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Gather Around the Table
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Thankful for Friendships, Love, and Support
Hello Everyone, 
Liz here from Geneva! I'm excited that the holidays are in full swing and everyone in Europe is getting excited for Christmas Markets and fun times ahead with family. The local mountains are covered in snow and the weather is certainly beginning to match the season. Since you've last heard from me, I've traveled to many amazing places throughout Europe and I thought I'd like to share them with you! I've visited Helsinki, Milan, Paris, St. Petersburg, and Amsterdam! I'm actually planning on publishing with my research team later this month and I'm beyond grateful to have been given such a wonderful opportunity to live and study here. I plan to celebrate Thanksgiving here with friends by hosting a potluck at my apartment! I hope that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family, laughter, and love. Wishing you all a fantastic month and may this fall season bring you happiness!




Gratitude is our Attitude

“There are eight rungs in charity. The highest is when you help a man to help himself.”― Maimonides

Message from Founder, Cynthia Brian

For me Thanksgiving is every day because I truly believe in being grateful. So often we tend to focus on what we don’t have instead of offering thanks for what we do have. I am grateful for my health,  a loving family, a roof over my head, food in my belly, friends to play with, nature to grow me, work for which I’m passionate, and for all of you who support, volunteer, donate, and believe in the mission of Be the Star You Are!® Here at Be the Star You Are!® we truly believe in empowerment, starting with encouraging and mentoring our volunteers to be the best they can be. Everyday we are reaching for the stars and helping others learn to land on them too.

As the holidays begin, we hope you will give yourself the gift of year-end giving by opening your wallets to make a tax deductible donation to Be the Star You Are!®. We make it so easy for you.

You can send a check to BTSYA, PO Box 376, Moraga, Ca. 94556. You can call us with a credit card at 925-377-STAR, or easiest of all, make your donation on-line either at our web site or directly at PayPal Giving Fund where 100% of your donation funds our outreach projects.

As you reflect on what matters most in your life, consider sharing the bounty to improve the lives of those less fortunate through the outreach programs of Be the Star You Are!®.

Gratitude is an attitude and we THANK  YOU!

Have a healthy, happy, generous Thanksgiving. Remember to always BE the STAR YOU Are!

PS: Congratulations to our teen hosts and reporters of Express Yourself!™ On November 22 at NOON PT, the 242nd show will broadcast on Voice America Kids Network celebrating the 5th anniversary of Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio. Keep on talking! Tune in at

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

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Operation Hurricane Matthew Disaster Relief Update

Be the Star You Are!® has been working diligently to give a new book for the holidays to families and children in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina who suffered losses during the horrible storms of Hurricane Matthew. Brand new books totaling over $15,000 have been shipped to date. Many thanks go to our author partners Brooks Olbrys, Diana Zimmerman, Cynthia Brian, and Lee Ann Mancini for participating in Operation Hurricane Matthew Disaster Relief.  For more information and to donate, check out our webpage!

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Here’s what a few of the beneficiaries have written.

“We received the beautiful books you sent to First Books of Beaufort. Thank you so much! I will send photos when we are distributing the books.” Peg Schlichtemeier, First Books of Beaufort,


“The books are beautiful!! We will begin to organize and wrap them soon. Thank you again for the generous donation! Those books will be a wonderful gift for the many children we serve this Christmas.

Have a blessed and healthy Christmas and New Year!!!

Sincerely, Nadine King, Christmas Come True”, Florida

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“Awesome - thanks so much.” Vincent J. DelMonte, Executive Director,

Frank Callen Boys & Girls Clubs, Georgia


Upcoming Events!

November 23-November 29th:  

GIVING WEEK: Giving Assistant will double donations 11/23-11/29

It’s Giving Week at Giving Assistant where you SAVE more and they GIVE more.

You’ll earn the highest cash back rates of the year and Giving Assistant will double all donations when you shop at all of your favorite brands online from 11/23-11/29 including Etsy, Home Depot, Macy’s, Gilt, Nasty Gal, and thousands more. Start shopping and giving on our page.

December 17 11am-3pm PT

Visit and Photo with Santa


Visit and Photo with Santa on Saturday, December 17th, 2016

In collaboration with 5 A Rent A Space, teen volunteers from Be the Star You Are!® will help children write letters to Santa and enjoy arts and crafts as well as get a framed photo with Santa Claus himself!. Cookies, fruit, candy canes, and hot cocoa will be served. The event is FREE to the public. Bring your little ones to a visit with Santa.

Date: Saturday, December 17, 2016

Time: 11am-3pm

Place: 5 A Rent a Space

455 Moraga Road

Moraga, California 94556


It will be a fun-filled time for all ages who believe in the magic of Christmas.

Donations greatly appreciated for the outreach programs of the all volunteer non profit Be the Star You Are!®

See you there!

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Exciting Spotlight News 


Our gratitude goes out to Katie Huang who has been our Teen Book Review Coordinator for the past few years. Since Katie is now in college and her hours are more restricted, she is turning over her reins to Maria Wong, an active BTSYA volunteer as well as reporter and host on Express Yourself!®. For volunteers who are part of the Star Book Review Team, please submit your book reviews to  Welcome Maria to your new leadership position!

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Teens speak out about what it is like to be a volunteer with Be the Star You Are!® and the excitement of becoming a radio reporter or host on Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio.  

Zahra Hasanian: Volunteer, Radio Reporter and Host

“I learned about Be the Star You Are!® charity (BTSYA) through a friend who had been volunteering for years and loving it. Soon, I was volunteering at the annual Moraga Pear Festival at the BTSYA booth, and Cynthia’s enthusiasm combined with the warm welcomes from other BTSYA volunteers convinced me that there was no better organization to be a part of. First impressions aside, as I worked at more events and did more radio shows, I developed a deep admiration for the consistently hardworking, intelligent, and kind people I was collaborating with. Somehow, every volunteer managed to incorporate some of their passions into the work they did, whether it was through a particularly unique radio segment, or a strikingly innovative idea for an upcoming event. I soon learned that there was no reason and no use in holding back my own opinions and interests. After all, part of being a star, leading, and succeeding was embracing quirks and discussing differences. I never dreamt of one week talking politics with a numerologist, the next week being fascinated by the day-to-day routine of a child star, and weeks after talking to a 4-time National Slam Poetry Champion, but through Express Yourself Teen Radio, I gained these sorts of unusual yet eye-opening experiences. While still enjoying myself, I learned invaluably about myself and about others.  Even when it came to seemingly mundane tasks like stamping books, or moving boxes, there was always the noble goal of helping others in sight. Often, while making piles, or lifting supplies, I find myself in the midst of some of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had. I’m reminded of, when in old movies, a group of laborers would engage the audience with their witty and sometimes profound comments, with the mindless clanking of their hammers only serving as background music. If I could be empowered by just one comment, I knew that together, all of BTSYA could empower the world.  If any community is only as great as the people it consists of, then BTSYA is truly special.”

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Zahra Hasanian

Maria Wong: Social Media Volunteer, Teen Book Review Coordinator, Radio Reporter and Host

 I've always wanted to be a radio host for Express Yourself!  However, due to so many interfering extracurricular activities and a rigorous academic workload, for the past two years I've only been a radio reporter. This last week, I hosted for the first time with Zahra for the Gift of Understanding. Though definitely tiring (talking for a hour is a lot longer than talking for fifteen minutes), hosting was so much fun! I met so many new reporters and had a hilarious conversation with anime voice actor Chuck Huber (listen to Gift of Understanding- he is so funny and recited a Hamlet monologue in one of his character's voices! Unlike a repeater with a set script, a host can create new discussion topics or lead the conversation in different areas with reporters and guests. Along with this, a host must keep the show going and bounce off new ideas when the conversation is getting dry. Overall, hosting was such a fun time and I can't wait to do it again!

In addition to working on Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio, I am the social media manager for the Be the Star You Are!® Twitter and Instagram accounts, where I create posts about radio, our charity, and events we're putting on! By being the social media manager for Be the Star you Are!®, I've learned what's it like to work in social media and create enticing and informative content in less than 140 words!  I am so grateful for BTSYA and all the opportunities it has given me to express my voice and be a leader.

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For Young Adults: Where teens talk and the world listens!

Listen to Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio every Tuesday at NOON PT on the Voice America Kids Network.

For photos, descriptions, and more, visit our web site at .


For Adults and all ages: LIVE Upbeat, Positive, Empowering LifeStyle Broadcast

Join Personal Growth Coach, Cynthia Brian and Health/Fitness Coach Heather Brittany to get your life on track while having fun on StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® LIVE every Wednesday 4-5pm PT on the Voice America Network, Empowerment Channel.

For photos, descriptions, and more, visit our web site.


Thanks For What I Don't Have

One Thanksgiving, as we gathered at our dinner table and began to list what we're grateful for, my brother said "I'm thankful for what I don't have."  I was glad he elaborated by saying how thankful he was that he didn't have cancer like his good buddy, and he doesn't need to look for a shelter to sleep at night as so many people do.

That started me thinking about how very many things I am thankful that I don't have. Imagine not having anyone you could call family or friend, and what if you were born in one of the poorest countries in the world with no hope of ever getting an education.  It's so easy to complain about the little things like the turkey gravy being lumpy or the mashed potatoes are missing, but instead perhaps we should be thankful for not having an empty stomach.

This year, in addition to being grateful for all the good things in life, you may want to think about giving thanks for what you don't have.

About the author:
Karen Kitchel is a Community Volunteer who is passionate about helping  those who are homeless or disadvantaged.  Previously she served as President of Cheerful Givers, a nonprofit organization, and Director of BI University at BI Worldwide.  She can be reached at

Liked Karen's Article? Get Yours Featured on our Strikingly Blog Page!

Be The Star You Are! has launched a fantastic blog page that features the voices of volunteers, celebrities, and guests from our radio shows. Check out our exciting work and latest interviews! 
We also have a Twice Weekly BTSYA where you can also get updates from our Radio Shows!

If you'd like to be a part of it and contribute your thoughts and memories, please contact on how to get involved!

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Shop, Give, and Get Connected 

If you love to shop online, you'll love the ways you can be donating to Be the Star You Are!® without spending a penny more, and sometimes saving a lot. The next time you want to buy ANYTHING, click on one of our links and you'll
be supporting BTSYA while getting the best value for yourself!

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases when you click here.
2. Discounted books at Amazon
3. Buy or Sell on EBAY
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!
5. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE

If you would like to make a direct donation to our giving fund, please visit our Paypal page! 2

Our newest partner: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash back at 1800+ popular online stores, then donate a percentage to BTSYA.

Please drop in and give us a listen!

We love connecting with so many great people on the air and it would be fantastic if you could listen 
in as well! Please join us on Star-Style Radio and Express Yourself! Teen Radio. Please also visit our calendar to find local events. Care to see what other people are saying about us? See our reviews at Great Non-Profits!

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Moraga, California 94556

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