“I have never seen our student body at Winton Woods High School so captivated by a speaker. He and his staff are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of students and are people and results driven.”
Jen Henson, Owner and Tutor at ACT Prep, Winton Woods High School

Dream Builders University - Testimonials

What Administrators Say About Dream Builders

“Mr. Ward held the audience captive as he shared his personal life experiences as an athlete growing up in urban Cincinnati and relating those experiences to the social and emotional needs of today’s students. He lives by the quote “Life is teaching but few are taking notes.”

I have been in many sessions with educators and can say Mr. Ward’s engaging, humorous yet, heart felt presentation garnered the attention of all in the room. Question and Answer time at the end of the meeting garnered much praise and interest from the audience. After the session, Mr. Ward continued to have a number of educators come up front wanting to talk with him personally. It was evident he encouraged and challenged us all.

It has been a blessing to get to know LaMarque’ and develop the beginning of a life-long friendship. I have found him to be a man of the highest integrity and passion for helping people strengthen their heart attitudes by building their dreams.”

Dean D. Lynch, Superintendent, Blanchester Local Schools

“This week has proven to be a definite high point in my career. Our leadership team had the pleasure of having Mr. L. Kobie Wilkerson present a staff development course entitled Creating Cultures of Accountability: Communities That Sustain Achievement by Impacting Instructional Practice and Praxis with a Focus on Relevance, Relationships, and Rigor.

Mr. Wilkerson made promises at the onset of the course and by the end he had more than delivered on them. In no time, my colleagues and I were on a journey to self discovery and learning how to genuinely connect with one another and our students. As icing to this already delicious cake, Mr. Wilkerson brought two of his children’s books “Fred and Mary” and “Queen Infinity”– which are as much a treat to adults as they are certain to be with children.

I consider this to be the most worthwhile staff development experiences I have ever had the pleasure of attending! Should you decide to have Mr. Wilkerson visit your school, and you should, it will undoubtedly be a rewarding, inspiring experience which is sure to assist in propelling your faculty and staff to the next level of achievement in both their personal and professional lives.

I cannot wait to implement all that I have learned!”

Pamela James, 21 Year Veteran Teacher, 5th GradeCity Schools of Decatur, GA, Creating Cultures of Accountability

“The Dream Team worked diligently to adapt their program in several different ways in order to meet the needs of our residents. They implemented a very basic version of dream building and character development in order to effectively deliver the message to our latency age children. They also adapted the program to be self-esteem oriented in order to engage our adolescent girls who struggle with self-image and positive concepts of self. The group was also taken in the direction of teaching leadership skills in order to develop strong and confident leaders. The residents were all given the opportunity to practice what they had learned over the course of the group with games and activities, fashion shows and leading groups for their peers. The residents were engaged and looked forward to the groups each week.

Dream Building 101 is a great program for all youth in order to help them develop strong character and leadership skills for the future. This group inspired our residents to dream big in order to achieve their greatest potential. The curriculum is versatile and great for any age or setting.”

Tricia Heider, Recreation Therapist, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

“I had the privilege of being a participant in one of Mr. LaMarque Wards motivational Dream Builders University sessions. He was keynote speaker at my schools professional development boot camp for teachers and staff. Mr. Wards personal story of overcoming obstacles and challenges in his life was motivating for all. My school is an urban charter school encompassing grades K-12 in the West End of Cincinnati. His message of discipline and optimism to overcome urban challenges especially hit home for us. He reinforced with the teaching staff that he was a living example of teachers not quitting or giving up. He inspired us to live up to the promise to not give up on any student this school year.

His session also provided faculty with invaluable tools to relationship building through cultural competency. He presented ways that we can be culturally biased without even knowing it. Indigenous learning was a term that he presented that was especially relevant. He reminded everyone that people from different cultures have various skill sets that we have to utilize even if they are different than what the mainstream perceives as valuable. Through Blooms taxonomy he reminded faculty about appropriate pedagogy that we should utilize to reach all learners and their skill level. We must give students a chance to let their indigenous learning skills shine. He stressed that beginning with the end in mind we must devote our learning activities to them. Everything we do on a daily basis should help push students towards those goals.

I would highly recommend Mr. Ward and his Dream Builders Universitys powerful message to any organization that works with youth and especially urban clients.”

David Mackzum Ed. D., West End of Cincinnati Boot Camp

“On behalf of the Utah State Office of Education, I wish to extend our sincere thanks and deep appreciation to you for presenting at the Annual Utah Student Services Conference on March 18, 2013 in St. George, Utah. The 150 + attendees benefited from the extremely valuable information you provided. Your insights and keen perspectives on the many aspects of dealing with our youth no doubt brought a new understanding to a variety of educators on hand. Better understanding and knowledge of our youth will help us better understand how we all can be more effective Dream Builders for our youth.”

 Verne C. Larson, Utah State Office of Education

“I have never seen our student body at Winton Woods High School (WWHS) so captivated by a speaker. Mr. Ward knows how to capture a crowd and keep their attention all the while teaching them life skills. He was honest, engaging , and humorous in the delivery of his message. The students with whom Mr. Ward and his staff met in a small-group setting were always eager to attend his class. He and his staff are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of students and are people and results driven. I am glad to have met Mr. Ward and his staff; I look forward to seeing the difference they make in the lives of students from all walks of life.”

Jen Henson, Owner and Tutor at ACT Prep, Winton Woods High School

“Our students face a difficult and frustrating world. Success will be determined by an positive approach toward challenges faces. I believe that the message from LaMarque, Pat, and Kobe provided a mechanism by which our students can reshape their vision of the future. Many of the presentation were done with at-risk students who were especially involved. Since last week I have heard from many administrators, teachers, and parents who have lauded the district efforts in bringing these Dream Builders to our schools.”

 J. Lynn Jones, Nebo School District

“The messages presented fit PERFECTLY with what we are trying to accomplish with the Leader in Me program.  We want our students to see within them the ability as well as the hope to be able to accomplish their dreams.  The presenters were very well prepared and related well with our students and our staff.  The messages presented helped reinforce what we have been telling our students.  Thanks again for your visit!!”

 Rob Keddington, Principal, Park Elementary

“Pat and LaMarque’s leadership styles and personalities created a safe environment for our staff members to share concerns and communicate ideas.  They related well to our situations and to the community surrounding Wesley Chapel Mission Center.

They helped all of our staff members see that each one is called by God to be where we are right now and to serve accordingly.  They inspired us and also presented tangible ways for us to improve our ministry, individually and collectively.  We came away from the day wanting more.  As we returned to Wesley Chapel Mission Center the following week, we sensed new energy individually and as a team.  We truly were renewed.  Thanks be to God for this blessing!”

  Becky Costello, Director, Wesley Chapel Mission Center

“LaMarque Ward from Dream Builders University presented to Student Services Directors from school districts in Utah. His passion, energy and professionalism in his presentation was outstanding.  The message he presents based on his life’s story, resonates with any one that has worked with students at risk.  He is a leader and dream builder of many talents, with the capacity to get the message across, of, students need to build and achieve dreams.”

Sydney H. Davies PhD, Researcher, Utah State University

“The multiple sessions facilitated by the Pat and LaMarque’  were engaging, thought provoking, and enlightening.  It is always good to compare notes and have strong conversation with those who have a passion for helping young people.  This is an understatement in describing the members of the Dream Team.  The energy and positive spirit they provide has been a well needed recharge of frequently drained battery.”

  Erik Thomas, College Access Specialist, GearUp Program, University of Cincinnati

“The area that I can see the Carpenter Place girls responding to the most is the area of “Vision.” It is difficult for our girls to typically look outside of their circumstance, or being able to themselves in a position to succeed, or even dream. The beginning of healing starts with hope, and hope begins with vision. The thought of a future free from the pain and affliction that has been much of their lives, is an amazing blessing.

Thank you for helping to restore hope to our girls at Carpenter Place!”

  Ben Zickafoose, CEO, Carpenter Place 

“Mr. LaMarque D. Ward Sr., Founder of Dream Builders University, is a phenomenal motivational speaker and has served youth in many capacities. As a former employee of the Cincinnati Job Corps Academy he was quiet; yet tenacious in his mission to build dreams and change lives. He is passionate in his quest to alter the vision and perspective for success among the population we serve; diligent and consistent with his message of creating greatness in all. He is guided by the principles of education (through coaching and mentoring) and inspiring others despite the circumstances.

Mr. Ward not only changed student lives but he sparked new interests in staff through a newly developed Leadership Exploration Program (LEP). He was responsible for developing personal and professional growth within staff and did well. The program has not functioned with the same enthusiasm in his absence.

Upon resigning his position, he volunteered time as a trainer so that he could continue to teach those principles he holds dear. In September, 2014, he was called to task as A facilitator for the center’s “On Your Side” Conference & Training event at the University of Cincinnati for over 75 participants. After a successful and highly-favored response, Mr. Ward agreed to an encore follow-up presentation in December where he was THE guest speaker and facilitator. His uncanny ability to connect real-world with academia is timeless and an invaluable skill to possess.

Simply stated, he is a gifted coach, teacher, trainer and mentor. The Cincinnati Job Corps Academy is blessed to have a resource like him in our corner as we continue our mission of Changing Lives One Panther at a Time.”

 Beverly D. Williams, M, ABS, Center Director, Cincinnati Job Corps/Management Training Corporation

“Passion and Purpose” was a thought provoking experience! LaMarque is a captivating speaker who isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of the traditional lecture. His experience resulted in an engaging discussion which demanded the audience dig deep within themselves to examine the driving forces to their actions, behaviors, and attitudes – to know our passion, our purpose, our legacy.

LaMarque uncovered the fundamental elements of servant leadership; showing his audience what it truly means to “care”.

He wouldn’t let us settle for superficial “feel good” concepts to improve our leadership. Instead, he shared simple, practical, and effective techniques which challenged us to transform our passion into everyday actions and behaviors.

I left our discussion feeling invigorated, insightful, and ….a little envyous. He makes it seem so simple – and it really can be!

 Lee Bock, Evening Production ManagerHydro Systems Co.

“LaMarque brought “Purpose and Passion” to our production leads. He was diligent about understanding our business as well as the needs of the participants and the goals for the program he delivered. LaMarque provided a reflective and thought provoking experience that had everyone involved and had an impact personally to many of the individuals attending. Our evaluations from participants reflected the importance of taking actions to determine what each had to offer both from a leadership and legacy standpoint. LaMarque provided active approaches for building self esteem, improving interactions, demonstrating caring, and communicating strengths and vulnerabilities to the team. Individuals walked away with concrete ways to invest in growing others and making a difference. His open ended questions were excellent for engaging active dialogue. LaMarque’s program demonstrates the importance of fostering an environment that encourages us to further support and enable their success.”

 Gail J. Love M.Ed. SPHR RCC, Director Organizational Development, Hydro Systems Co.

“LaMarque Ward and Dream Builder’s University are an elite team of youth building professionals that have a passion for changing lives. Their work impacts the lives of these young adults through workshops that relate to the lifestyles of today’s generation. This team is energetic and eager to make a difference. LaMarque Ward is a proven leader, his vision and dedication to impacting the community is the driving force that has ignited this movement to change generations by charging young adults to not only build their dreams, but work hard so that they can live their dreams. I highly recommend that you enlist the talents of LaMarque Ward and his Dream Building Team.”

 Christopher Gentry, Office Administration Instructor, Cincinnati Job Corps Center

“Dream Builders University has a very specific mission which in part focuses on inspiring schools to deliver their highest potential to humanity. I believe with the serious outreach that was provided to the many schools that participated and the enthusiastic involvement from the young men involved, your vision was realized. The potential that was expressed in the groups during the Conference was limitless and now the young men as well as the schools involved have an organization to stand by their side to help guide them to the development of this potential.

Finally, what the Dream Builders University has done with the Men of Promise Conference has transformed many young men in ways that may not be fully understood now, but the future development was apparent in their eyes. I was able to see firsthand the effect of what inspiration, coupled with a strategic plan could do. Thank you again for the opportunity to serve and I look forward to future events.”

 Albert L. Long Jr. J.D., Training Specialist, Talbert House, Men of Promise

“It is with great pleasure that I write this letter to express my gratitude for and admiration of L. Kobie Wilkerson. As a 6th Grade Language Arts Teacher at Northwest Middle School in Kansas City, KS, I can say with certainty Mr. Wilkerson has provided the faculty and staff members at Northwest with the encouragement and excitement needed to successfully facilitate learning in an urban school environment.

Mr. Wilkerson has been a large part of establishing our school environment since before this school year began. Our entire teaching staff attended a summer retreat in which Mr. Wilkerson was our facilitator. We participated in activities which allowed us to unleash our full potential as agents of change. He spoke in great detail about how “learning happens in a conversation.” With Mr. Wilkerson’s assistance, our school has had a lot of opportunities to learn and grow through our open conversations during staff development. He has shifted our thinking and beliefs and has been a catalyst for our school to focus on being the best middle school in our district.

Mr. Wilkerson has helped in my classroom with some of my students that have struggled in a classroom environment. After these students have had an opportunity to speak with Mr. Wilkerson, I have noticed a positive change in their classroom behavior. Mr. Wilkerson has coached me on developing a positive learning environment for my students and helped me gain the skills needed to consistently provide this kind of environment for them.

It is my belief that Mr. Wilkerson is a great coach and a unique asset to any school he is a part of. Please feel free to contact me should you need any additional information.”

 Dana Caroll, 6th Grade Language Arts Teacher, Northwest Middle School Kansas City, KS, Unleashing Full Potential as Agents of Change

“I am pleased to have the opportunity to write a letter of commendation on behalf of Kobie Wilkerson. Mr. Wilkerson serves as an educational consultant to Northwest Middle School in Kansas City, Kansas (2010 – 2011) where I am a 6th Grade Reading teacher.

I am relatively new to teaching, although – using my MBA degree – I practiced marketing in the Kansas City metro area for over 30 years, holding a variety of positions in both for-profit and nonprofit milieus, large and small. As such, I have worked with many consultants serving in many capacities and believe my comments about Mr. Wilkerson reflect this depth of experience.

I am in no position to offer comments relative to Mr. Wilkerson’s effectiveness as a coach to my school’s administrators because I have not been in a position to observe his coaching firsthand. I can comment, however, that in all my dealings with Mr. Wilkerson (at staff retreats, in-service training, and during his observations in my classroom), I have found him to be uncommonly genial and gentle… an arresting and compelling approach for an individual tall in stature and personality.

Mr. Wilkerson’s approach is to offer instructional strategy to teachers with unflagging courtesy and respect for both teacher and students. In this, he is a perfect complement to our Principal, Dr. Donnie Mitchell, who shares these same qualities. I would expect that these shared values allow them to work very effectively and efficiently together.

Northwest Middle School is a school coming off improvement plan during a national budget crisis that is unparalleled in the service experience of our administrators and teachers. It is my understanding that NWMS has the lowest socio-economic stats of any school in the state of Kansas. Thus, our challenge there goes well beyond the budget issues facing all schools to address a poverty mentality in many students and their caregivers that places them at risk of not becoming fully-productive, healthy, happy citizens. Mr. Wilkerson deeply understands and appreciates the challenge of this context and, in my opinion, correctly approaches it on the basis of love and relationships. It is this wellspring of true commitment, affection/love and respect that makes him so unusual and effective in this complex environment.

Anyone can read books on instructional strategies. Most anybody can communicate these strategies to other adults. Few can communicate them in ways that truly inspire, refresh and re-generate… reminding you exactly why you show up to teach every day. Teachers, as the “front line” in this battle (not hyperbole) to turn lives around through moral and academic education, need the kind of “support of the spirit” that Mr. Wilkerson and Dr. Mitchell provide through abundant personal notes, their generous availability, zillions of donuts and gallons of orange juice, recognition’s of all kind and – most of all – their bottomless store of good humor. Mr. Wilkerson is a unique educational asset. No doubt about it.”

 Susan Moehl, 6th Grade Reading Teacher, Northwest Middle School Kansas City, KS, Instructional Strategy with Unflagging Courtesy and Respect

“Our program, “Nebo Title VII Indian Education” was fortunate to host LaMarque D. Ward as a presenter to students and parents in our district. He was able to give an inspiring message to all six groups he presented to in the two days he was here.  He was authentic, honest and charismatic in each presentation.   His ability to connect with the group and tailor his message was exceptional.

At the Family Night, his Dream Board activity was well received. The parents gave many positive comments and were particularly excited about the parent book and the interactive experience.  His enthusiastic message to the administration about working together as team to help Native students was applauded.  One of the administrators commented, “It was a shot in the arm!” Many of the students who attended his student presentation commented on how energizing it was for them to hear his story, his struggle, and, most importantly, the lessons learned.  It was affirming and empowering for the each student groups he presented to.

Mr. Ward’s passion for helping youth and parents achieve by dreaming BIG is much needed in today’s world.  Our program highly recommends LaMarque D. Ward.  He would bring enthusiasm, a wealth of knowledge and real life wisdom to any group. Please do not hesitate to contact our program to provide you with any further information regarding Mr. Ward.

 Eileen Quintana, Program Manager, Nebo Title VII, “A Shot in the Arm”