January 16, 2020 - Today, Mayor Tom Henry was joined by New Haven Mayor Steve McMichael, New Haven High School Principal Anna Murphy, East Allen County School Superintendent Marilyn S. Hissong, Chief of Student, Family and Community Engagement at Fort Wayne Community Schools, Debra Faye Williams-Robbins and Fort Wayne UNITED members led by Iric Headley to announce the launch of the Fort Wayne UNITED Tie Day Program.

New Haven High School will be the first school to participate in the Fort Wayne UNITED Tie Day Program on Fridays. It will be a discussion-based program that connects professional men and women from our local community with young minority males, through neckties and professional attire. Students participating in the program attend New Haven High School, yet they reside in Southeast Fort Wayne. Facilitators and leaders of the program will be charged with engaging student participants in an effort to build trust and relationships, empowering them to overcome life’s obstacles and challenges. Along with learning how to tie a necktie, the program will focus on helping the young men participating build character, perseverance and a strong desire to be successful, responsible and caring adults.

"While attending a Cities United conference a few years ago, I learned about the amazing Tie Day concept and knew it would complement the programs we’ve already established and raise our youth empowerment, education and engagement to the next level,” said Iric Headley. “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.”

On Tie Day Fridays, participating students will wear ties donated by local community leaders. New Haven High School administrators will wear ties that day as well. The program will feature community service opportunities and field trips, including higher learning day visits to local colleges and universities and participation in Fort Wayne UNITED’s Choose Success Initiative (C.S.I.), in partnership with ICON Family Organization, which will expose them to examples of the positive outcomes of good decisions and the negative consequences of poor decisions. Leaders will facilitate 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).

“As Mayor of the City of New Haven, I applaud the efforts of this new program. This is a tremendous opportunity for young men to tap into their potential and build on their own leadership skills,” said Mayor McMichael. “I look forward to offering my own leadership experiences and mentoring today’s youth as they develop into young leaders themselves and become a positive influence in their own community.”

“New Haven High School is very excited to be partnering with Fort Wayne UNITED, to promote a new program for our students. Tie Day Friday will be implemented this year for around 30 of our male students,” said New Haven High School Principal Anna Murphy. “Our students will be given this awesome opportunity to meet with mentors, partake in networking, and learn about how to handle various social situations. Students have already met in a large group session with Mr. Headley and have been measured for their shirts and ties. We are all looking forward to this great opportunity for our students.”

“I continue to be encouraged by the proactive efforts of Fort Wayne UNITED as they help reach young people in unique and meaningful ways,” said Mayor Henry. “I’m honored to be involved in partnerships that are designed to help individuals grow and succeed.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne, the Renaissance YMCA and City Life are partnering with Fort Wayne UNITED to provide the Tie Day Program. The Tie Day Program is sponsored by Papa John’s Pizza and Headwaters Church.

Fort Wayne UNITED is a Mayoral initiative from Mayor Tom Henry that places two national efforts, Cities United and My Brother's Keeper, under one umbrella. It is designed to answer the call to enhance opportunities, advance youth advocacy and help create a safer city for all, but more specifically for black men and boys. By bringing together a group of passionate and committed leaders, the initiative educates, informs and engages the community in an effort to make positive change one neighborhood at a time.