Who You Are Does Make A Difference

A teacher in New York decided to honor each of her seniors in high school by telling them the difference they each made. She called each student to the front of the class, one at a time.

First she told each one of them how they had made a difference to her and to the class. Then she presented each of them with a blue ribbon imprinted with gold letters, which read, “Who I Am Makes a Difference.”

Afterwards the teacher decided to do a class project to see what kind of impact recognition would have on a community. She gave each of the students three more ribbons and instructed them to go out and spread this acknowledgment ceremony. They were to follow up on the results, see who honored whom and report back to the class in about a week.

One of the boys in the class went to a junior executive in a nearby company and honored him for helping him with his career planning. He gave him a blue ribbon and put it on his shirt. Then he gave him two extra ribbons and said, “We’re doing a class project on recognition, and we’d like you to go out, find somebody to honor, give them a blue ribbon, then give them the extra blue ribbon so they can acknowledge a third person to keep this acknowledgment ceremony going. Then please report back to me and tell me what happened.

Later that day the junior executive went in to see his boss, who had been noted, by the way, as being kind of a grouchy fellow. He sat down with his boss and he told him that he deeply admired him for being a creative genius. The boss seemed very surprised. The junior executive asked him if he would accept the gift of the blue ribbon and would he give him permission to put it on him. His surprised boss said, “Well, sure.”

The junior executive took the blue ribbon and placed it right on his boss’s jacket above his heart. As he gave him the extra ribbon, he said, “Would you do me a favor? Would you take this extra ribbon and pass it on by honoring somebody else.” The young boy who first gave me the ribbons is doing a project in school and we want to keep this recognition ceremony going and find out how it affects people.

That night the boss came home to his 14-year-old son and sat him down. He said, “The most incredible thing happened to me today. I was in my office and one of the junior executives came in and told me he admired me and gave me a blue ribbon for being a creative genius. Imagine, He thinks I’m a creative genius. Then he put this blue ribbon that says, “Who I Am Makes a Difference” on my jacket above my heart. He gave me the extra ribbon and asked me to find somebody else to honor. As I was driving home tonight, I started thinking about whom I would honor with this ribbon and I thought about you. I want to honor you.

My days are really hectic and when I come home I don’t pay a lot of attention to you. Sometimes I scream at you for not getting good enough grades in school and for your bedroom being a mess, but somehow tonight, I just wanted to sit here and, well, just let you know that you do make a difference to me. Besides your mother, you are the most important person in my life. You’re a great kid and I love you.

The startled boy started to sob and sob, and he couldn’t stop crying. His whole body shook. He looked up at his father and said through his tears, “Dad, earlier tonight I sat in my room and wrote a letter to you and Mom explaining why I had killed myself and asking you to forgive me. I was going to commit suicide tonight after you were asleep. I just didn’t think you cared at all. The letter is upstairs. I don’t think I need it after all.

His father walked upstairs and found a heartfelt letter full of anguish and pain. The envelope was addressed, “Mom and Dad”.

The boss went back to work a changed man. He was no longer a grouch but made sure to let all his employees know that they made a difference. The junior executive helped several other young people with career planning and never forgot to let them know that they made a difference in his life…one being the boss’s son. The young boy and his classmates learned a valuable lesson.

Who you are DOES make a difference!. Start letting the people who matter to you know that they make a difference to you.

Joyce Blackwell

Thought provoking about how we influence and impact so many. Thanks for the renewed insight.


Wow, what a wonderful story, one of the best I’ve read in a long while. This is a great idea and so simple- just to acknowledge people. Not to puff them up with flattery, but to build them up with the truth. I think this can answer many things in a person’s life.
“Speak the truth in love… Give honor where it is due… Don’t just look for your own interests, but those of others as well… Love covers a multitude of wrongs.” (the Bible!)
Appreciation is yet another thing we need to multiply, and if we do our part, even something small can have great returns!


Interesting, but Im pretty sure this is not a true story!


The story is very inspiring.

I have read and forwarded to a couple of friends.


I am curious as to whether this is true or not. Can anybody clarify this for me?

Steve Clark

This story was sent to me by someone a long, long time ago. I don’t remember who sent it and I don’t recall that there was an author. I thought the readers of this blog would find value in reading and thinking about the message and how it might apply to their life.

People who read this generally fall into two categories. Sadly, there are those who are skeptics and won’t believe anything that can’t be documented or verified. And there are those who will read the story and even though it may not be able to be verified will reflect on the message and how it might apply to their life.

The point about who wrote it or whether it is a true story or not is irrelevant to the message. The real point is the “message” and how it can apply to your life.


This story is truly inspiring. It brought tears to my eyes.
I will share this with my local networking group and I will pass out a few blue ribbons.
I will let you know of our outcome.

Difference Makers

This story is our story, we are Difference Makers International. Helice “Sparky” Bridges is the author of this story. We are still spreading the “Who I Am Makes A Difference,” message of acknowledgment and empowering others to pay it forward. Thank you for sharing this story and please continue to, only we create the positive social change we wish to see.

Difference Makers

only we (everyone) have the ability to create the positive social change we wish to see…

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