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Fort Wayne UNITED launches Tie Day mentoring program

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - City leaders in Fort Wayne, New Haven and area school districts announced a new mentorship program aimed at connecting young minority students with working professionals.

As part of Fort Wayne UNITED, the Tie Day Program is designed to be a discussion-based program that connects area professionals with young minority students through neckties and work attire.

New Haven High School students who live on the southeast side of Fort Wayne will be the first to participate in the program. As the program grows, other school districts will take part.

Once students learn how to tie their donated neckties, they'll wear them on Tie Day Fridays.

The program will feature community service opportunities and field trips, including higher learning day visits to local colleges and universities.

Leaders will also conduct a conflict de-escalation and violence prevention workshop with students.

Top achieving students in the program will be given the opportunity to make a presentation at an annual Gathering of Leaders (EACS Board Meeting).

Fort Wayne UNITED Program Manager Iric Headley said he got the idea a few years ago attending a conference.

“I look forward to seeing the positive impact of the Tie Day Program on not only the participants, but on the community leaders who stepped up to provide support to these young males," Headley said.

One of the mentors taking part in the program said what you wear affects how others perceive you and can impact your self-esteem.

"When I get up in the morning and I put on a tie, it changes my mindset," Joe Jordan, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Fort Wayne said.

"I go from hanging out at home to putting on a tie. Now I'm going to do some work."

Lane Woodson, a Junior at New Haven High School, received a red necktie during Thursday's announcement.

Red is his favorite color, and Woodson said he is excited to have someone like Jordan in his corner.

"I feel like I can be more successful with his help," Woodson said.

Fort Wayne UNITED is a mayoral initiative that helps create opportunities and advance youth advocacy, specifically for black men and boys.

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

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