United We Stand
Young men who return home soon after leaving the nest, often known as “boomerang kids”, are failing to launch partly as a result of not knowing the power of a strong supportive social network. Meaningful connection is often missing from their lives. The inability to connect in a way that creates rapport with others leaves them feeling isolated and alone. They tend to find it difficult to push past perceived mistakes and rise above their circumstances because they are feeling unsupported and alone. What these young men lack is a meaningful connection with others.
Each student rubs shoulders with other students who are experiencing similar challenges. As they become comfortable with others sharing experiences, they consider and become open to sharing their own experiences. In an environment that encourages openly owning their experience, their sense of loneliness dissipates and their confidence in their ability to make connections grows as they see themselves actually doing it. This is a powerful experience for a student who is used to feeling guarded, isolated and alone. They in turn learn how to be supportive of others. Staff facilitate these kinds of interactions and mediate when there are the inevitable clashes between different personalities in the room. A vital part of learning how to maintain connection with others is to accept their differences without feeling threatened or rejected by them. The power of a positive and supportive group of peers is incredible.
The student community interacts outside of structured program time as well. Students live in close proximity to each other and enjoy Forte Strong sponsored activities, as well as activities that they organize themselves. No community is without disputes and the Forte Strong student community is no exception. Forte Strong uses them as way to teach important communication skills. Disputes and disagreements are typically settled between students with coaching as needed, but if the students are unable to resolve the conflict, they have access to mediation from the staff. From watching others work through disagreements or working through disagreements themselves, students gain invaluable insights, skills and experience that they are then able to apply to other areas of their life.
Every organization must coordinate staff in a unified and effective way to achieve the goals of the organization. This is especially true for service based industries that must be able to respond quickly and effectively to uniquely unfolding needs of their clients. This is a sometimes bewilderingly complex undertaking. Forte Strong has solved this problem by cultivating a robust staff culture through training and encouraging staff to openly communicate about the work with the whole team. The Forte Strong Treatment Team of the clinicians and coaches meets regularly to coordinate the care of students and to discuss ideas on how to best reach each student. This culture is maintained partly through standardized processes and partly through careful selection and vetting staff, but most importantly it is maintained by the desire of staff to make a difference in the lives of the students they work with. Each parent and student benefits from this level of communication and coordination within the Treatment Team.