Looking Back, Looking Forward
with gratitude, pride, hope, and optimism
“With gratitude, optimism is sustainable.” Michael J. Fox
A Message from Founder/Executive Director, Cynthia Brian
In 1988, when I was setting up this all-volunteer charity, Be the Star You Are!®, had anyone told me what a challenging journey it would be, I probably would not have even begun. Good thing I didn’t have a crystal ball! When I launched BTSYA as a 501 c3 on 9/9/99, I was naive enough to believe that if I built it, they would come. I was thinking the “they” would be donors to make the mission of increasing literacy and producing positive media messages to empower women, families, and youth a reality. Instead, hundreds of organizations and shelters contacted me asking for help. Without any funding from state, federal, or corporations, it became clear that small individual donations would be necessary to keep the nonprofit afloat. At one point, our bank account was down to forty-three cents, I couldn’t write any more checks, and my heart sank as I contemplated shutting down this organization that was already serving so many.
But then a big package of letters arrived in the mail from incarcerated kids with whom we had been working thanking us for the gifts of books and the reading circles. Some wrote that the book we gave them was not only the first book they had received, but the first gift. A few wrote that had Be the Star You Are!® volunteers and assistance not been in their lives, suicide may have been the best option. Obviously, we couldn’t abandon our goal of serving those in need.
Somehow, we pulled through those dark moments, and today, as we begin our 25th year of being a 501 c3, we can all take pride in the dedication and hard work that is truly making a positive difference in the lives of people not only in America but globally. Thousands of teens have volunteered over the years. Many of those are now in their forties with families of their own. BTSYA has created numerous outreach programs including book reviews, disaster relief, pop-up concerts, events, publications, writing classes, and so much more. This grassroots charity has become a mighty empowerment vehicle.
With no paid staff and all volunteers, since receiving our 501c3 status in 1999 Be the Star You Are! has achieved the following:
Served 558,927 individuals and families
Donated to 118 organizations
Logged 770,999 volunteer hours and growing
Distributed $2.1 million plus in resources
Collected and donated 1575 pairs of shoes to women in poverty around the globe.
Broadcast 2200 unique hours of positive programming through radio broadcasts.
Published 6 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, No Barnyard Bullies, Family Forever, and Miracle Moments®,
And, since 2010, Be the Star You Are!® has been honored as a Top NonProfit by Great NonProfits and GuideStar (now called Candid).
As we embark on our next quarter century with optimism and hope, we thank YOU for your sustaining support and caring.
Come say hello to our volunteers, plant seeds, buy books, and have a great family day this Saturday, September 30 from 11-3 p.m. at the Moraga Pear and Wine Festival. See below for information.
Be the Star You Are!®
PO Box 376
Moraga, California 94556
THE PEAR AND WINE FESTIVAL IS THIS SATURDAY!
On Saturday, September 30 from 11 am until 3 pm, Be the Star You Are!® our teen chairpersons, Sharanya and Keerthi along with other volunteers will once again provide a fun booth at the Pear and Wine Festival at the Moraga Commons Park in Moraga with activities for kids including seed planting, reading circles, and book giveaways. Thank you to our wonderful sponsors MBJessee Painting and the Lamorinda Weekly Newspaper. The festival is free for all and a wonderful family adventure with live music, pear pies, food, drink, arts, crafts, a petting zoo, bouncy houses, and more. Our booth will be located right next to the main playground. Visit https://www.bethestaryouare.org/events-1/2023-pear-and-wine-festival for more information. To volunteer, email info@BetheStarYouAre.org.
MEET OUR NEWEST TEEN REPORTER
Charvi Saxena: Beauty on Trial
Charvi, a rising sophomore is the reporter on Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio with a segment titled, Beauty on Trial. Charvi possesses a strong passion for dance, advocacy through leadership, and speech. Her active involvement in student council, where she held the position of freshman vice president and upcoming sophomore president showcases her passion for being a leader and a voice for the grade. Demonstrating dedication to important causes, she competes in speech events and serves as a mentor and officer, engaging in meaningful discussions for the past two years. With over a decade of experience in classical dance, particularly Kathak, Charvi has honed her skills as a graceful performer. Her intellectual curiosity extends beyond her artistic pursuits, as she finds genuine interest in exploring the intricate connections between human behavior and the legal system through the study of law and psychology. Charvi remains dedicated to expanding her knowledge and pursuing diverse academic interests, always striving to grow as both a dancer and a student advocate. Listen to her outstanding first report on Pop Culture at https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/146687/pop-culture
by Karen Kitchel
Just one kind word can turn a difficult day into one to remember. The bonus benefit is you know you scattered some kindness.
Can’t think of a word? Here are a few possibilities:
You are appreciated.
You are amazing.
You are smart.
You are magnificent.
You are talented.
You are kind.
You are ENOUGH!
YOU ARE A STAR!
Karen Kitchel is the Kindness Coordinator volunteer with BTSYA. She purchased the book, No Barnyard Bullies, as a gift for every kindergarten student where she is a volunteer teacher. www.scatteringkindness.com
1575 Pairs of Shoes Shipped to the Shoeless!
In partnership with 5 A Rent-A-Space and Mark Hoog’s State Farm Insurance, Be the Star You Are!® wants to thank all the supporters who donated to our shoe drive to support micro-entrepreneurs, mostly women, in developing countries to help them build self-sufficiency, and to benefit their local communities by supplying much-needed affordable shoes.
With the help of the community, we were able to collect 1,575 pairs of shoes. Teen chairperson, Ella Kalpakjian, who spearheaded collecting shoes from our local schools commented, “WOW! This is a lot of shoes!” George Burnz, manager of 5 A was pleased as he believes that this effort epitomizes the meaning of “community caring.” Mark Hoogs stated, “Thanks to the generosity of SO MANY people in our community in Lamorinda, 1,575 people will have shoes that may not have otherwise had them - allowing them to work and go about their daily life activities more safely...something we're fortunate to be able to take for granted.”
The partners and volunteers watched with pride as the last bags were loaded onto the truck on their way to being shipped to countries in poverty.
Congratulations on a Successful Shoe Drive to our partners and volunteers!
LISTEN TO OUR NEWSWORTHY AND POIGNANT RADIO BROADCASTS
Two positive and timely radio shows that you will enjoy are brought to the airwaves under the auspices of Be the Star You Are!® as outreach programs. StarStyle® is our LIVE lifestyle broadcast hosted by Cynthia Brian airing Wednesdays 4-5pm PT and Express Yourself!™ hosted by teens airs on Sundays from 3-4pm PT. And you can listen to our shows wherever you get your podcasts. Check us out. The world is talking.
Places to Listen to StarStyle Radio:
Guest Line up: https://www.starstyleradio.com/starstyle-radio
Listen at Voice America Network: https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2206/be-the-star-you-are
Places to Listen to Express Yourself! Teen Radio
Listen at Voice America Network: https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2014/express-yourself
Apple iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/id481894121
TWO NEW CHILDREN’S BOOKS TO ENGAGE AND ENLIGHTEN
Children love animals and who better to teach love lessons for living that the critters living in a barnyard. No Barnyard Bullies and Family Forever will entertain and enthrall the youngsters in your life with beautiful illustrations by Jensen Russell while providing gentle guides on the importance of being kind and inclusive. Available everywhere with sales purchased through our online store benefitting Be the Star You Are!.
SIMPLE WAYS TO HELP!
We have suggestions for you to shop, save, and stay safe. Please use these web sites for all of your shopping essentials.
1. Discounted books at Amazon
2. Coupon Birds: Visit our website and click on the logo. Shop. Earn. Give!
3. Earn a $5.00 bonus by choosing Be the Star You Are!® and shop at over 1900 stores on IGIVE
4. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” black tanks and books at StarStyle® Store: http://www.starstylestore.net/
5. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundle. This fall, look back with gratitude and pride and look forward with hope and optimism.
Look back with gratitude and pride and look forward with hope and optimism. Tomorrow is a gift!