ST. GEORGE — Matthew Arrington and Brook Price began their business, Forte Strong, in August 2011 after deciding to follow their dream of helping young men learn important life skills and find a way to succeed in the real world.
The co-founders had help getting started with this business idea from the Dixie Business Alliance, which provided coaching and advice on how to start up the business.
Still located in the Dixie State Business Alliance building near Dixie State College, Forte Strong is a company that strives to help young adult males, usually ages 18 to 26, who are experiencing a “failure to launch,” Arrington said.
“These are the young men who have no confidence and no direction,” he said. “Everyone knows someone that is like this. It’s becoming an epidemic and no one is really focusing on this problem.”
Price said he first became interested in helping young men who are struggling to gain independence when he was serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. He started working with troubled youth soon after his time in the service and found that he was learning a lot about the business in working at various troubled youth facilities.
“I learned a lot but it still felt like there was something still missing (from these programs,)” he said. “We wanted to come up with something to focus on young men in particular who are avoiding responsibility.”
However, Price said he noticed a problem when the young men with underdeveloped social skills or the inability to strive for success were placed with other youths who were in the facilities because of violent tendencies and criminal histories.
That was when Price and Arrington decided to go into business together to find a better solution for the young men who needed help with their social skills and with finding their way toward becoming independent adults.
“We’ve taken what we’ve learned and now we really want to help kids find their purpose,” he said.
So far, the team has mostly worked with parents and young men from outside the state and across the country. But, they are looking to help local families as well, Arrington said.
The two decided to focus on helping only young adult males because of statistical evidence showing that compared to their female counterparts, young men are more likely to drop out of high school, are more likely to suffer from a lack of social skills and are less likely to enroll in some type of higher education, Arrington said.
Taking more of a “coaching” role than a counseling one, the pair works with each student to help them find their passions and work toward independent living in a four- to six-month time frame, Arrington said.
“We discuss their passions and how we are going to make it a reality,” he said. “Everything we do is about strength building.”
Forte Strong guarantees that each of its students will be able to be independent at the end of the program, Arrington said.
“It starts with action first,” he said.
Price said it is also important that each of the students has a strong support system in order to succeed.
“We work with the parents just as much as we do the students,” he said.
Price said it is important for parents to be realistic about their son’s struggles to become independent in order to get them the help they need.
“A lot of parents are hesitant to accept that their son fits into that failure to launch category,” he said. “It’s OK to admit there is a problem and to get them that help.”
So far the business has been successful in helping young men from throughout the country.
For information about Forte Strong, visit www.fortestrong.com.
The Spectrum – St. George, Utah
Author: Sadlier, Samantha
Date: Jan 20, 2013