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  • Writer's pictureCynthia Brian

For Whom the Bell Tolls

“The rare individual who unselfishly tries to 

serve others has an enormous advantage - 

he or she has little competition.”

~ Andrew Carnegie

Holiday Letter from Founder and Executive Director, Cynthia Brian

Written in Havana Cuba, and published in 1940, For Whom the Bell Tolls is considered one of Ernest Hemingway’s best novels. I just returned from Cuba on a trip to support the people and had the opportunity to visit the Hotel Ambos Mundos where he holed up in room 511 to type his manuscript.  It’s obvious that Habana, (as Havana is called) was once a beautiful and elegant city but since the Cuban revolution of 1959, Habana has fallen on desperate times. Under state rule, average salaries are a mere $20-40 per month. Educated professionals including doctors, lawyers, and professors work additional jobs as taxi drivers, pie sellers, or rent rooms in their casas to make ends meet. Toilet paper and flushing toilets were scarce. Internet service was only available by purchasing a SIM card and attempting to email in a public square or park where the locals gathered for WIFI connections.

As Americans, we take so much for granted­­: clean, running water, electricity, connectivity. Despite the disasters, the political divide, and other nuisances, we have much for which to be grateful.  

As 2018 draws to a close, we take this opportunity to thank you for your support over this past year. Be the Star You Are!® became a 501 c3 in 1999 and since that time, we have consistently been rated as a Top Non Profit, even though we are 100% volunteer orchestrated with no salaried individuals. We have launched many successful outreach programs based on our mission to increase literacy and positive media messages while empowering women, families, and youth.

Make sure to make your end of year tax-deductible donation either through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES: or by sending a check to PO Box 376, Moraga, Ca. 94556

Don’t forget to #start with a smile if you use Amazon for your shopping by using this link .  Amazon gives back a small percentage to BTSYA.

It’s not too late to order autographed books and shirts that will come with extras directly from our store.  Proceeds benefit BTSYA.

Make sure to tune in to StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® radio every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT on the Voice America Network Empowerment Channel celebrating 21 years of weekly LIVE broadcasting with uplifting, life-changing, positive info-tainment and extraordinary guests!

Thank you for giving to BTSYA. We wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, or festive celebration that is meaningful to you. 

May the blessed bells of this holiday ring with joy and peace.

 We look forward to collaborating in 2019.

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 charity

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556


Visit with Santa

Bring the family to a marvelous Christmas event. Be the Star You Are!® volunteers will help kids with crafts and writing a letter to Santa. Free photos with Jolly St. Nick plus holiday snacks and warm drinks.

Saturday, December 15 from 11-3pm 

5 A Rent a Space 455 Moraga Rd. #F Moraga ca 94556-2208 (across from the Rheem Shopping Center)

The event is FREE. BTSYA is collecting donations for Operation Fire Disaster Relief.

Autographed books, humorous Christmas cards, lemons, and persimmons will be sold with the money benefitting BTSYA outreach programs. 

NEW DAY and TIME for Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio Express Yourself! Teen Radio can now be heard on Sundays, 3 pm Pt on the Voice America Network, Empowerment Channel. Every week the teens tackle tantalizing topics that resonate with youth. Guests from around the globe join the unfiltered, unedited, uncensored conversations.  Descriptions and guest info at Tune in at If you are a teen or know a teen interested in becoming a reporter, please email for information. Congratulations to our hosts and reporters on 7 years of excellence! It's All About the Giver by Karen KitchelSome of us love to choose gifts for others, while others dread the thought of finding the right gift for someone.  I believe gifts are meant to be tokens of appreciation or recognition of the role someone plays in our life. We can't dictate what the receiver does with our gift, so why not enjoy the knowledge that you have given your gift of time and thought into choosing a gift.  Instead of waiting to see or hear how very much they like what you have given, focus instead on the fact that you are a giver. And the world loves givers! It's also important to remember that gifts can come from unexpected places and are not always things. Karen Kitchel is a Community Volunteer who is passionate about scattering kindness. She previously served as President of Cheerful Givers, a nonprofit organization, and Director of BI University at BI Worldwide. She is currently a volunteer teacher, writer, coach, and mentor. She can be reached at karenkitchel@comcast.netor Simple Fundraiser Creation Link Are you on Facebook with lots of friends and want to create fundraisers for Be the Star You Are!®?  Use this link and make a difference: Shop for Holiday Gifts While Giving Back! If you would like to make a direct donation to our giving fund, please visit our PayPal page! WAYS TO HELP We appreciate a direct donation most of all via PAYPAL GIVING FUND at Checks can be sent to PO Box 376, Moraga, California 94556 There are other easy ways that assist our mission and don’t cost you a dime! 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: - be-the-star-you-are-inc 8. Designer Clothes to Buy or Sell: 9. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” T-shirts and tanks $19.99 at StarStyle® Store: 10. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundle. Thanks again from our house to your house! May your days be MERRY and BRIGHT! HAPPY DECEMBER DONATION TIME

BTSYA, PO Box 376, Moraga, California 94556


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