Making a Blue Ribbon difference in Bfn

Julie Steynberg, Ambassador of Difference Makers SA. PHOTO: HEIDRE MALGAS

Julie Steynberg from Pretoria is a difference maker of note and has turned out to be an example to many South Africans. “As many things in our lives, I believe things happen for a reason. I do a lot of key note speaking on purpose for life workshops,” she said.

In the years 2009 to 2011 Steynberg started a youth project in Polokwane and founded a junior city council project in which 17 schools took part. “A person came up to me to me after the workshop and said that they wanted to award me as a difference maker. An e-mail was thereafter sent to me about the international blue ribbon story.” she added.

Steynberg, who is from Pretoria explained that the Blue Ribbon Ceremony was established by Helice ‘Sparky’ Bridges, and it was born out of her desire to make a difference and to create a world where all people would feel connected, valued and loved. “The Blue Ribbon ceremony is when one of the ambassadors of Difference Makers sees the change a person is making in society, or the positive impact they have on people, they scout you, then honour you with a blue ribbon that says ‘Who I am makes a difference’. After one gets honoured with a blue ribbon an extra one is given to you where you then have to honour or nominate someone you think is making a difference with a blue ribbon,” she said.

Steynberg was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and told Bloemfontein Courant how she looked at the screens and decided she refused to die. This was going to be her turn-around for something big. She now is an ambassador for Difference Makers in South Africa. She started buying blue ribbons and launched a website where people could nominate the top 100 difference makers in South Africa with the aim of bringing awareness.

“Someone has to nominate you as a difference maker via the nomination form found on the Difference Makers website, and if your met the criteria you will be selected by the ambassador to feature as one of the top 100 difference makers in South Africa.”

What Steynberg and a chosen team want to do in Bloemfontein, is to start a youth programme. “The big dream is to make sure that where I work, live and learn, I will make people aware of the blue ribbon and I will use the blue ribbon as many times as I can,” she added.

She told Bloemfontein Courant the sideline focus of this programme is anti-bullying. “Instead of comparing, competing and hating, we want respect, love and dignity. We want to teach them things can be done differently with this beautiful tool. We want to teach the youth in Bloemfontein to start doing things differently, to start loving and appreciating people.”

More information about the youth programme is available on or contact Steynberg on 082-493-3569.

Heidre Malgas