Last Updated on May 22, 2008 by Paulette Brown-Hinds


Most parents are dream builders. They are responsible for designing the blueprints upon which their children begin to dream.  By desiring their children to become responsible, self-reliant, trustworthy, honest, capable, positive and self-confident, thousands of seeds are planted.   However, there is one seed reportedly proven, to be watered and nurtured by a parent throughout a child's life. That seed is self-esteem.
Self-esteem is an amazing life-sustaining ingredient one needs to discover their self-worth and self-confidence in life. According to bestselling author, Dr. Nathaniel Branden, how we feel about ourselves crucially affects virtually every aspect of our lives. The process begins in childhood.  So the question is?  What happens to one's dreams or self-worth, when one has no parents or parental guidance as a child? In many cases, they tragically dry up and fly away. They die and/or become buried. Over the years, finding value in one's life becomes a problem and self-worth turns into feeling inferior and blaming others. It's a roller coast ride staying in the game of life to survive.
This is the plight of a children living in California's orphanages-politically known as residential treatment facilities or group homes. Therefore, this is the plight of a child waiting to be adopted or for a loving foster family to call their own. In California, there are nearly 79,000 children living in the foster care system.   


Mayor Grace Vargas joins restaurant manager Bobby Tsigkounis and Lea Cash for Fundraising kick off.

In these facilities and group homes there are multiple tools designed to deal with behavioral problems, broken hearts and downright defiance.  However, to a large degree there is no fundamental programming designed to encourage the single endeavor of building self-esteem in children who have been tragically abused, neglected and abandoned.
BVN columnist, Lea Cash has started a non-profit organization named "The Brightest Star" to address that need in children living in these facilities. For two years, with the help of some special celebrity friends, Cash has been working together with educators, administrators, counselors and mental health professionals to inspire these kids.  She has continually invited those of celebrated status in the fields of art, television, music, sports, politics, motion picture, radio, theatre, media, education, community service, and entrepreneurialship to empower, motivate and encourage the youth to build dreams and dream big. 

In honor of National Foster Care Month, The Brightest Star, Inc is having a fundraiser hosted by restaurants: George's Burgers located at 605 S. Riverside Ave., and Johnny Shrimp Boat located at 334 S. Riverside Ave. Both restaurants are in Rialto. Customers are invited to purchase a "Star" for $1.00.  All proceeds will assist in building dreams and self-esteem for abused and abandoned children.  
Cash said, "I have always believed that children in America's foster care system, if given the chance to understand the power of having a dream, can and will set goals they can achieve. These children are facing a wide range of emotional issues and life changing challenges… and often their self-worth is none.  Coupled with anger and depression that causes aggressive behaviors, these kids' ability to dream and believe that their life is of value is gone.  And these are the kids leaving the foster care system at age 18, feeling lost, hopeless and alone."
If you would like to make a donation, please visit the website or stop by one of the two hosting restaurants and purchase a star.