I sat in on one of Coach Bultema’s AaronStrong presentations at Lake Minneola High School. To say I was moved would be an incredible understatement. Coach Bultema spoke with a remarkable openness about the misfortunes he has faced in his adult life. He talked about his estrangement from his mother and his desire to rebuild that relationship, only to learn she had committed suicide. He spoke about Aaron and the struggles his family went through and about the sudden death of his father – his best friend – of a heart attack. And through it all, Coach Bultema spoke about the importance of maintaining a positive outlook and approaching each day with the intent of making it a success. His ability to connect with the young people who seemed captivated by his story made his message all the more powerful.
It’s one thing to give a presentation where students are using it as an excuse to miss a class. It’s another to speak for nearly an hour and have countless students rush you to thank you for telling your story. That was the case with Coach Bultema. Boys and girls alike stood in line to shake his hand and thank him for the inspiration. From my perspective, as a parent of a Lake County Schools student, I would strongly suggest that every school – elementary, middle and high – make plans to host an AaronStrong presentation. For some kids, it could be impetus for future success.
The Daily Commercial
“AaronStrong has taught me how to stay motivated & motivate others. I have become more successful in school, in baseball, and in life. I seem to no longer struggle and find something positive in all things. From beginning to now, AaronStrong has positively affected my whole life…Thank you!”
Passionate, motivational, committed, and perseverance are just a few words that comes to mind when speaking of David Bultema. I had the honor of hiring Mr. Bultema as a US History teacher at Lake Minneola High School in 2011. His addition to the staff at Lake Minneola has been a true blessing.
I asked Mr. Bultema to share his story with the faculty of Lake Minneola High School. It was then that I realized his high levels of and sincerity genuineness. In spite of all the challenges that today’s students bring to the table, Mr. Bultema is committed to finding success in each every student.
Mr. Bultema has been given a gift from God to share his testimony. He has realized that every day is a gift
It is up to us to use our gift to be a blessing to others. That gift can be invested or wasted. Hours can be used or misused. Mr. Bultema, thank you for investing your gift to make a difference in so many lives.
I completely support the vision of The Aaron Strong Movement. Turning negatives into positives is desperately needed in our society and throughout the world.
Lake Minneola High School
“We are honored to have grown our relationship with the Aaronstrong foundation over the past year. As a Director of a youth baseball organization I find it imperative to partner with causes much bigger than our own and Aaronstrong’s perseverance, along with their core value for turning negatives into positives is a life lesson our group continues to carry with us.
Dave and I spoke about the depth of his story and complexity of the message openly with a concern for presenting this to a group of 10-13 year olds. Not only did the Aaronstrong presentation resonate with this group, it was empowering to us all on many levels to live our lives with GRIT. It was one of the more influential “real-life” examples I have ever been privileged to be a part of.
Having an opportunity to spend time with Dave and hear his passion for empowering others to set lofty goals and learning to have the fortitude to overcome challenges in our daily lives allows my small group to grow more cohesive and establish a foundation for personal development that will be used throughout our lives.
Without a doubt I am happy to share that because of Dave, Aaronstrong and their message we are better equipped to face adversity and fight for what matters to us.”
Chaos Baseball Club
"Dave truly has a gift to motivate. I've been a witness of his eagerness to enrich others lives for the last decade. Talk to any of his players, students, co-workers, or peers and you're going to get similar reactions - they would go to battle for that guy.
Dave has an ability to get down to the roots, where things really matter, and where influence can cause sincere change. Through Dave's life experiences and his enthusiasm to genuinely impact others in an uplifting manner, the world now has the opportunity to be positively impacted by Dave.
AaronStrong is something that I'm mindful of everyday for it's relevancy to impact all situations life throws my way. There's no doubt lives will be touched and the impact of AaronStrong will influence each and every community that embraces this movement."
Co-Owner Turn2 Sports and Performance
“My sophomore year was really rough for me. My parents were going through a nasty divorce and I had no motivation, until I was in your class and saw your motivational spirit every day. Your AaronStrong speeches really impacted me to try harder and become a better person. Thank you Mr. Bultema for pushing me to do what I want to do in life and teaching me about Grit. #AaronStong”
"Having Dave Bultema come in and share with our players and our staff his AaronStrong presentation is something that I would highly recommend for any team at any level. This is Apopka baseballs second straight year becoming AaronStrong and our program will continue to have Dave come in and speak to our players.
We know it is not a coincidence that in the last two years we have taken great strides in bringing back Apopka baseball and Dave Bultema and AarronStrong are a big part of that. This program teaches the players and coaches how to have G.R.I.T, how to respond when you get hit by adversity, and the proper path for student athletes not just be successful in their chosen sport but how to become successful young men and women. We have watched this group become a TEAM that doesn’t make excuses, uses G.R.I.T and responds properly when hit by adversity. This is in large part to Dave and AaronStrong."
Apopka High School
Head Baseball Coach
"When I first came to High School, I was determined to make the rest of my high school career a wonderful and successful experience. Prior to coming here, I had been distracted by my social life and mistakes that I made. After tenth grade, I tried to improve my character and be a much more optimistic person. Mr. Bultema, through his AaronStrong message and through encouraging grit, has helped me do this. When I felt like slacking off or my pessimism got to me, he would always seem to remind us- all of his classes- of Grit, and that in the long run, it does matter what we do here and now. I don't think I would be as focused or determined as I am without his encouraging message and I think others need to have the same opportunity to hear his AaronStrong message."
“Thank you for introducing me to #AaronStrong, it has really changed the way I view things in life. You have every reason to hate life, but you DON’T, you have such a passion for your life and inspiring others to have better lives of their own. It is truly inspirational.”
“I just wanted to say thank you for telling your story about what has happened in your life. How you changed a negative into a positive. When I was in the 8th grade, I lost my grandpa and my great grandpa in the same year. I was lost I was lost and didn’t have anybody to talk to about how I felt. But, when I heard your story it changed me. Now I’m changing my negative into a positive by living my life every day to honor them, like you have done. I will forever be AaronStrong!”
“Teens today are faced with challenges previous generations would have a difficult time imagining. Teenagers are desperate for a positive voice. They are desperate for mentors. They are desperate for hope.
David Bultema and the AaronStrong Foundation is that voice of hope. Through AaronStrong students learn the skills necessary for turning their negative experiences into positive outcomes. In essence—they learn GRIT.
I’ve been working with teens as a teacher for over 15 years and was thrilled to host David at First Academy-Leesburg. My students were captivated by his story and his challenge to face adversity. I heard nothing but positive comments—comments that demonstrated the strong impact of David’s message. I trust his passion for today’s students and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him as a motivational speaker for any student organization.”
Heather Iseminger, Teacher
"So glad I've been able to follow your story since high school! I tell you this so often, but I hope you do realize that you and Aaron's story had a huge impact on me during my senior year when I was struggling. However, I'm out stronger than ever, and more positive. Thanks for everything you do! I hope you see the impact you have on our lives."
Watching you build yourself back up through tragedy taught me a lot more than any book or counselor ever could. Showed me that whatever life throws at you, getting back up and finding the flicker of light in the darkness might not always be easy, but once you find it, and feed that light with positivity and hope, you'll be okay. Thank you!