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With Appreciation and Positivity


It’s not what you keep out that makes you safe. 

It’s what you give out.

~ Author unknown

A MESSAGE from Founder/Executive Director, CYNTHIA BRIAN

Before Be the Star You Are!® was designated 501 c3 status in 1999, I had spent three previous years brainstorming and outlining the mission of the charity. Bombarded with negativity and violence in the media, I recognized that to empower women, families, and youth, one of our key goals besides increasing literacy, must be to establish a charity that embodied positive messages. As we venture into 2024, our mission of consistently evoking positive media messages is more crucial than ever.

We are living through a divisive and tumultuous time. Violence and negativity are on the rise. Throughout 2023 at Be the Star You Are!®, we continued on our journey of finding optimism and goodness. Once again we were named a Top NonProfit and earned the 2023 Platinum Seal with Candid. Our two popular radio broadcasts, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® and Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio brought weekly conversations that enlightened, encouraged, and engaged. We shipped over 500 books and other resources to those in need through Operation Disaster Relief. Our Book Review Program, showcased honest reviews of books that volunteers read and reviewed to help parents, teachers, librarians, and you make informed decisions. At several in-person events, volunteers shared their positive personalities while providing outreach services and entertaining activities. An exciting pivot this year supported micro-entrepreneurs, mostly women, in developing countries create a path out of poverty through our Shoe Drive whereby 1575 pairs of shoes were collected and shipped.

As 2023 comes to a close, I want to express heartfelt appreciation and a deep gratitude to our incredible global volunteers and to our supporters. The teen reporters and hosts on Express Yourself!™ deserve a huge round of applause for their intelligence, determination, and dependability in making the radio program a top-rated program. Our Voice America Radio team are phenomenal partners, always helping both shows to shine. Our Kindness Coordinator, Karen Kitchel, and our Book Review Coordinator, Stephanie Cogeos, deserve special mention for their dedication to our cause to make the world a better, kinder, more literate place. MB Jessee Painting, The Lamorinda Weekly, Mark Hoogs State Farm Insurance, and 5A Rent-a-Space have been stalwart supporters and collaborators for our events and activities. When we ask, they say YES!

To everyone who has purchased books or made donations of any amount, we are very appreciative. Every dollar counts to keep our mighty machine running. Congratulations to our volunteers who work diligently with our outreach programs and thank you to everyone who supports these efforts. We are excited to share the work our nonprofit does. Learn how you can support us and make a difference.

If you need a last-minute tax deduction, or are just feeling generous and want to donate to Be the Star You Are!™, we welcome your donations.


1. Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:

2. Make a donation using many different payment methods which may have fees via by Givebutter at

3. Send a check to: Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3

PO Box 376

Moraga, Ca. 94556

However you donate, you will receive a tax receipt.

Until we meet again next year, be positive and optimistic! From my family to yours, may you be healthy, happy, and successful.


With appreciation and gratitude

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556


by Karen Kitchel

Hearing the words You Are Appreciated is one of the simplest and most uplifting phrases around. It goes leaps and bounds beyond saying “thanks.”

You make it personal, especially if said with gusto.  Being Appreciated means you’re not being taken for granted.  Saying these three words can easily become a daily habit if we look for opportunities. Such an easy way to get your New Year off to a great start.

And if you took the time to read this post, You Are Appreciated!

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

                                                      – Mother Teresa

 “The gifts we tend to remember are those which are wrapped with love.” Karen Kitchel

(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.


“Thank you so much for allowing me to be a member of the Book Reviewer team at BTSYA. I truly believe that this program will have a great impact on the world. From this community service opportunity, I chose to volunteer for the organization Be The Star You Are!, an organization that strived to change lives inspiring women, families, youth at risk, and many more. The volunteering role that I chose to partake in was a book reviewer. As a member of this role, I was encouraged to write book reviews spreading inspiration amongst my community of readers. There were many things I loved about this activity, I had no limitations on what sort of book I wanted to review, and I was able to indulge in my personal hobby while also giving back to my community.

Participating in this activity allowed me to learn about the transformative potential that comes from books. Writing reviews gave me the opportunity to share and express my thoughts and feelings about books that I adored. Additionally, this opportunity taught me the importance of empathy, connection, and reflection, as I myself was able to feel inspired all over again: as I thought and reflected upon books that have left an impactful mark on me and as I strove to offer reviews that I believe would resonate with readers’ experiences and emotions. My time as a book reviewer with Be the Star You Are! is not over. I will continue doing book reviews as my own personal interest, but this experience has already been a fulfilling journey of self-discovery, and I hope to bring a similar sense of fulfillment to other readers. “ Alisha


Passion, Purpose, & Possibility Producer

Empowerment Architect
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