by Brigitte Jia
On September 9, 2019, Moraga based literacy and positive media message charity, Be the Star You Are!® marks a major milestone…20 years of serving the community, county, and country. A two-decade feat of being a non-profit is even all the more spectacular knowing that Be the Star You Are!® is 100% staffed with volunteers, no paid employees, and operates solely with the generous donations of individuals and businesses.
For six years, I’ve been a proud member and volunteer for the top-rated non-profit Be the Star You Are!® charity. In my freshman year at Campolindo High School, I stumbled upon the opportunity to be a behind-the-scenes “art coordinator”. With the encouragement and enthusiasm of Founder and Executive Director, Cynthia Brian, I soon spread my wings to become a reporter on Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio, brought to the airwaves under the auspices of Be the Star You Are!® (BTSYA) charity. I quickly sharpened my communicative abilities, giving me the chance to grow from an awkward high school freshman into an open, articulate individual.
My volunteer role gradually expanded with time as I participated in many activities that Be the Star You Are!® offered. I advanced to hosting the award-winning international radio show interviewing authors and celebrities from around the globe. I provided free books to children at events, shipped supplies to survivors of natural disasters across the United States, performed pop-up concerts with other BTSYA volunteer musicians throughout Lamorinda and for seniors at Moraga Royale and Aegis, read books to children at the Moraga Faire, painted faces at St. Mary’s events and the Pear Festival, helped children write letters to Santa at the 5A Rent-a-Space Holiday party, and continued to be the resident Be the Star You Are!® artist.
In 2018, Be the Star You Are!® published the third book in its Be the Star You Are!® series titled Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World. How honored I was to have two of my chapter submissions accepted for publication, the Gift of Activism and the Gift of Art! Thirty-one Be the Star You Are!® volunteers are now published in that book. Two of the recent contributors were also published in Be the Star You Are for TEENS where an additional 41 volunteers and supporters were published. All proceeds from sales of these books benefit the charity.
There are numerous opportunities for teens to get their community service credits while growing as people and leaders. Besides reporting on the thought-provoking radio broadcast, one of the most popular Be the Star You Are!® outreach programs is to become a writer on the Star Teen Book Review Team. To date, over 2000 book reviews have been written and published.
In these past six years, I’ve experienced some truly heartwarming moments of gratitude and collaborative power. A unique trait that I admire about volunteering with Be the Star You Are!®501 c3 is that the Founder, Cynthia Brian, is a dedicated mentor helping each volunteer find his/her passion and individual strength. Read the reviews at Great Non-Profits: http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/be-the-star-you-are-inc/. We have a motto, “Read, lead, succeed. To be a leader, you must be a reader.” Through Be the Star You Are!® programs I have found my voice and my leadership capabilities.
With my chaotic college schedule, I have less time, yet I’m glad that I’ve been welcomed as a part of something so much larger than just myself. Because of my involvement with BTSYA, I am no longer afraid to talk to others about my feelings and opinions. As part of this organization, I’ve grabbed the globe by the horns and have been able to concretely change peoples’ lives. The work I do alongside Cynthia and other members of our BTSYA family will stay with me for the rest of my life.
It’s a big deal to celebrate 20 years of nonstop grassroots service. Our new slogan is “Communicate, Collaborate, Innovate!” I can’t wait to see what BTSYA has in store for me and the world in the future!
For more information, to volunteer, or make a donation, please visit the main web site at https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org and our creative community at http://www.BTSYA.org. Reviews: http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/be-the-star-you-are-inc/
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