Tying Up Your Attire in Tyler

Young Men in Foster Care Learn Fashion Basics at Necktie Workshop

Fashion becomes functional at Tying Up Your Attire hosted by BCFS-Tyler

Twenty-eight young men in the foster care system attended the Tying Up Your Attire workshop held by BCFS Health and Human Services-Tyler on Saturday, December 10, at the Shiloh Road Church of Christ. The purpose of the workshop was simple but profound: teach the young men how to tie a tie so they can dress appropriately for job interviews and other special occasions. For youth in foster care (who are statistically more likely to struggle with unemployment, as well as emotional issues like low self-esteem) these simple but critical life lessons can make a big impact.

“We noticed that, as we were preparing our young men for job interviews, that many of them did not know how to tie a tie,” explained BCFS-Tyler Director Carla McCalope. “We decided to partner with some men in our community to teach them the different ways that they can tie a tie for work, or for going to church, or for going out into an everyday setting.”

BCFS-Tyler enlisted the help of Pastor Ralph Carraway of St. Louis Missionary Baptist Church in Tyler, who spoke to the 28 young men about goal setting and staying motivated.

Visit BCFS-Tyler's Facebook photo album for more photos of the event, video of Pastor Carraway's message and video of a youth trying out his new tie tying skills. 

“Pastor Carraway taught the young men to stop and ask themselves an important question: ‘did you get there? – ‘there’ being each young man’s goals, both big and small,” says McCalope. “If your ‘there’ is to learn to tie a tie today, did you get there? If you dream of going to college someday, hold yourself accountable and ask ‘did I get there?’ He inspired them that, no matter their circumstances, they could all eventually ‘get there’ with hard work and dedication.”

Mr. Donnell Frazier of Tyler’s Youth and Family Enrichment Center, who the youth have affectionately labelled a “dapper dresser,” taught the young men how to tie a traditional knot on a neck tie, a Windsor knot, and how to turn a necktie into a bowtie.

After a lunch sponsored by Chick-Fil-A, the workshop culminated in each of the youth being gifted with a necktie or two, so they’d be equipped for the next big job interview, and hopefully their first day on the job. Ties were donated by Pastor Derrick Lott of Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pastor Carraway and the members of St. Louis Missionary Baptist Church, and BCFS-Tyler community partner the Texas Workforce Commission.

“One of the young men said he was going on a trip during the Christmas holidays,” explains McCalope, “and going to a church service, and he was nervous about having to get a dress shirt and tie because he didn’t know how to tie it. He thought he was going to have to ask for a clip-on tie. Now, he doesn’t need to, and he was so thankful.”

While the Tying Up Your Attire workshop addressed some basic fashion questions, it was just one part of McCalope’s vision to enlist members of the community to nurture young men to responsible adulthood.

“Pastor Carraway wants the youth to understand that there are good men in the community; pastors, members from the different churches, who are rooting for them,” she says.” These men are behind these youth and they can assist them and help them along the way. If the youth have questions or just need someone to talk to, he told the youth that they could — and should — reach out.”

BCFS-Tyler serves youth from foster care and young adults who have experienced abuse and neglect, helping them transition into adulthood using a holistic service approach and a centralized location where they can access community resources. For more information about BCFS-Tyler, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Tyler.