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Ten months ago, I was a mom full of fear, sadness and despair. I kept ruminating over what we could have done differently with our son who had become distant, was a video game addict and had no interest in life. We had tried "Wilderness therapy"; with great results but they had recommended a Maintenance program prior to returning to college. The education consultant recommended one of the most expensive Aftercare programs in the country that she felt was worth the cost and we bought in. However things did not improve and actually got much worse. My husband searched the internet and came across Forte Strong and we hoped that they would help turn him around – it was our last hope as we were exhausting our funds. Given our experience of the past couple of years and the disappointing six months at the so called “Premier Aftercare Program” we felt it would take a miracle to turn our son around. Forte Strong was indeed that miracle. They achieved what really seemed impossible at the time.
Our precious son is now a happy, motivated, mature, thoughtful and considerate kid. Those are adjectives that thrill me to use and it could not have happened without Forte Strong. We just had the most wonderful Christmas get-together and felt like a warm loving united family for the first time in many years. Forte Strong has been a Godsend not only to our son but to us as parents. They have three simple rules which seem so straightforward but they work! The coaches and therapists are not only skilled but truly care. I have never seen a group of more dedicated people who tell the truth, coach you in responding to your child and more importantly teach the kids how to be self-sufficient.
We can’t thank Brook, Tyler, CJ and the other staff at Forte Strong enough for their efforts with our son. Brook has been amazing not just for our son but helped us grow immensely. Their results speak for themselves and the transformation we see is bordering on magical. I feel Forte Strong is the best possible place for troubled young boys/men trying to find their way. One of the things I vividly remember Brook telling us early on was that the change will be gradual and that at first it will be like a sapling that just sprouted – very frail, in need of nurturing. It was indeed but now we feel our son has come a long way and we feel he is strong enough to withstand the rigors of the college he is returning to.
It’s been almost 6 months since our son graduated from Forte Strong. I would like to tell you about his journey there. Our son is a very bright boy, but never reached his apparent potential or even came close to it. He never got into any real trouble - never did drugs or alcohol or any trouble with the law. He managed to get by in high school, but college was a different story. By the time he was 24 years old, he was living at home and appeared to have little direction. He was delivering pizzas, and doing fairly well at it. At home, he was not very communicative and spent almost all his free time on the computer. He seemed to lack direction. Our relationship with him was becoming strained.
Both we and our son thought Forte Strong sounded like a program that could help him. Here are some thoughts about our experience:
- Forte Strong will not change your son. What they will do is help your son to change himself. Most likely your son will start the program expecting positive change to be somehow “bestowed upon him”. If things go well, over time he will realize that he needs to initiate change and he will make some needed changes.
- Forte Strong will have weekly calls with you. The purpose is partly to update you on your son’s progress, but more importantly to work on the relationships you have with your son. This is done in various ways. First, they will help you understand the specific personality type your son has as well as your personality type and how that plays in your interactions. You will learn about the stages in personal change and where your son is on the spectrum at various times in the program. You will learn about parent – child adult interactions and how they play out with your son.
- You will learn about the need for you to let go. You can’t control his life. He must make his own decisions and live with the consequences.
- When he gets out of the program, he should live on his own and support himself. This is a very important step that both he and you will know is coming.
- Probably the best moment in the program for me was when we had a conversation with our son on Skype about 4 or 5 months into the program. I remember thinking “I have my son back”. We had an adult conversation and he was focused and thoughtful.
- At Forte Strong he came to appreciate all that we had done for him and our relationship with him has improved immensely.
For the last six months, our son has been living in his own apartment and supporting himself. He went back to delivering pizzas and is doing a great job. He is planning to go back to school sometime next year. He got a puppy for himself and is handling it very well and it has been good for him. He still spends too much time on the computer and still procrastinates, but those issues are not as bad as they were. He also has finally learned the benefit of 7-8 hours of sleep each night. I guess you would say he has officially “launched”!
Our son Kyle is highly intelligent but socially awkward and immature. He was bullied in Jr. High and High School and we thought he was handling it well. In hindsight, it deeply affected him, He didn't feel good about who he was so he was trying to be somebody he wasn't so he would "fit in." He would put on a facade of being "Mr. know it all" to get attention, and he didn't realize what he was doing was actually driving people away.
Kyle graduated from High School with honors and received several scholarships to major Universities. He began college studying Engineering. Within the second semester he became depressed and began to fail. He had fallen into the habit of "telling everyone what they wanted to hear" and not being honest with himself or anyone else. He began e-cigarettes and light drinking just to "fit in." He already had ADHD and now the depression kicked in due to his failures. In addition, his Grandfather had a stroke. They were very close, having spent every summer visiting him in Mississippi. This further contributed to his depression.
After much research we found Forte Strong. After visiting with Matt several times we felt like this was the right place. Kyle checked the program out himself and through the interview, he too was convinced it was the right place. Kyle was ready and recognized he needed help.
We have seen a huge shift. He has been off all medications for over 5 months and is working at a rewarding job. He has enrolled back in school and wants to finish his dream of becoming an Engineer. He has learned better social skills and built friendships. The transformation from a "boy" to a "young man" is astonishing. Matt and Brook have an amazing program. The coaches really know how to reach each young man in individual ways. The "tough love" earned them respect while providing incredible mentorship for Kyle. CJ, his assigned coach, has been a great mentor, and we are certain will be a great friend of Kyle's for life.
Brook has always been there for us as parents as well. This has been incredibly difficult for my husband and I, as it is easy to blame yourself and ask "what did I do wrong!" The educational weekly parents call was incredibly helpful and gave us insight into what we can do differently to support Kyle as he "grows up" to adulthood. They also helped us "let go" enough to realize that it is about Kyle and him finding what it is he wants to do with his life. Most importantly, Forte taught Kyle to deal with his failures and pick himself up and move on and try again. The balance of the program is fabulous, teaching life skills, financial responsibility, nutritional importance, and learning from each other.
I honestly wish there was a program like this for boys graduating 8th grade to take a "gap year" and attend this program before entering high school!
My son is 23 years old and graduated from Forte Strong about 6 months ago. He has made so many positive changes since he started in the program, I hardly recognize him. He was a very insecure young man who suffered from Social Anxiety Disorder and ADHD. He was always afraid to try new things and face any authority figure which might result in conflict. This meant getting a job was almost impossible for him. He was depressed and hanging out with a loser crowd when I found this program on-line and he agreed to go. The Forte Strong coaches immediately started him working on his confidence and building his self-esteem. In a very short time he was able to go on job interviews and promote himself so that companies wanted to hire him. He is now working in sales and traveling to other States with his current job.
I don't know if this will be his forever career, but I am confident he will learn valuable lessons that will help him grow into a successful and confident adult no matter what he decides to do in the future. He still has a lot to learn, but he is not afraid to go out in the world and tackle the challenges that await him. He never could have done this without the help of the Forte Strong coaches. This program not only helped my son, but it helped me too, encouraging me to let him make mistakes and experience the consequences from those mistakes. Sometimes you can love your child too much and actually hurt them when you are always bailing them out like I did. If you have a son who is having trouble finding his way into adulthood, I absolutely recommend Forte Strong, 100%!!!
My son Brian, has gone to Forte Strong and has made some real positive changes in his life, ones that my husband and I were not able to successfully influence on our own. Parents have a tendency to enable their children and in the long run it’s a quick fix but not a life changing behavior. Brook and Matt are very good at knowing when to intervene and when to let the students fall and experience the consequences of their decisions. We all know as parents if the child does not experience pain from their decisions they will never make the necessary changes. My son was not working at all and now he has the confidence to go out and get jobs. He began to use the word ‘confidence’ which I thought was a very positive compliment for the program. My son can be stubborn and sometimes does not want to learn from past mistakes, so it did not take long for the Forte Strong coaches to figure out how to approach and work with Brian.
That is also a plus for Forte strong. They treat each student individually to help solve these personal issues. And if a student does not want to be there or make the necessary changes Forte Strong will not let their decision be influenced by losing tuition if they feel having the student leave the program is the right thing to do. I am not sure how many schools would take that position which shows to me a certain ethical backbone that is to be admired. I know that Brook and Matt really care about my son and even though he has successfully graduated from the program, they still reach out to him and he’s still invited to the Forte Strong activities. The door is always open to him. Brian is at this point staying in the St. George area and Brook still stays in touch, encouraging him to participate and be involved in life and they are still there to give advice when Brian seeks it. This is a sincere gesture on their part which my husband and I truly appreciate. The program is small enough for the students to be treated warmly with them knowing that the Forte Strong coaches are there for them and on their side to become successful young adults. Forte Strong strives to give every student the necessary tools that he needs in order to solve their own personal problems now and in the future. Really what more can we ask for as parents?
My husband and I have 9 children. In October of our son Luke’s senior year, he dropped out of high school. He was depressed, alone, lonely and angry. Although he returned to school and got his diploma, he was still depressed and angry and without focus and without any viable goals. He was angry that he could not initiate his next step, his move out of the house and into the future. And he was angry at us because we were helpless to help him. I spent hours that turned into days that turned into months looking for a program for Luke. He was too old, he didn’t have problems serious enough for their program, he didn’t qualify for any number of reasons. I was without hope, but my husband persisted in looking and asking other programs if they knew of anything. In that search, there was a program that politely turned us down, but they gave us 4 recommendations.
As I anticipated, the first three did not work. The last suggestion was a program that they were not familiar with but had just recently heard about. It was Forte Strong. After visiting their website, we felt like we had finally found the program that we were looking for. Forte Strong has given our son hope for a future. It has given us our lives back, and it has given our family peace. I am quite certain that Luke has brought new challenges to Forte Strong, but they have been unfailingly persistent with him as well as us. As parents, they have asked us to trust them when they knew it would be difficult for us to do so. They have worked not only with Luke, but with us as well. They don’t just focus on Luke, although he is their main focus. They have put in countless hours counseling us, encouraging us and believing in us. They have spent countless hours encouraging us that Luke was going to become a different person, and we are watching that happen. I do not believe that we were bad parents, but at some point we had become ineffective parents. And I do believe we are different parents now, thanks to our experience with Brook and Matt at Forte Strong. It has not been an easy journey for any of us, but it has been an invaluable one for our whole family. If you are considering Forte Strong for your son, all I can tell you is that you are so very fortunate to have found them. Forte Strong gave us and our son something we had all lost; they gave us hope.
Our son Michael joined Forte Strong in May 2013 (coming from the UK). Michael has ADHD and has poor organizational skills and difficulties with social integration with his peers. Our main reasons for sending Michael to Forte Strong were to help him learn life skills, acquire appropriate ‘work experience’ and have him live away from home (amongst a group of his peers) with a level of remote supervision and mentorship, fostering development of personal autonomy prior to starting college in August of this year. Michael absolutely loves Forte Strong and has bonded strongly with Brook and Matt. He is sharing an apartment with 2 other boys and thoroughly enjoys the company and comradeship – a first for Michael who is not used to having friends. The boys are encouraged regarding personal hygiene and domestic chores along with planning meals, budgeting, taking it in turns to cook for the team, and other organizational/planning skills etc. Michael has also taken driving lessons and passed his theory test, he continues lessons aiming for passing the practical test.
He has learned to ride a scooter while he has been at Forte Strong quite an achievement for him acclimatizing to the ‘wrong side of the road’! The program at Forte Strong also includes regular exercise with planned hiking and nature trips aimed at challenging and developing not only physical fitness but important character qualities. Michael has enjoyed and indeed done well on these excursions including the successful completion of a 1 week wilderness first aid course. Although we cannot currently comment on Michael’s ‘post Forte Strong’ approach to life we are aware that he is progressing well and is achieving a number of the goals we had hoped for. Matt and Brook have been ideal mentors and role models to Michael as well as a significant source of support and friendship. Both of them are highly committed to the Forte Strong ethos and are able to achieve that enviable balance between mentor/supervisor and friend. The Forte Strong program is outstanding and could have been designed specifically for Michael. This reflects the degree of individuality and the level of personal assessment that goes into creating the right balance for each student. It is not a ‘one fits all’ approach. We would highly recommend Forte Strong to all parents looking to expedite the transition from fully supported, unmotivated, home living teen to autonomous, responsible self sufficient broadened horizon young adult.
When my son had been out of high school for four years, he was no closer to becoming an independent adult than when he began high school. He attempted to go to college a couple of times, got and lost many low paying, part-time jobs, found it impossible to budget time or money, disrespected his family’s attempts to help him, and could not see himself doing anything different in the next four years. He was miserable, yet seemed unwilling to break the cycle of defeat he had created for himself. Realizing his reluctance to move forward was a way to avoid taking ownership for his own life, his father and I began to look for a way to propel him forward beyond what we had been able to do as a family. This is when we found Forte Strong and Brook Price. The program seemed to be designed to meet our son’s need to “unlock his potential.”
We knew our son had many strengths: intelligence, creativity, easy going personality, and on and on, but we had not been successful finding ways to bring those strengths out. From the first days he spent with Forte Strong, our son was encouraged to change the way he thought about his time, money, transportation, and recreation, with the goal in mind of becoming a stronger man. This process was never easy for our son, as he was devoted to pleasure and dependent thinking when he arrived at Forte Strong. But after three months of struggle, he finally turned a corner in his acceptance that he is responsible for himself and he will face the consequences of his decisions-good and bad. Although many children learn lessons of cause and effect early in life, our son did not. The reasons for our son’s delayed independence and failure oriented thinking in the past are less important to him and us than the solution Forte Strong provides today. By sending him to work with Forte Strong, we chose not to continue repeating the same mistakes with our son, which were leading to the same results, and our whole family pushed forward toward new ways of thinking, acting, and reacting. In just 5 months my son is paying his own bills, taking pride in himself and his work ethic, and communicating with us in a positive, healthy way. He will be leaving the program soon to begin a life he is not only willing to own, but one he his is excited to live. Without Forte Strong he might have reached this summit on his own, but it would have taken years of his life to get there. With the help of Brook and Matt and all the mentors at Forte Strong, he is now honing his strengths to create a future for himself of fulfilled dreams and unlimited joys.
I found Brook and Forte Strong after several months of researching. Truthfully, I was at a loss and didn’t know where to turn anymore. I stumbled upon the site in a moment’s desperation. I picked up the phone and had an in depth conversation with Co-Founder Brook Price. I immediately knew this was the place for my son who had struggled with finding his place in this world battling with bipolar disorder and depression. The team at Forte Strong opened up my son’s eyes to a world of opportunities. Before arriving my son spent almost every waking hour in his room playing videogames or sleeping. He struggled to find a job and he struggled in college. He was unmotivated and disconnected. My son arrived in Utah in early July and started the program immediately. Exactly one week from the date he arrived and under the direction of his mentors he was able to find a job.
The mentors at Forte Strong gave him daily and weekly goals and he has been able to achieve them. For someone as timid and shy as my son, he has come a long way in only a couple months. He has learned how to ride a scooter, learned how to manage a budget, gone hiking, gone fishing and accomplished many things that he would have been unable to do without this program. In the more recent weeks, he has picked up an interest in veterinary school and is currently shadowing a veterinarian at a local animal clinic. For those of you worried about the financial aspect of this program, I can tell you that we are a middle class family struggling in today’s economic times and we have had to make some serious sacrifices in our family to send him to Forte Strong but it has been the best money we have ever spent. Every day is a new adventure for my son and he is on his way to becoming a strong and independent young man.
My son, Kevin has had a wonderful experience at Forte Strong. When I found their website, after searching for years, both Kevin and I were amazed at how perfectly suited it seemed to be for him. Every time Kevin and I spoke to Matthew, we felt more and more convinced that the program at Forte Strong was tailor made for him. He was very excited to go! After reading the other reviews, I have to echo everything the other parents have all said. Matthew and Brook are very dedicated and caring, as well as experienced, and were quite adept at identifying this niche for this very special part of the population of young men which has been under served. My son, of whom I am so proud, is brilliant and has multiple talents and capabilities, ready to be developed, launched, and applied. I have been a single parent for 16 years, so Kevin has not had the benefit of two parents, nor that of a strong male role model, and in fact has always had challenges resulting from a harsh and critical father.
Kevin had difficulties finding like minded peers who had avoided drugs and alcohol, as he did, which impacted his social interaction. Forte Strong is remarkably focused on all the areas in which Kevin could benefit from guidance. What has impressed me the most about Forte Strong is how they structure their program in such a positive framework, building on each student's strengths, instilling in each person a renewed confidence and a sense of purpose. Equally impressive is how they stress the importance of a healthy balance in all aspects of life. Their methodology of experiential instruction and individualized attention, based on their well developed pillars of importance, really postures these young men for success - it makes such perfect sense! When we embarked on this journey, Forte Strong readily recognized Kevin's tremendous potential and the application process itself set the wheels in motion for him. Prior to joining Forte Strong, it was as if Kevin was standing on a cliff, looking at friendships, college, graduate school, employment, and much more on the other side of a chasm, not knowing how to get to the other side. I know his enrollment at Forte Strong will help him build a strong bridge, over the course of his time there, to get to the other side so that he can reach whatever and wherever his heart desires. I've already seen great things happen! Thank you, Brook and Matthew, and all the other fine folks at Forte Strong, for helping my son and these other talented young men attain their goals. I am confident Kevin will emerge with all the tools he needs to be independent, happy, and successful! My sincerest gratitude goes out to each of you.