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Shoe Drive to Help Others

Posted by Kids First on
Shoe Drive to Help Others

BTSYA micro-enterprise 4 pics copy.jpegShare your love with shoes

By Cynthia Brian

Many people are unaware that 85% of consumer textiles end up in landfills, a practice that is extremely harmful to the environment. For the past 24 years, the nonprofit Be the Star You Are has been increasing literacy and saving trees by collecting thousands of new and used books and donating them to disaster relief efforts around the country. With the Russian war against Ukraine and the unprecedented natural disasters around the world, millions of people are currently experiencing difficult living conditions, and, although books are always an enlightening resource, this year Be the Star You Are pivoted to share the love and assist with a basic need: shoes.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 70% of the global population needs shoes. In collaboration with Moraga’s 5 A Rent-a-Space and Mark Hoogs State Farm Insurance, Be the Star You Are volunteers are launching a shoe drive to collect and ship shoes to several countries including Haiti, Pakistan, Ghana, Ukraine, and more to help lift women and

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families out of extreme poverty by providing a means for them to create a micro-business. These micro- entrepreneurs will be able to sell footwear at an inexpensive price from their home, a street stall, or even a tent to enhance their income and support their families.

“We are excited to launch this new micro-enterprise project. Everyone has a few pairs of wearable shoes that no longer serve us. What a wonderful opportunity to give them to those who need them and will repurpose them to benefit themselves and their communities,” says Executive Director Cynthia Brian. All clean, new, or gently used shoes of all sizes, boots, and work boots are wanted. No ski or snowboard boots, rollerblades, or ice skates can be accepted. “If possible, please keep pairs together by tying laces or putting a rubber band around the shoes,” Brian adds.

Be the Star You Are teen chairperson, Ella Kalpakjian is spearheading the shoe collection at Campolindo High School. Shoes may be dropped in the designated Campo bin beginning on April 17. If you will be attending the April 29 Moraga Community Faire, shoes may be delivered to the Be the Star You Are booth.

Drop shoes at these two locations (May 1- June 30): Mark Hoogs State Farm Insurance (629 Moraga Road, Moraga) (925) 254-3344, www.TeamHoogs.com; and 5 A Rent-A-Space (455 Moraga Rd. #F, Moraga) 925- 631-7000, https://5aspace.com/

If your business would like to host a drop-off box, email info@BetheStarYouAre.org For more information, visit www.bethestaryouare.org/shoedrive


Movie Review: Catherine Called Birdy * Tackles Gender Norms In The Middle Ages With Tact And Humor, Making It A Great Introduction To Medieval Comedy

Posted by Kids First on
Movie Review: Catherine Called Birdy * Tackles Gender Norms In The Middle Ages With Tact And Humor, Making It A Great Introduction To Medieval Comedy

A 14 year old girl in medieval England navigates through life and avoiding potential suitors her father has in mind.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “Lena Dunham’s newest film Catherine Called Birdy tackles gender norms in the Middle Ages with tact and humor…” Heather S. adds, “Catherine Called Birdy is absolutely hilarious! The film is light hearted and funny, with a star-studded cast.”Tiana S. contributes, “Set in England’s medieval era, this movie takes you through a year in the life of teenager who has to use her wits to get out of tough and almost impossible situations.” Selene W. wraps it up with, “Boredom is for the dull-witted”– and the heroine in Catherine Called Birdy is anything but dull-witted! Catherine Called Birdy is relatable to modern audiences and kept me guessing while entertained.” See their full reviews below.

Catherine Called Birdy By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16


Lena Dunham’s newest film Catherine Called Birdy tackles gender norms in the Middle Ages with tact and humor, making it a great introduction to medieval comedy for those of appropriate age to handle the gore and thematic elements.

Catherine Called Birdy, as you might expect, follows the 14-year-old Lady Catherine (Bella Ramsey), whose nickname is Birdy. She’s a tomboy to the nth degree, playing with her best friend, a goatherd, rolling in mud and dirt and scorning all that the Middle Ages would deem “ladylike” comportment. Her father, Lord Rollo (Andrew Scott), is deeply financially destitute and utterly greedy, so he aims to use his daughter as his path out of financial ruin by marrying her off to a wealthy man for money and land. What ensues is comedy gold, but also empowering, as Lady Catherine fights back against the repressive expectations for women of the time.


Lena Dunham’s direction and Bella Ramsey’s performance really add to this film. Dunham crafts every scene to be perfectly shot and cut, and the young Ramsey shows her talent as Lady Catherine, standing up to injustice and sexism with superb dialogue delivery and emoting throughout the film. I also love how the writers have crafted Lord Rollo’s role; besides fueling the main conflict of Catherine Called Birdy, his character flaws make him perhaps the most complex character of the whole film. Andrew Scott works magic as Lord Rollo, especially in the final scenes of the film where the message is hammered in.

Catherine Called Birdy promotes standing up to rules you feel are unjust. There are some violent (but not graphic) and disturbing scenes, including a difficult childbirth.

I give Catherine Called Birdy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. Catherine Called Birdy releases globally on Prime Video October 7, 2022.

Catherine Called Birdy By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16


Catherine Called Birdy is absolutely hilarious! The film is light hearted and funny, with a star-studded cast. There is not a dull moment in this medieval comedy.

Catherine Called Birdy follows Catherine (Bella Ramsey), a 14-year-old Lady in medieval England. Catherine navigates life, dodges her father’s suitors, and tries to find her place in the world as a woman. The film is based on the book of the same name.

This film is as hilarious as it is sweet. Catherine and her family are witty and messy. Catherine is a strong young girl, ready to make the best out of her situation. She loves her family and her friends, which makes audiences love her. Meanwhile, her father, Lord Rollo (Andrew Scott), is the funniest man in England. He’s funny and crude, his comedic timing is on point. Each character has their own kind of humor, which adds to their dynamic.


The best scenes are when the entire family is together and each one tries to lie through their teeth and diffuse the problems that Catherine has created. The costumes and wardrobe are another factor that makes this film a success. Each dress and accessory is elaborate and glamorous, effortlessly beautiful. Every Lord and Lady, members of nobility, has robes and layered dresses, showing their status as the elite rich. The wedding outfits are exquisite. The soundtrack is extremely creative. Modern songs are included with genres ranging from pop to rock. These tunes aren’t overused and fit perfectly into the story and add more emotion.

The moral of the film is to make the best of every situation. Catherine watches the man she loves marry another woman; she fights with her best friend; her mother has several stillbirths – yet she still has a positive outlook on life. She’s determined to have ownership on her life and never conform to the roles laid out for her.

I give Catherine Called Birdy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. Catherine Called Birdy releases globally on Prime Video October 7, 2022.

Catherine Called Birdy By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12


When you’re just 13 years old and forced to grow up, life can be hard, but you have to make it through. Set in England’s medieval era, this movie takes you through a year in the life of teenager who has to use her wits to get out of tough and almost impossible situations.

Catherine Called Birdy follows Catherine, aka Birdy (Bella Ramsey), who is being forced to marry a rich man, because her family doesn’t have money. Birdy doesn’t want to leave her home, get married or have to act like a lady. While dealing with puberty, betrayal and wanting to live the way she wants, Birdy has to find a way to change her father’s mind before it’s too late.

The main character is, of course, Birdy. I love the relationship Birdy has with her family, as well as her community. She’s young and just wants to have fun, not fall in love, be formal, or have children yet. I love how she uses her voice throughout the film. My favorite part of the film is seeing the relationship Birdy has with her town and, even when she is playing in mud fights, or casually having fun with her friends. This film is based on the novel of the same name by Karen Cushman. It’s a great adaptation of the novel and the costumes and setting really fit the era in which it is set. The storytelling method used for this film is creative, in that they feel like journal entries. While I agree it isn’t the best for young viewers, it still has a good message behind it and will offer more mature audiences certain life lessons.

This film really drives home how you have to fight for what you want in life, and that it’s okay for children to take their time growing up. Catherine just wants to have fun and live, not worry about making decisions that adults have to make, such as getting married and having children. She stands up for herself and doesn’t give up, until her voice is heard. Parents need to be aware that it covers topics such as sexuality and abuse, plus has scenes addressing puberty, other adult behaviors and drinking.

I give Catherine Called Birdy 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Catherine Called Birdy releases globally on Prime Video October 7, 2022.

Catherine Called Birdy By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

“Boredom is for the dull-witted”– and the heroine in Catherine Called Birdy is anything but dull-witted! This timeless coming-of-age story which takes place in 13th Century England is witty and engaging. Catherine Called Birdy is relatable to modern audiences and kept me guessing while entertained.

Lady Catherine (Bella Ramsey), known around the manor as Birdy, is a clever and stubborn 14-year-old girl who valiantly fights against medieval traditions for her independence. Her father, Lord Rollo of Stonebridge (Andrew Scott) seeks to find a foolish young man who will trade his fortune for a title by marrying off his only daughter. Fortunately, Birdy is not foolish and her rebellion proves to be entertaining as we see that her truest passion lies in avoiding chores, causing mischief at home and in her village, as well as routing her various suitors on her own personal crusade.

The incredibly clever screenplay, written by Lena Denham, is based on the book of the same name by Karen Cushman. Bella Ramsey, as Birdy, has wonderful comedic timing and utilizes the witty dialogue to capture the audience, while confusing her various suitors. I enjoyed watching Birdy’s cleverness and frustration in overcoming social norms and assumptions from that time. All teenagers can relate to parent’s expectations and interference while struggling against them. Lena Denham also directs the film and you can tell that it is certainly a labor of love. The scenes in the countryside and manor are quite beautiful and the cinematography, under the guidance of Laurie Rose, truly adds to the story and film. The set decorator Stella Fox, along with costume designer Julian Day, complete the audience’s immersion into the manor and village of Stonebridge.

The message of this film is that you should not be burdened by the expectations of others – even if they come from those you love or feel an obligation to. Under pressure, Birdy doesn’t fly the coop, but instead she stays and fights for her future and her independence.

I rate Catherine Called Birdy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The film opens in select theaters September 23, 2022 and on Prime Video October 7, 2022. Don’t miss this relatable and enchanting tale.


Why The Moissanite Is The Perfect Engagement Ring For Women

Posted by rstapholz on
Why The Moissanite Is The Perfect Engagement Ring For Women

The moissanite ring is one of the most beautiful and rarest of all diamond forms. The gemstone is a near-perfect carbon gemstone that has its color produced from the radioactive decay of uranium into iron.

The rareness of this stone is attributed to the fact that it was originally mined in a remote area, in the inclusion of several other diamonds which were much easier to find.

Find out more about moissanite here: www.moissaniteco.com/what-is-moissanite. The good thing about a moissanite ring, unlike most lab-created diamond engagement rings, is that it is completely 100% natural.

When the stone is finished at the mines it is cut into blocks and then sent to be polished and sealed by the local skilled workers. Once the stone has been fully optimized it is ready to be shipped to the factory that makes all of the world’s beautiful jewelry.

One of the reasons that people prefer a lab-created diamond over a moissanite ring is because of the durability of the gemstones. Diamonds, like moissanite rings, are very durable and because they contain fewer flaws than most gemstones, they can last longer.

However, many diamond engagement rings have already been set and have several flaws which often devalue them for the buyer. In addition, some lab-created gemstones may contain visible impurities which can also devalue the stone as well. Lab-created gemstones are not as durable as diamonds.

A moissanite stone’s carat weight is also one of the deciding factors when choosing between a lab-created gemstone and a diamond ring. The smaller the carat weight, the more durable the stone.

However, larger stones will cost more to make, so it is up to the buyer to weigh the pros and cons of each stone type before making their decision. If the diamond is the deciding factor then the cost of the stone should be a determining factor as well.

Another advantage of a lab-created moissanite gemstone is that due to their lack of natural light, the diamonds in these rings have no rainbow effect on their appearance. Because diamonds sparkle when light hits them, diamonds can appear more colorful in the eyes of anyone who sees them. This is not the case with moissanite stones, which do not appear to react to sunlight at all.

The best way to determine if a diamond or moissanite ring is right for you is to shop around and compare many rings. Like diamonds, each gemstone comes in many different styles, colors, and prices. The cost of the ring can also vary greatly depending on the type of stone used. For example, moissanite rings can be found as inexpensive as a few dollars.

Since the price of diamonds is significantly less than the price of moissanite gems, it makes sense to invest in one if you can afford it. Even though both are durable enough to last a lifetime, they are much more affordable. A lab-created gemstone ring will remain pristine and flawless for many years, and it is also much less likely to have any kind of defect or damage over time. An investment in a lab-created gemstone is a smart decision.

One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing diamonds is to look closely at the flaws that can hide imperfections on diamonds. Unlike moissanite rings, there are many flaws that can make diamonds look similar to moissanite rings. Because they are nearly indistinguishable from one another, they can actually be a deciding factor as to which engagement ring is actually purchased. Many people worry that a diamond ring may not have the quality and sparkle of a moissanite ring. However, there are several steps that can be taken to ensure that an engagement ring contains a synthetic gemstone, such as moissanite.

Happy 21st Anniversary to Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 charity

Posted by presspass on
Happy 21st Anniversary to Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 charity

BTSYA NEW LOGO FINAL (2)-600x600.pngSee more: http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/672296/697dec5ebe/288055965/bbd34d3431/

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“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

Oprah Winfrey

MESSAGE FROM CYNTHIA BRIAN, Founder/Executive Director

Cyn in the garden sunHappy Anniversary to Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3


Be the Star You Are!® has served our cities, counties, country, and world for TWENTY ONE years! On September 9, we reach this milestone and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been a part of our STAR team throughout our journey. It has been a struggle to stay alive and vibrant, but somehow with determination, vigilance, and a spirit to survive, Be the Star You Are!® proudly celebrates 21 years of dedicated service with a 100% volunteer workforce.

We are so grateful to our supporters who make tax-deductible donations to our charity to support our outreach programs. BTSYA has all the expenses of any business: rent, utilities, supplies, postage, internet, furniture, internet services, insurance, storage, etc. and couldn’t continue without the ongoing donations of individuals like you. When I stop to think of all that has been accomplished in the past 21 years, I am really amazed and also humbled.

We have persevered.

We have made a difference.

We remain a grassroots organization.

We celebrate diversity, inclusivity, and innovation.

We are striving for excellence.

We deliver positivity, hope, and healing.

Over the years, I have managed thousands of volunteers. Some volunteered for a single event, some come, go, and return, some have continued for years. I salute you one and all and say THANK YOU for gracing BTSYA with your individuality, skills, expertise, and humor.

With no paid staff and all volunteers, since receiving our 501c3 status in 1999, Be the Star You Are! has:


Served 420,820 individuals and families


Donated to 110 organizations


Logged 500,890 volunteer hours & growing


Distributed $2 million 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 2000 book reviews in collaboration with The Reading Tub and Express Yourself!™ Creative Community.


Interviewed over 2500 authors, experts, and celebrities.

Honored by the California Assembly for 20 years of community service. 

Nominated for the California Governor’s and First Lady’s Service Awards


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.

And we are just getting started.

Stay tuned for more as Be the Star You Are!® continues to soar.

Learn more about our programs at https://www.bethestaryouare.org/programs


Have a safe and healthy Labor Day weekend. Wear your masks, keep your distance, and respect others.

Living with gratitude and celebrating living,

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556





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


YAAY.gifThe Moraga Chamber of Commerce recently gave a Community Cup Grant to Be the Star You Are!® to help during this challenging Covid-19 crisis. We are so appreciative because all our events have been canceled and funds are necessary to continue inspiration, motivation, communication, and education. Gracias, Gracias, Gracias!

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“If you think you are beaten, you are.

If you think you dare not, you don’t.

If you’d like to win, but think you can’t

It’s almost a cinch, you won’t.

Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster woman or man.

Sooner or later the person who wins

Is the one who thinks she can.”


Fire Coming over the hillsIn the last few weeks, we’ve experienced unprecedented weather conditions with temperatures in the three digits, ferocious winds, low humidity, thunderstorms, and lightning strikes resulting in more perilous and damaging wildfires. Frightening fire tornadoes, also called fire whirls or firenadoes”, blazed over thousands of acres in Northern California. Dry conditions will only worsen in the forthcoming months. Air quality is precariously unhealthy with dangerous concentrations of tiny PM 2.5 particles that penetrate deep into the lungs.

Natural disasters know no boundaries. One never knows if a fire, earthquake, flood, mudslide, or other calamity is on the horizon. It’s imperative to be prepared for all emergencies. Because of climate change and global warming, we can be assured that our future will include more widespread, frequent, devastating, and deadly natural disasters.

Be Prepared! Read more and Make a “Go Bag”:  https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1414/Are-you-ready-to-evacuate.html 



Since we need to stay at home and only go out when absolutely necessary, these are on-line shopping portals that will sell you what you need, offer discounts, and assist our mission as a nonprofit. 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, then donate a percentage to BTSYA:https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc

& buy from your favorite stores.

4. Search and GoodShop: Choose Be the Star You Are as your charity to support. You can log in with Facebook, too! https://www.goodshop.com/nonprofit/be-the-star-you-are

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

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6. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” black tanks $19.99  and books at StarStyle® Store: http://www.starstylestore.net/


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7. 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


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

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

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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



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

Posted by presspass on
We MADE it!

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Miracle Moment®

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,

When the funds are low, and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to cry,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.


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MESSAGE FROM CYNTHIA BRIAN, Founder/Executive Director

WE MADE IT!!! Twenty years of serving our communities and country through numerous life-changing outreach programs with 100% volunteer positions and no paid staff! What an accomplishment for everyone involved. On September 9th, 2019, Be the Star You Are!® is 20 years old. Yes, it has been a labor of love for me to trudge forward despite our numerous setbacks. There was a time when BTSYA had only 43 cents in the bank and I knew I would have to close the doors within a week because we just didn’t have the funds available to proceed further. Sadness filled my soul.

Then a miracle happened. Actually…THREE miracles in the same day. 

  1. #1 I opened the mail from my 18-year-old daughter who had just started her first year of college and was also working to pay her expenses. Out fell a check for $100 with a note that read, “Mom, this to help Be the Star You Are!® continue its great work. I know I’ll always have you, but if you quit, the other kids won’t have you. You CAN’T quit.”
  2. #2 The phone rang and a restaurant offered to give a percentage of their proceeds for a full day to Be the Star You Are!® 
  3. #3 A big envelope arrived from the kids at juvenile halls that we had been providing free books and reading circles to for several years. In the envelope were numerous hand-written thank you notes from these incarcerated youth. The hand-crafted cards were colorful and happy with mostly misspelled words and messages saying “thank you, gracias, or love you for caring”. One note read “Not only was this my very first book, but it was the first gift I’ve ever received.” But the note that tugged at our heartstrings the most said the following: “Thank you for saving my life. Without Be the Star You Are!®, I would have committed suicide.”

With those three “coincidences” occurring on my darkest day, I went outside at night to look to the heavens. “If I’m supposed to keep up this mission of empowering women, families, and youth, I need to see a sign. Please send me a shooting star.”  Yes, I was praying for a signal. And miracle #4 transpired. A bright star shot across the dark sky going from the far left to the far right so that there was not a chance I would miss it. 

It hasn’t been easy leading a non-profit but we are still here and we are always making a difference. I am honored to work with women, families, and teens. Their successes in life give me great joy.

I want to thank every person and business who has crossed paths with our outreach through two decades: volunteers, sponsors, beneficiaries, and donors. Be the Star You Are!® has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals across the globe. We donated over $2 million in resources with a 100% volunteer workforce. Read about our amazing accomplishments at http://www.bethestaryouare.org/positive-results . Special thanks to Lamorinda Weekly, Mechanics Bank, and Moraga Hardware and Lumber for recent donations and to Justine Christoff for creating our new logos.

BTSYA still struggles to get funding and we hope you will be generous and make a tax-deductible donation to help us celebrate our 20th birthday. You can donate through PAYPAL GIVING FUND with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

We are not throwing a party or a gala, even though we wanted to, as we will use every donated penny to help others live and thrive.

No, I never quit. And I hope you will follow your heart and never quit either.

In the trilogy of Be the Star You Are!® books, I always include the poem, Don’t Quit.  You can support the charity by buying books, at https://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store . 

But I leave you with the last verse:

For Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man.

But, sooner or later, the man who wins

Is the one who thinks he can.


What I’ve discovered is that success rarely comes on the first, second, third or fourth try. Sometimes even the hundredth. Keep trying and don’t give up. Even when you are rejected unnecessarily, consider each rejection as character building. You are a miracle of life, and you can do it. Give yourself a break, but never quit. You are a star! Embrace each “no” and exclaim, “Thank you, I am now that much closer to a yes!”

Together WE CAN!

Thank you for being part of our galaxy.  Make sure to visit http://www.BTSYA.org to see our gallery of photos from the past twenty years. In this newsletter, we share a few!

Our new motto is “Communicate, Collaborate, Innovate!” Hope you’ll join us.

Blessings and Gratitude,

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556




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

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Volunteering is a great way for teens to band together or to work individually to make a difference in the community. BTSYA offers the opportunity to become a leader and learn communication skills with its numerous volunteer opportunities. Brigitte Jia is a university sophomore interested in helping to bring the flaws of society to light. A volunteer with BTSYA, she is a host and reporter on Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio, artist, and published writer. She enjoys reading, playing the violin, and weightlifting. http://www.expressyourselfteenradio.com

Read Press Pass with the full story from Brigitte:


Read the newspaper article: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1314/Local-literacy-nonprofit-celebrates-20-years-of-service.html

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On Saturday, September 28 from 11-3pm, Event Teen Director Siri Phaneedra and BTSYA volunteers will be offering fun and free activities at the Be the Star You Are!® booth at the Pear and Wine Festival at Moraga Commons Park in Moraga. Henna, face painting, reading circle, pop up concert, teen radio reporters, and more will be available to celebrate our 20th anniversary. The canopy will have the name of our sponsor, The Lamorinda Weekly. Stop by with the family, enjoy the festivities, and make a tax-deductible donation. More info at bestpear fest.jpg


To aid with sponsorship, email info@Bethestaryouare.org.


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Be the Star You Are!® partners with The Reading Tub to increase literacy by offering first hand, honest reviews of books for young people. BTSYA Star Book reviewers read and write reviews which are published at The Reading Tub at  https://thereadingtub.org/books/be-the-star-you-are/

and also in our creative community at http://www.btsya.com/book_reviews.html . You’ll find more than 3000 reviews of books. We thank Founder and Executive Director, Terry Doherty, for her passion and dedication to books while collaborating with Be the Star You Are!®

WOW! 20 years. That is awesome. Perseverance and passion … you have them in limitless supply.” Terry Doherty, Founder and Executive Director, The Reading Tub


Cynthia Brian books banner.jpgBUY BOOKS

‘Give yourself a boost of positivity by buying copies of our signature books in the Be the Star You Are!® series. 100% of the proceeds benefit the charity and you’ll treasure the stories for a lifetime. Buy now at https://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store.

PPS: Read how BTSYA is Making a Difference: https://www.ibpa-online.org/news/460747/IBPA-Member-Spotlight-Cynthia-Brian.htm 

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


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“I Am Because We Are” 

by Karen Kitchel

Photo from Wiccanbipolarforum’s Post

An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told them that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits.

When he gave them the signal to run, they all took each other’s hands and ran together, then sat in a circle enjoying their treats.

When he asked them why they chose to run as a group when they could have had more fruit individually, one child spoke up and said: “UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”

‘UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: “I am because we are.”

Contributed by volunteer Karen Kitchel who is passionate about scattering kindness. Currently, she serves meals to the homeless, is a volunteer teacher, writer, job coach, and mentor. She wrote the chapter, The Gift of Adoption, in our book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World and she continues to volunteer as a contributor to our newsletter. www.scatteringkindness.com


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Get inspired, motivated, and informed with our two upbeat, life-affirming, innovative radio broadcasts from Be the Star You Are!® Radio heard on the Voice America Network, Empowerment Channel. StarStyle® airs Wednesdays LIVE from 4-5pm PT with host Cynthia Brian as your empowerment architect bringing you edu-tainment that will change your life for the better. http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2206/be-the-star-you-are

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Express Yourself!™ airs on Sundays at 3pm PT with teen and young adult hosts interviewing a variety of authors, musicians, celebrities, and experts on topics of interest to the younger generation. https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2014/express-yourself

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Visit www.BetheStarYouAreRadio.com to see the descriptions and photos.

To sponsor or advertise on any of our programs, please email info@BetheStarYouAre.org.

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

Other easy ways that assist our mission and don’t cost you a penny!

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

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

3. Buy or Sell on EBAY:http://givingworks.ebay.com/charity-auctions/charity/be-the-star-you-are-501-c-3/1504/?favorite=link

4. Use GoodSearch to search the web & buy from your favorite stores. Choose Be the Star You Are as your charity to support. You can log in with Facebook, too!http://www.goodsearch.com/goodto-go/be-the-star-you-are

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Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama


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

Celebrating 20 years of stellar service to the world!

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

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All donations are 100% Tax Deductible according to law. Thank you!



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Commitment to Civility in Phoenix

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Commitment to Civility in Phoenix

Commitment to Civility

Phoenix, Arizona , June 18, 2019 – A true commitment to civility has become priority for a group of professionals and entrepreneurs taking Phoenix by storm.

Dr. Vernet Joseph, World Civility Ambassador, National Statesmen, recognizes the gravity of responsibility relating to public life and befitting a citizen. Not taken lightly a necessity to be solution influenced by shifting increased division coarsening our culture too often fueled by vitriol of politics and public discourse.

Vernet, entrepreneur productivity speaker, best-selling author and the Founder/CEO of Live To Produce Enterprises, LLC energized the city as a world wind this year. The 3rd Annual Productive Business Summit positioned in Phoenix, at the Salvation Army Joan and Ray Kroc Center was a game changer. Attendees were startled with awe when City of Phoenix Mayor, Kate Gallego, issued a proclamation deeming June 8th as Phoenix Day of Civility, presented by the Mayor’s Director of Community Relations.
This day filled event encompassed speakers ranging from the My Financial Home CEO from California – Dr. Cozette M. White – who stressed the five biggest mistakes business owners make, and Arizona Financial Planner Ashley Folkes, who provided practical tips about being mentally, physically and financial fit, to World’s Best Connectors’ founder Denise Meridith, Crown Life Enterprises Founder Marquez Hughley, whose talk focused on increased levels of productivity, Mindset Changer CEO Jamal Cummins, whose message was “Don’t quit!” and PITCH Investors Live representatives who introduced a new innovative way for business owners and entrepreneurs to gain exposure and obtain funding.
The Productive Business Summit & Golden Rule Global awards is a collaboration with Dr. Clyde Rivers, the Honorary UN Ambassador at Large of the Republic of Burundi. Rivers has earned innumerable awards, including, in 2017, the United States Presidential Life Achievement Award for over 4,000 hours of serving the nation and humanity. He is also the Founder and President of iChange Nations (ICN), which improves the quality of life throughout the world by emphasizing honor, trust, dignity, and civil discourse. Cities and states are encouraged to join the cause. For example, communities throughout Indiana celebrated their fourth Annual World Civility Day in April, 2019.
Award recipients this year from the Productive Business Summit were presented by Dr. Vermet Joseph and Dr. Wil Moreland of Wil Moreland International. The recipients were:
IChange Nations World Civility Award (Danielle Williams),( Dr. Aikyna Finch), (Tasha “TC” Cooper),( Houssam Makki), (Bennie Randall), and (Dr. Stacie N.C. Grant)
IChange Nations Challenged Champions and Hero’s ( Anthony Ameen)
IChange Nations Women Add Value ( Dr. Cozette M. White), (PeShon ALLEN), ( Dr. Robin Hollis), (Roslyn Williams), ( Diana Gregory), (Beverly VanTull), (Nisha Witt), (Nakisha Graves King), (Dionne L. Archibald), (Pollyana Neely), (Chelsea Mandello), (Tammy Phipps), (Suzie Mills), (Johnnie Lloyd)
IChange Nations Community Ambassador (Harry Garewal), (Abraham James), (Anthony Ameen), (Sheriff Mark Lamb), (Ghazi Muhammad), (Derrick Smith), (Diana Gregory), (Denice Williams), (Dionne L. Archibald), (Pollyana Neely), ( Johnnie Lloyd), (David Winkler)
IChange Women of Global Solutions (Denise Meridith), (Tammy Phipps), (Marchelle Franklin)
Productive Business Global Agent of Change (Clarence McAllister)
Productive Business Agent of Change (Tara Laurie), (Larry Ross), (Christie Ellis)
Productive Business Community Game Changer Award (Harry Garewal), (Cozette M. White),(Sheriff Mark Lamb), (Sheriff Joseph Alvarado), (Ron Williams), (Dr. Aikyna Finch), ( Ron Williams) (Dr. Stacie N.C. Grant), (Beverly VanTull), (Dionne L. Archibald), (Johnnie Lloyd), (Denice Williams), (Pollyanna Neely), ( Houssam Makki), (Marchelle Franklin)
Productive Business Warrior Hero’s Award (Anthony Ameen), ( Tammy Phipps)
Productive Business Sustainable Developement Award (Chelsea Mandello)
Productive Business Award (Nakisha Graves King)
Productive Business Innovators Award ( Nisha Witt)
Productive Business Media ICON Award (Daniel Williams), (Roslyn Williams), (Derrick Smith), (PeShon Allen), (Javier Soto)
Productive Business Economic Developement Award (Diana Gregory)
Productive Business Entrepreneures (Abraham James), (Ghazi Muhammad), (Tamala Daniels), (Pamela Slim), (Robin Reed), (Suzie Mills)
Productive Business Philanthropy Award (Diana Gregory – Black Philanthropy Initiative)
Productive Business Volunteer Service Award (Robin Hollis)
Productive Business Veterans Award (Quincy Milam), (David Winkler)
Productive Business City of the Year – City of Phoenix

Another highlight of the evening was an attendee making an impromptu decision from the audience to enlist in a real live pitch contest for $10,000.00. Three minutes later Darryl Gooden of www.keepteachersteaching.org pitched an initiative to support teachers around the world inside and outside the classroom. The vote was unequivocally unanimous to award Gooden the grand prize.

When Joseph was asked what were the aha’s or moments that took his breath away? Joseph proclaimed, “Experiencing the power of relationships and collaboration with partners flying in from around the world.” Topped off by “Mayor Gallego’s proclaiming June 8th Phoenix Day of Civility.”

Civility lives on.

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An Impulse, An O-Shot, and the Internet

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An Impulse, An O-Shot, and the Internet

There are times in your life when you simply must listen to your gut. When your instinct leads to an impulse to take a certain action that will change the course of your planned out trajectory for the better.  For some people it leads them to find their soulmate. For others it leads to finding a lifelong hobby. For my business partner Sheila and I, talking about rejuvenating the “down down” lead to VoiceAmerica Internet Radio and we couldn’t be more excited! We will be launching our show Life: Flat to FABulous Wednesday March 6 at 3 pm Eastern time and thought we would share the fun video that got us here. We hope you enjoy our clip and be sure to grab a tasty beverage and #gabwithfab Wednesday afternoons!


Truth Bomb Mom

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Truth Bomb Mom

In honor of Mother’s Day, we are thrilled to bring on Kristina Kuzmic as our Special guest to discuss keeping our sanity while navigating the years of parenthood.

Kristina is energetic, funny, and obsessed with creativity, Kristina has an in-your-face perspective on issues of parenting and life in general.

She has become an internet sensation with her “mom-centric” videos about raising children and juggling all of life’s challenges. With over 600 million views across media outlets and websites worldwide, and over 2 million Facebook followers.

Kristina has quickly made a name for herself as a creative, yet unpretentious parent, as well as a world-renowned motivational speaker/comedian. In 2011, Kristina was chosen from over 15,000 applicants and crowned the winner of Mark Burnett’s reality TV competition: “Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star.” Kristina’s first reality show titled “The Ambush Cook,” aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Kristina’s blog posts have been published on various websites, including Oprah.com and The Huffington Post.

Do you have a question for Kristina? Please submit them up until Monday the 14th at 1:00 MST to empoweredwithdesandjen@gmail.com OR call in live at 2:00 MST for a chance to ask her directly!!

Financial Empowerment for Women

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Financial Empowerment for Women


In a recent episode from my radio show, Uplift Your Life: Nourishment of the Spirit,  my guest Meriflor Toneatto and I offer guidance and encouragement for women to create abundance in all areas of life. In today’s blog, in addition to my tip of the week and my silver lining story, Marian Stephens shares how she is using the information in this episode to change her life. All my previous blogs are on my website, paulajoyce.com, and the first posts with Marian’s Story went up last week. Be sure to check them out and follow Marian’s progress.

Dr. Paula’s Tip of the Week

 This week’s show on empowering women to stake their claim on wealth aired on International Women’s Day. When women are empowered to manifest abundance and wealth, they are a powerful force of good in the world. As Mother Teresa said: It takes a checkbook to change the world.

 I wrote 33 Tips for Self-Empowerment because when you are self-empowered, you are connected to your limitless higher self, your soul, your intuition, your gut feelings, your guidance. In the spirit of this book, my tip for you this week is to manifest through love. Before you do a manifestation ritual or ask for what you want, remind yourself that Love is all there is by saying: “I allow my mind to be open to the limitless potential of my Higher Self, and that Love connects my higher mind with my conscious mind.” Money is just another expression of Love. We can have an abundance of love and of money in our lives. We do not have to choose between them. Since Love is limitless so is our ability to manifest Money. It is a gift from God, and as we open our hearts more, we can bring in more Money. We live in a world of abundance, not scarcity, and what a wonderful thing to be able to share our wealth and help others. It’s hard to be a philanthropist if you don’t have enough Money to donate. I often ask my clients what good they would do in the world if they had a million dollars?        

Last Saturday, I held my workshop, Discovering Hope and Silver Linings. I was delighted with the attendance and the response from the group. They even stayed for an added manifestation bonus I offered after the workshop was completed. Because the workshop was on March 3rd, which in numerology is 3/3¸a powerful number for manifestation, I did a special manifestation ritual with them at 3:33pm. All of those 3’s added even more power. Many people thanked me after the session and one woman gave me a hug saying: “I’ve been listening to your show. I feel like I know you.” I loved meeting someone who has been listening to the show. Another woman, Amanda, came because she wanted people to know that God is always with them. And the next day, I got an email from Katrina saying: “I read this in a book last night and it’s really resonating with me right now. It’s in line with what you spoke of, Dr. Paula, at our workshop: ‘Don’t overlook all the healthy trees. Even while you have pain in your heart, you can enjoy the many wonders of life – the beautiful sunset, the smile of a child, the many flowers and trees. To suffer is not enough. Please don’t be imprisoned by your suffering.’” I was touched by her taking the time to email me, the synchronicity of her reading this right after the workshop, and confirmation that she had gotten the message I was delivering.  

 Dr. Paula’s Silver Linings Story

In 2016 women were generally paid 80% of what men were paid – a gender wage gap of 20%. Closing this wage gap would eliminate poverty among working women and their families. Traditionally, women’s primary role is caretaker or nurturer; putting this construct aside will allow women to rise up and create better lives for themselves and their families.

Last week when I ran into an acquaintance, she shared how much stress she was under due to the demands that someone was placing on her. She had even cancelled her vacations for him and the extra responsibilities were exhausting her. She felt obligated to put his desires over her own needs. It was clear that in doing so she was putting herself at risk physically and emotionally. I knew she had been in an abusive marriage and had had cancer a few times. I was seeing a pattern and shared that this might be a life lesson for her to learn that everyone else was not more important than she is. I reminded her that if the well is dry, you have nothing to give and asked if he was worth compromising her own health. She said others had told her she needed to serve him with gratitude, compassion and kindness because he was leaving her money. I responded that I didn’t believe this advice was in her best interest. Sometimes we must give to ourselves the love, kindness and compassion we so easily give to others. I suggested that she think about all she had done for him over the years and continues to do and that sacrificing her own well-being wasn’t a good energy exchange. I recommended that she continue to do what needed to be done and to draw boundaries at unreasonable requests. I learned later she appreciated my advice and was making new choices. Sometimes we must circle around and through a lesson several times until we finally see the pattern and choose to break it. Her silver lining in this very challenging situation was to finally choose self-love and set strong boundaries.

 Marian Stephen’s Story

 Before listening to this week’s episode, I had assumed that it would not really apply to me. I have been out of the workforce my entire adult life, and only briefly worked after I graduated from college. I have been a stay-at-home-mom for many years, and I am on disability for multiple sclerosis. The cognitive problems associated with my illness make office work a challenge, and the physical problems make manual labor a challenge. So, I have written having a full-time career off. Again, I am so grateful to have Dr. Paula and her show in my life because it is helping me to break through barriers and equipping me to become the best version of myself. Each episode gives me a new tool, and I find myself encouraged and uplifted. Meriflor Toneatto talked about mindset, and I realized that everything I described above is the mindset that I have had for many years, and it is very limiting. Maybe if I change this mindset, I can find avenues to earning money that I have never considered. It feels liberating to open my mind to the possibility of being creative and finding unique ways to work outside of traditional employment.

Do you believe you deserve to be wealthy? This is the question that Dr. Paula asks listeners this week. While it does not make me feel very good, my honest answer is “no”. And it is not that I do not feel worthy of wealth, but rather that it is not due me because I cannot easily or realistically obtain it within a traditional context. I realized I have rather antiquated views on women’s roles in the workplace and at home. I consider myself to be a feminist, but I do not always apply the tenets of feminism to myself. I am comfortable in my role as nurturer; it is easy to put everyone else’s needs ahead of mine and call that my role in life. In fact, being a nurturer of family at home is far less frightening than putting myself out into the world and earning money. But, it is not completely fulfilling to be primarily a caretaker, when I believe my gifts for nurturing and love extend beyond the boundaries of home. I think that I can and will expand my views on my role in and outside of the home and begin to envision a life of abundance.

My mentor, Angie, was so inspired by this week’s episode that she is buying Money Manifestation & Miracles and going to consult with Meriflor Toneatto. After listening, she was inspired to action and called her mentor for coaching. She is amid making a life change, part of which is building her own business. The main thing she gained from listening is realizing her worth. She often feels guilt when setting the price for her consulting services, but realized she is worth the price she charges. She said she is “worth every penny”. She is tenacious, creative, a joy to work with, and working hard to establish a business that will sustain herself and her dogs. Angie feels empowered to keep growing her business and to create a life of abundance that will enable her to care for herself and to help others – this show made it clear that the Universe offers abundance, you just must be willing to receive it.

For more shows on changing one’s mindset, please listen to:


 To learn more about my unique process that removes hidden blockages, helps you solve your most challenging problems, and achieve success with ease and speed, sign up for my newsletter and receive the chapter as my gift: http://paulajoyce.com/wpsite/newsletter-sign-up/




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