Helice Bridges, the "Who I Am Makes a Difference" blue ribbon acknowledgment lady, made famous by her original story in the very first Chicken Soup for the Soul book, hosted "A Salute to Our Blue Ribbon Champions" last night at University San Diego’s Joan Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. Operation for Hope honored San Diego Fire-Rescue Dept. Deputy Chief Perry Peake and Fire Engine 25 firefighters for their heroics in our devastating Firestorm 2007.

Others acknowledged on the evening’s program included Heart Book Series authors Adria Manary (author of More Mommy Magic) and Sheryl Roush (Heart of a Woman, Heart of a Mother, Heart of the Holidays, Sparkle-Tudes!), who autographed books, donating 50% of the proceeds to Difference Makers International.

In addition to Chicken Soup for the Soul, Helice is published in both Sparkle-Tudes! and Heart of a Woman.

In 1983, Helice “Sparky” Bridges quit her successful real estate business and founded Difference Makers International non-profit so that every child would grow up in a safe, supportive, nurturing environment in which they would know that who they are makes a difference. Today the “Who I Am Makes A Difference” Blue Ribbon Programs have impacted the lives of over 26 million people throughout the world. The self-esteem building Blue Ribbons are printed in 10 languages.