literacy, arts and culture non-profit celebrates 22 years of operating as a 501 c3 charity serving women, families, and youth. For 22 years, BTSYA has served as an all volunteer organization with no paid staff. These are accomplishments thus far:

Served 420,920 individuals and families

Donated to 112 organizations

Logged 559,890 volunteer hours and growing

Distributed $2 million plus in resources

Broadcast 2200 unique hours of positive programming through radio broadcasts.

Published 4 signature award-winning books, Be the Star You Are!® 99 Gifts, Be the Star You Are!® for Teens, Be the Star You Are!® Millennials to Boomers, and Miracle Moments®,

Written and published over 2430 book reviews in collaboration with The Reading Tub and Express Yourself!™ Creative Community.

Interviewed over 2500 authors, experts, and celebrities.

Honored with five-star ratings as a Top Rated Non-Profit by GuideStar and Great Non Profits for the Women’s Empowerment, Arts and Culture, and the Arts Appreciation Campaigns since 2010.

Be the Star You Are!® encourages and supports its volunteers to GROW people.


Let’s get back to school safely and permanently. Our best tools are getting vaccinated and wearing masks. Love and protect our children.



cynthia brian-green maskIn my school days, I always anticipated getting back into the classroom in September to meet my new teachers, see friends, make new friends, and learn new subjects. But for students today, Covid-19 has rendered havoc and fear mixed with those strong emotions of wanting life to be back to normal.

Despite hopes that we were emerging from the pandemic, it is clear that it’s not over yet. The Delta variant is ramping up as schools and universities scramble to create a safe environment for administrators, teachers, staff, volunteers, and most importantly, the students.

In our school district, all staff, teachers, and volunteers are required to be vaccinated. Most students ages 12 and over are vaccinated. With few exceptions, everyone on campus will be required to wear masks when indoors. Those with medical conditions who can’t don a a mask, will wear face shields with draping. Anyone exposed to a Covid-19 infected individuals must quarantine. There are numerous other requirements for home health checks, sanitation, hygiene, daily classroom cleaning, testing, ventilation, air quality, and contract tracing. Transparency without violating student privacy will be key to success in this very complex and challenging environment. With the enforced rules and guidelines, in the two weeks that school has been in-person learning, no cases of Covid have transpired.

Sadly, this is not the case around the United States. I’ve spoken with several volunteers in states where politicians who are against wearing masks are fighting with the school boards and administrators that believe masks will protect the children. One person explained that within two days of opening, her child’s school had to quarantine because 35 kids under the age of 10 contracted Covid. Another told me that both of her children are suffering with Covid after just 5 days at school. Not only did the school have to close, but parents who can’t work remotely, have to miss work to care for their children.

The world is in the midst of a major health crisis. Politicians who are fighting against masks and the vaccine are putting their constituents in deathly danger. All of us must strive to get our priorities straight. The virus is our enemy. It is not one another, nor should vaccinations and masking be a political issue.

For those of us 12 years of age and older, we have a source to remain healthy through a simple vaccine. Pfizer has now been officially approved by the FDA with Moderna and Johnson and Johnson to follow soon. I applaud the many private sector employers that are already mandating vaccines for employees and hope that many more will follow.

We need to keep our children safe and the only way we can do that is to vaccinate everyone who is eligible. The Delta variant is many times more contagious and deadly than the original virus and if we continue to allow this virus to replicate, it will continue to mutate. The outcome could be drastically worse than what we are experiencing now.

Our children want and need to go to school. They deserve not only an education but the socialization that a healthy school environment entails. If you love your kids, get vaccinated and encourage those around you to do the same.

Don’t listen to the politicians, social media, or even other people, including me.  Instead, listen to the experts and talk to your personal physician about the course you need to take to keep yourself and your loved ones virus-free.

This virus is a test. Will we pass the exam?

Let’s get our economy back on track. Let’s get the kids safely in school. We each hold the key to success and we are in this together. Protect one another.

Get vaccinated. Wear a mask. It is the right thing to do.

Stay safe, stay strong, be healthy.

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556




Covid-19 Vaccine

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


Pear Festival flyerThe Pear and Wine Festival is scheduled for Saturday, September 25th from 11 am-4pm with free family fun at Moraga Commons Park in Moraga. The town is keeping tabs on the Delta variant and will cancel if necessary. Be the Star You Are!® is participating with a booth. hosts and reporters of our radio broadcast, Express Yourself! will be in person to greet visitors. Instead of doing our normal face painting, BTSYA volunteers will be providing a table with masks to be decorated. We will also have a Kids Korner with a reading circle. Many thanks to our sponsors The Lamorinda Weekly Newspaper (www.lamorindaweekly.com) and MBJesse Painting (www.MBJessee.com). Also appreciation to author Brooks Olbrys who has donated two cases of books in English and Spanish of his 10 year anniversary special of Blue Ocean Bob. (https://www.blueoceanbob.com) Children who attend will be given a beautiful new book.

The festival will feature food, wine, art, children’s activities, a petting zoo, and fun for everyone. Admission is FREE. More information at https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-events


Drew EbnerHi! I am Drew Ebner, an incoming junior at Acalanes High School. I am a bubbly person with a great work ethic who is always willing to help! Literature has been a passion of mine for some time now and I am so excited to help out with Be the Star You Are! Volunteers will work in two shifts, from 9:00am-Noon and Noon-3:00pm. It’s going to be a great day of getting to meet one another.

If you want to sponsor or volunteer, email info@BetheStarYouAre.org

Thank you, Drew Ebner


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.
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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.
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Radio Producer/Host, Cynthia Brian Wins Garden Communications Silver Award

Posted by presspass on
Radio Producer/Host, Cynthia Brian Wins Garden Communications Silver Award

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 Cynthia Brian Receives Silver Medal of Achievement

In the National

2020 GardenComm Media Awards


July 8, 2020 – Cynthia Brian received the 2020 Media Awards Silver Medal of Achievement for Journalism Newspaper Article, presented by GardenComm: Garden Communicators International.


This national award recognizes individuals and companies who achieve the highest levels of talent and professionalism in garden communications. The 2020 competition had more than 160 entries in the category. Recipients of the Silver Medal represent the top winners who will now compete for best of group in the areas of writing, photography, digital media, broadcast media, publishing and trade.


Cynthia Brian received the Silver Medal of Achievement for her Digging Deep with Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian article in the Lamorinda Weekly Newspaper entitled Scary, scary night. “The GardenComm Media Awards showcase the writers, photographers, editors, publishers and trade companies that have pursued excellence in gardening communication,” says Becky Heath, past president of GardenComm.  “The Media Award winners have been judged by industry experts and show significant distinction and merits that exemplify exceptional work.”


Cynthia Brian, known as The Goddess Gardener, has been a columnist for the Lamorinda Weekly Newspaper since 2008 where she writes Digging Deep for the Home section. Besides being a gardening expert, Cynthia is an actor and a New York Times best-selling author of eight books, a producer and host of StarStyle® radio, a lifestyle and media coach, and the Founder and Executive Director of the literacy and positive message charity, Be the Star You Are!®. Her two gardening books include Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul and Growing with the Goddess Gardener. Cynthia grew up on a farm where she drove tractor, raised chickens, and worked in the fields to fund her university education. No matter where she travels, she seeks out gardens and country life. “I’m exceedingly honored with this national prestigious award. The California fires have been devastatingly destructive and horrific. To have personally experienced a middle-of-the-night evacuation with fires flaring at my property line, gave me the additional incentive to share my experience and expertise to help others survive future disasters by reducing the threat of fires through appropriate landscape choices,” Cynthia recounted. Find out more about Cynthia Brian at https://www.CynthiaBrian.com.


The GardenComm Media Awards program recognizes outstanding writing, photography, graphic design, books, newspaper stories, magazine articles, TV, radio, and works focused on gardening.


About GardenComm

GardenComm, formerly GWA: the Association for Garden Communicators, is an organization of professional communicators in the green industry including book authors, bloggers, staff editors, syndicated columnists, free-lance writers, photographers, speakers, landscape designers, television and radio personalities, consultants, publishers, extension service agents and more. www.gardencomm.org.

Read Scary,scary night at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1318/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Scary-scary-night.html and at https://blog.voiceamerica.com/2019/11/15/starry-scary-night/



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60 Seconds to Safety

Posted by presspass on
60 Seconds to Safety

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When it’s 2:15 in the morning, the power is out, the air smells of smoke, yet you are fast asleep, then you realize that firefighters are pounding on your door shouting, “Evacuate Now”, what do you do? 

I thought I was very prepared for an emergency with packed Go Bags in our vehicles and one in our hall closet that had a list in large letters of what to grab.  But when my husband and I were given exactly ONE MINUTE to get out because the fire was only 100 feet from our house, there was no time to gather items. In the dark, with a flashlight leading the way, there was just enough time to throw on clothes, grab my computer, purse, phone, keys, and Go Bag. Outside the front door, I put on my garden clogs and off we went as two trucks of firefighters battled the blaze from our driveway. 

Here are the cliff notes of what I learned that frenzied and frightful morning that could have improved our one-minute evacuation.

  1. 1.Put keys, wallet, handbag, phone, glasses, and other essentials in the same place every time. My husband left without his wallet and glasses.
  2. 2.Everything on your list should be stored near your Go Bag. On my list, I had written: computer, back-up discs, passports, insurance papers, family DVD’s, and my first-edition books that I wrote.  There was time to only get my computer.
  3. 3.Have duplicate keys to homes, offices, or other keys you may need in your Go Bag. We were allowed to only evacuate with one car. My car had everything we needed in it, but we were directed to take my husband’s car that had nothing.
  4. 4.Keep a pair of shoes near the front door. Check!
  5. 5.A headlamp is the best flashlight option when you are searching in the dark,  attempting to find things. Two hands are better than one when you can take only what you can carry.
  6. 6.Bring a warm coat, blankets, socks, and maybe your pillow. It was cold and the two thin blankets in my emergency bag were not sufficient. I wish I had stuffed my pillow in my bag.

Today I’ve amended my emergency Go Bag. This may be the new normal.

The firefighters were calm, professional, and truly heroic in saving lives and homes. Our sincerest gratitude to all these brave men from many fire districts who orchestrated a successful save. Bravo!

All is well that ends well.

Read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1317/One-Minute-to-Evacuate-a-personal-perspective-from-the-Oct-10-fire.html

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by Cynthia Brian


In the midst of the many disasters that seem to be continuous, I encourage clients to put together an emergency “Go Bag”. Whatever the calamity, it will behoove you to have an emergency supply kit in every vehicle and a larger one in your home. Make sure you know where all of your important documents are located. Make copies and put everything you need either in your Go Bag or next to your Go Bag. Know how to manually open automatic garage doors and gates. Sometimes, as is the case with our California wildfires or earthquakes, a matter of minutes is the difference between life and death.

Make copies of your passport, driver’s license, credit cards, and have some small bills available. Pack duplicate chargers for phones, tablets, and computers. Back up your computers and keep files in the cloud or off-site. Make a plan for your pets and animals and have a bag ready for them as well. Know your neighbors and their contact numbers to keep in touch to make sure everyone is safe. Have a list of a network of friends that you can call in an emergency. Know where you can go in evacuations.

Most of all, remember that saving your life and that of your family is the most important. Everything else can be replaced.

Fill a backpack or small case with the following and keep one of these in ALL of your vehicles and one in your home:
First Aid kit

Work gloves

Warm gloves


Small towel

Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day)


Walking shoes


Warm jacket

Peanut butter


Protein bars

Personal hygiene kit with a toothbrush, soap, medications



Flashlight and headlamp with extra batteries

Eating utensils

Breathing masks (Niosh-N95)

Clothing change

Extra set of keys to home, office, etc.


Toilet Paper

Bottles of Wine (optional)


I hope that we never have to use these emergency kits, but it’s best to be prepared.

Cynthia Brian is the columnist for Digging Deep with the Goddess Gardener. www.CynthiaBrian.com

Cynthia Brian

Starstyle® Productions, LLC

PO Box 422  *  Moraga, Ca. 94556

925-377-7827   *     www.CynthiaBrian.com   *   Cynthia@Star-Style.com 

Read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1317/One-Minute-to-Evacuate-a-personal-perspective-from-the-Oct-10-fire.html

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