Hey gang, my name is Michael Rhodes, and I am the Director of Operations for this grand magazine you are reading. I just fin-ished packing up all the May/June magazines that needed to get out to all of our great advertisers, subscribers and distribution points. As I was doing this, I thought it was time to sit down and tell all you loyal and new-found readers about this here magazine.

The Awareness Magazine first hit the streets in the winter of 1993. It was the dream of Darby Davis, owner and editor, to have a publication that would focus on the positive aspects of life instead of all the negativity. The magazine was to focus on holistic and alternative health issues as well as environmental is-sues. Her idea was to let people know that there are other forms of treatment out there besides drugs and surgery. This pertains to animals as well as people. The hard part would be to keep this magazine mainstream so that everyone could benefit from the information.

When the magazine started more than three years ago, there was a full-time staff of ten. Over the years there have been a lot of changes. We have moved our office three times, and we've gone from a staff of ten to a hardworking staff of three, including Darby. With all the changes, we have stayed true to the dream and the magazine has grown better with each issue.

Our staff now includes Robert Ross, the wizard of advertising sales in San Diego county. His mission is to put together an entire section for his area. This means editorial and reviews, as well as advertising, and anything else he can come up with. It's a big job, but Robert is the man to do it.

My job as Director of Operations is to make sure we have as many advertisers as we need to publish each issue. You see, we have no financial backing, we are completely advertiser sup- ported. So if you wondered why our size sometimes changes from issue to issue, it is all dependent on the amount of advertising Robert and I sell each issue. The more advertising we sell, the more editorial we can put in and the more pages we can have. I am also responsible for the day to day running of the magazine, making sure all reviews, editorial and advertising are in by the deadline date, all distribution points have enough magazines, and so on.

Then there is Darby Davis, our ever loving leader. She is the one who makes it all happen. Darby, and Darby alone, puts the magazine together . . . making sure all the advertising fits and most importantly, it all makes sense. But most of all, she has to deal with my endless "Is it too late for another . . ." or "Is it possible to. . ." without strangling me, even though she threatens me on a regular daily basis. It is not unusual for Darby to work until eight or nine o'clock and put in full days on Saturdays and Sundays. This magazine is truly a mission of love and caring be- cause she sure doesn't make any money from it.

We are the staff, but we are not the magazine. Awareness Magazine would not be around if it were not for all the loyal supporters and friends. To name a few mainstays, Sandy Perkins, who not only advertises but also does all of our book reviews, Christopher Thornhill, our seven-year-old "kid reporter", Chuck Diliberto, our music reviewer, and Paula Moss, our video reviewer. And then there is Kay Walburger, our P.R. person who also writes Self Esteem Sampler, and of course all the other writers and artists who donate their time, energy and work to the magazine, as well as the advertisers who support the magazine with their ads. There are way too many to list, so we say one big THANKS to all of you.

Now, you may be wondering what you can do as a reader to help our cause. Believe it or not, there are many things you CAN do. First off, starting a few issues ago,- we began getting letters from readers telling us how much they love the magazine and how it has helped them in their life. You may not think this means a whole lot, but it does. It tells us people care about what we are doing. Many times, Darby and I have sat back and asked, "Why do we even bother?" Then we get one of your letters, and it answers our questions because it does matter.

You can also help support us by buying a subscription to the magazine. It is only $18 a year to have Awareness delivered to your doorstep. It's not much, but every little bit helps, and if a lot of people start buying subscriptions, it will help to keep the size of the magazine the same or even larger. You can even give a gift subscription to a friend or family member anywhere in the country.

You can also help us by finding new distribution locations. If you know of a location where we should be, please give me a call with the name and phone number so that I can contact them. Remember, the more people who become Aware of us, the better our chances of growing.

The best way to help is, of course, to advertise with us if you have your own company, or if you work for a company that would fit into our magazine. If you have an event or class, advertise it through us. Everything helps.

So yes, you can help in many ways and you can make a difference. It's as easy as telling a friend to read the Awareness Magazine. We welcome editorial contributions and suggestions.

Remember . . . It all begins
                                       with AWARENESS!

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