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You will be remembered forever by the tracks you leave.”  Navajo saying


The one-year anniversary of the global pandemic lock-down has arrived. It will be remembered as a year of fear, sadness, grief, unemployment, civil unrest, political polarity, racial discrimination, global natural disasters, online learning, myriad business closings, mask wearing, sheltering-in-place, social distancing, and the devastating Covid-19 virus. These are twelve months that we all want to forget.

Yet, amidst the destruction, devastation, and death, heroes have emerged. Essential personnel including medical staff, store employees, firefighters, police, postal workers, drivers, construction, maintenance, transportation, and utility workers, farm laborers, repair technicians, TV and radio employees, restauranteurs, and many other persons showed up to jobs despite the risks. Teachers pivoted to teach on-line classes as parents scrambled to help their children with this new mode of education. People who could work from home transitioned to performing their tasks from bedrooms, basements, and kitchen tables. We will remember and commemorate their dedication and kindness for years to come.

One thing is clear.

We have all been in this together although apart.

At Be the Star You Are!®, with all in-person events cancelled, we pivoted to increasing, growing, and managing our virtual programs including the Star Teen Book Review Team, our two radio broadcasts, and assisting with disaster relief, despite minimal donations and financial loss. Our programs have helped thousands, returned amazing results, and been extremely successful.

Everyone is ready to get back to some semblance of normalcy. It is heartbreaking that over 525,000 Americans have died from the disease. As vaccinations roll out, infection rates will decline, and we will once again be able to gather. Getting vaccinated is not a political statement. Both former Republican President Trump and sitting Democratic President Biden were both vaccinated in January. It is critical that all Americans follow suit to overcome this deadly disease.

My hope is that every individual will understand the importance of getting vaccinated as soon as it is available. Even after vaccination, we must still be diligent, wear a mask, and practice social distancing until herd immunity has been accomplished. A welcome pronouncement from the CDC this week exclaimed that those who have had both doses of the Pfizer and Moderna or the single dose of Johnson and Johnson may get together indoors with one another. Hurray for the vaccines!

2021 may also become a year to be remembered as the next baby boom. I’m calling it the year of Covid kids. It’s been a full year since I’ve seen my daughter and six months since seeing my son and their spouses. Now that I have been vaccinated, I can’t wait for a real hug. Most young couples I know are currently pregnant. Like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, my children have announced that they are both expecting baby girls this summer. What a gift of new beginnings.

Joy and strength emerge from adversity. Let us all do our part to bring a smile to another and peace to our planet. It is almost spring, a time of rebirth and renewal.

What tracks have you left this year? Leave a legacy. Make a difference. Forget and Remember.

Sending virtual hugs and lucky shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day.

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556




Thanks to our volunteers, supporters, donors, and community Be the Star You Are!® is one of the first charities of 2021 to be named a TOP NON PROFIT. Congratulations to all,. Read reviews and witness what people are saying about BTSYA!


Be the Star You Are!® has also earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Guidestar/Candid:

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It may seem like reading is a straightforward task that is easy. Actually, you use many different skills together.  Together these skills lead to the goal of reading which is reading comprehension or understanding what you have read.

Reading comprehension can be challenging. Below are six essential skills needed to be able to comprehend what you have read. When kids have trouble with any of these, they can have trouble understanding what they are reading.

  1. 1. Decoding is vital in the reading process. Kids use this skill to sound out words they have heard before but have not yet seen written out. The ability to do that is the foundation for other reading skills.

Decoding relies on phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness lets you hear individual sounds in words (known as phonemes). It allows kids to play with sounds at the word and syllable level. Decoding also relies on connecting sounds to letters. Grasping the connection between a letter(s) and the sounds they typically make is important in “sounding out” words.

  1. 2. Fluency.  Kids need to instantly recognize words to be able to read fluently. Fluency speeds up the rate at which they can read and understand.

Sounding out or decoding every word will take a lot of effort. Word recognition is the ability to recognize the whole word instantly by sight.

  1. 3. Vocabulary.  To understand what you are reading, you have to understand most of the words in the text. Strong vocabulary is a key part of reading comprehension. Kids can learn comprehension through instruction but also everyday experience and also reading.
  1. 4. Sentence Construction and Cohesion.   Understanding how sentences are built and understanding the connection between ideas within and between sentences (cohesion) are important for understanding what one is reading.

Knowing how ideas link up in the sentence helps kids get meaning from passages and entire texts.  Coherence is the ability to connect ideas to other ideas in a piece of text.

  1. 5. Reasoning and Background Knowledge.  Most readers relate what they’ve read to what they know. It’s important to have background knowledge. They also need to “read between the lines” and see the meaning when it’s not spelled out literally.
  1. 6. Working Memory and Attention.   When kids read, attention lets them take in information from what they are reading. Working Memory allows them to hold on to that information and gain meaning and knowledge form what they are reading. Self-monitoring is also important as kids need to know when they do not understand something.

Stephanie Cogeos is the Coordinator of the Star Teen Book Review Team.

Read the reviews at


“Read, lead, succeed! To be a leader, you must be a reader!”


No one knows exactly where the beloved Irish blessing “May the Road Rise Up to Meet You” came from. Some trace it back to St. Patrick because it is similar to his other writings. This blessing was originally an Irish prayer, first written in the Irish Gaelic language and then translated into English.

In Ireland, people have a deep appreciation for all things nature and outdoors. The Celts often used wind, sun and rain as symbols, or to show how God is connected with His people. In the 4th century, St Patrick used the green shamrock as a metaphor to explain the Holy Trinity as he converted the Irish to Christianity. The word comes from the Irish seamrog, meaning young clover. It is the unofficial flower of Ireland. Wearing a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, has been a tradition.

Karen Kitchel who penned two chapters in the book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World, is the Kindness Coordinator volunteer with BTSYA. She serves meals to the homeless and is a volunteer teacher, writer, job coach, and mentor.

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“Communicate, collaborate, innovate.”

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LIVE on Wednesdays from 4-5pm PT, be entertained, informed, amused, and educated on StarStyle-Be the Star You Are!. Then be inspired and motivated on

Sundays from 3-4pm PT, it’s Express Yourself! Teen Radio with our Be the Star You Are! star teen hosts and reporters.

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You’ll meet authors, actors, artists, activists, musicians, poets, scientists, educators, and other creatives. Enjoy our upbeat, authentic, and fun radio parties on the Voice America Network Empowerment Channel or wherever you like to listen.

Visit for our line-up of guests.


We have suggestions for you to shop, save, and stay safe. Please use these web sites for all of your shopping essentials.

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1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases

2. Discounted books at Amazon:

3. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash at 3500+ popular online stores :

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4. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE:

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5. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” black tanks and books at StarStyle® Store:

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6. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundle.



DIRECT LINKS you can use for Be the Star You Are!®

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Remember and Forget. Leave a legacy. Wear green. 

Erin go Bragh!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

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For 2021: PLEASE make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:


May you find your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! Health and Happiness.

Be the Star You Are!501 c3 charity

PO Box 376

Moraga, Ca. 94556