ARK. (KTHV) - A local basketball legend helped change lives today with the start of a 10-city college and career readiness tour.
Had2SOAR is a program working to prepare at-risk youth for entry into the workforce with "soft skills" that will lead to future success.
Those in attendance admitted they were hesitant to spend a Saturday learning, but were all happy they did.
"Sidney and I believe you can make it from anywhere,” said Ron Watson, Founder and President of Had2SOAR.
He’s approaching mentorship with a more hands-on approach.
"As they become more engaged, get the information and see people care about their success, they become energized,” said, Sidney Moncrief, former Arkansas Razorback and NBA star.
Moncrief heads Moncrief Game Changer Inc. which has formed an alliance with Had2SOAR.
The Had2SOAR forum aims to reduce high school dropout rates and focuses on the value of skills not normally a part of school curriculum.
“Things like empathy, flexibility, teamwork, work ethic, communication and conflict resolution are very important soft skills,” said Moncrief.
He thinks things like professional branding and financial literacy will help set youth apart from the competition.
“As technology continues to evolve, people lose their jobs and are replaced by machinery,” Moncrief said.
Participants range from high school and college students, to graduates with a GED and parents.
“This is for real, we want to know what your tomorrow is going to look like,” Watson added.
He’s hoping to encourage young people everywhere to finish high school.
“We want them to bring themselves, an open mind, a willingness to learn and take in everything we're giving you. These are things that will happen in your life,” said Watson.
Through group activities, students and parents get to practice goal setting, building rapport and the confidence needed to be great.
“We also have a parental section that emphasizes how parents can perform at a higher level and become better people, in addition to how they can better support students,” said Moncrief.
The tour will continue over the next three and half months with stops in Pine Bluff, Little Rock, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Conway, Helena/West Helena and the Blytheville/West Memphis area.
For more info on registration for a stop in your area visit their website.