1,000 Ties Transforming Lives


ORLANDO, FL (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Being young, being black and being a boy can significantly impact all aspects of a person’s life. In fact, the challenges can start before school and can last a lifetime. African American boys are less likely to graduate from high school than their white peers. One in nine black men will be incarcerated in their lifetime compared to one in 23 white men. These stark percentages represent real lives at stake. That’s why one woman is teaching young boys how to make the most of their future, and she’s doing it one necktie at a time. 1,000 Ties

Jowan Smith, 1,000 Ties CEO, is on a mission to help young black boys learn to tie a tie.

Smith says, “1,000 ties is a nonprofit organization that I started to help eliminate the barriers for our young men by teaching them life skills. Starting with something as simple as a tie.”

8-year-old Montana says, “It’s very respectful and important.”

8-year-old Mason says, “Like if you go to the job interview or something, you need a tie for a job.”

11-year-old Dion says, “So they know that I’m serious about my business.”

Since 2019, 1,000 Ties has given away tens of thousands of ties, but that’s just the beginning. They pair young people with mentors throughout the Cleveland community.  12-year-old Jerimiah Fletcher meets with his mentor weekly.

Fletcher says, “He teaches me stuff about etiquette, clothing, food.”

“Those young African American males really don’t have a blueprint. They just need some guidance.” Says Mentor Ronnie Cannon.

With the help of 150 volunteers, they give kids experiences they may never have had before. Jowan’s son teaches the ins and outs of chess.

Trayvon Porter. CFO and Youth Liaison for 1000 Ties says, “Chess is just like life to where you have to think about what this move will lead to and what will come from that move and the consequences.”

The basics most young low-income black men may never know.

And whether that’s learning how to tie a tie or how to properly shake someone’s hand, these life-skills can be life-changing.

Smith explains, “It gives them a sense of confidence. It gives them a sense of, I am here, I am present.”

Jowan Smith believes timing is critical. Latest stats from Pew Research show that a young black boy is 3.5 times more likely to be suspended than white students. Only 65 percent graduate from high school, compared to 88 percent of their peers. Black men face unemployment twice that of white men and their income on average is $30,000, half of what they would make if they were white. Jowan is working to take 1,000 Ties national. If you would like more information, you can check out www.1000ties.net.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor, Kirk Manson, Videographer

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