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  • Writer's pictureCynthia Brian

Flames of Resilience

Miracle Moment®

“We are made of star stuff.” Carl Sagan

A Message from Cynthia Brian

It has been another devastating month of disasters. The senseless shootings in Las Vegas and the current calamitous fires blazing in California are reason enough for everyone to mourn. We are all so saddened by these events that one friend of mine speculated that we will be suffering from post-traumatic stress. I agree.

Our volunteers were busy packing boxes for Operation Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief, then, quickly added Hurricane Irma when that storm hit Florida, which then was multiplied to include Hurricane Maria. We changed the name to Operation Hurricanes Disaster Relief.

But on October 9th, the catastrophe hit home with the California fires burning in our backyards, literally. The majority of my family and relatives were evacuated in Napa, Sonoma, and Solano counties along with over 100,000 residents. Ten thousand firefighters and first responders from all over the United States, Canada, and even Australia arrived to battle the blazes in our glorious wine country. As I write this, the torching is not yet contained and the death toll has risen to 40 with several hundred people unaccounted for. These wildfires are the deadliest in California history and have ravaged hundreds of thousands of acres destroying thousands of homes, businesses, and lives.

Yet, Californians are strong. Californians are brave. Californians are resilient.

It is challenging to watch an apocalypse occur without feeling hopeless and helpless. As my teen volunteers and I dropped off boxes of new books, games, and other resources to shelters in the Northern California region, we witnessed communities coming together with grace and gratitude despite losing so much. We were emotionally and spiritually helped by helping others. Read what teen volunteer Zahra Hasanaian had to say about her experience below.

Be the Star You Are!® will be participating in Operation Hurricane and Fire Disaster Relief for as long as is necessary to help those displaced. Our volunteers are personally delivering donations to Northern California shelters and we are shipping to the hurricane affected areas. If you want to donate to help in the relief efforts, your contribution is tax deductible and you will receive a receipt.

Checks can be sent to BTSYA, PO Box 376, Moraga, Ca. 94556 or on line through Paypal Giving Fund

More information about BTSYA Operation Disaster Relief Program for fires and hurricanes::

There are many organizations who will be assisting with the recovery. Whether you choose to donate to Be the Star You Are!® or to another source, know that you will feel good by doing what you can to aid those in need. Everyone wins with generosity,

To all those who have suffered, we send our love, our prayers, and our thoughts. Life is precious. We will rebuild. We will rise up. We are one.

We are made of star stuff.

Blessings to all,

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

Tune in to StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® radio for insights and conversations on positivity, healing, and rebuilding Wednesdays 4-5pm PT LIVE on the Voice America Network, the Empowerment Channel. Be encouraged and inspired.

Photos, descriptions, links and more at

Express Yourself! Teens Aid Hurricane and Fire Displaced through Be the Star You Are!® Operation Disaster Relief

By Zahra Hasanian

When disaster strikes, it’s easy to send prayers, watch the news, or complain about how our world is becoming more and more dismal. It’s harder, but also much more rewarding, to send hope as well as concrete help.

This week, I drove to Napa and Solano counties with other Be the Star You Are volunteers and Voice America Radio personalities, Chelsea Pelchat and our Executive Director, Cynthia Brian, to deliver boxes of books to evacuation centers housing people who fled their homes after recent fires in Northern California. Those affected by the fire have been squatting in these centers for days without any source of entertainment. We figured that anyone, young or old, can always enjoy a good book.

Often, I think of myself as helpless against things as arbitrary and ruthless as natural disasters. But my attitude changed with every smile and thank you we received as we handed books to people in person. Sure, I had too much homework on Thursday night and too little time to do it. Yet, it’s important to realize that helping people who have lost everything is more important than a nightly assignment or any other daily task. We went to several different evacuation centers, and the kindness of the people at all the centers was astounding.

What I learned that day is that in the most dire of circumstances, our only source of hope is to help each other. Hope heals.

Zahra Hasanian is a teen volunteer with Be the Star You Are!r charity and a host/reporter on Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio broadcasting on the Voice America Kids Network Tuesdays at NOON PT.

If you’d like to donate items through Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 charity to help fire victims, please contact Operation Disaster Relief co-chairperson, Zahra Hasanain at (925) 899-4634. We need the following items: masks, diapers, feminine hygiene products, tissues, wipes, sanitizer, towels, books, art supplies, and journals. To make a financial donation, please visit or send a check to PO Box 376, Moraga, California 94556.

Fires in Wine Country


Whether you are involved in an earthquake, tornado, hurricane, flood, fire, or other calamity it will behoove you to have an emergency supply kit in your vehicle and a larger one in your home. For your home, make sure you know where all of your important documents and other items are that you don’t want to lose. Sometimes, as was the case with these California fires, a matter of minutes was the difference between life and death. Make copies of your passport, driver’s license, credit cards, and have some small bills available. Know where your chargers are for phones, tablets, and computers. Back up your computers and keep files in the cloud or off site.

For your car, fill a backpack or small case with the following:

First Aid kit

Work gloves


Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day)


Walking shoes

Peanut butter


Protein bars

Personal hygiene kit with toothbrush, soap, medications



Flashlight with extra batteries

Eating utensils

Breathing masks (Niosh-N95)

Clothing change

Other Ways to Help Without Making a Donation

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases

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:

6. BTSYA Logo Store:

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

8. Designer Clothes to Buy or Sell:

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

Links you can use for Be the Star You Are!®

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Thanks for supporting Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3


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