Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- How can bow ties help young Midlands men with manners and finding the right path?
"They see that we need help as young men and they're trying to help mold us into what we should be," Keenan High School sophomore X'Avier Douglas said.
All it took was a lunch and a bow tie for 11-year-old Grant Thompson to make a new friend.
"I've met Jordan he has really impressed me," Grant said. "He seems like he's got it all planned out."
"He first came in and he seemed kind of shy. He was a little bit quieter. So I saw him and I was like, 'Hi, what's your name?' And he goes, 'Oh, I'm Grant.' I was like, 'Where are you from? Do you play sports?' Trying to get him to open up," Benedict College junior Jordan Buchanan said.
The annual Boys In Bowties luncheon brings school age African American boys together with mentors.
X'Avier has been a part of a couple groups like this one, but says Boys In Bowties is much different.
"We had one mentor as a group, I wasn't expecting us to get our own mentor and it to be a lot more proactive,"X'Avier said.
The goal of the group is simple, to help the boys grow.
"Giving young men the opportunity to learn kind of essential skills that aren't taught in school, not nuts and bolts, but etiquette, how to be able to address the people when you're networking, eye contact, things of that nature," Boys in Bowties mentor Carl Solomon said.
"I'm grateful for the fact of putting the thought in my head of investing and thinking about my future," Grant said.
And for some of the boys in the program, this is virtually the only male influence in their lives.
"I don't have my father. I have my mother, my grandmother and my aunt. So usually, with my mentor, if I have any boy questions even just tying a tie I can ask him about it," X'Avier said.
Grant's new buddy, Buchanan, wants this to encourage him to reach back and help others.
"It doesn't matter what we look like there's nice people everywhere and willing to help out," Buchanan said. "Hopefully he can take what, I guess done to him, and he can do it for someone else when he gets about my age."
Boys in Bowties is a fairly new organization that's been helping Midlands boys for four years.