What does it mean to be a man in the 21st century? - A Place Called Home skip to Main Content

What does it mean to be a man in the 21st century?

All of us are on a journey.

For some, the path appears straight as an arrow from beginning to end. For most, it bends and curves. There are intersections and roadblocks. Sometimes, we may even hit what appears to be a dead-end.

That’s why, at A Place Called Home, we commit ourselves — and our resources — to the young people, families, and community of South Central Los Angeles. 

Meeting people where they are on their journey, we work to provide love, safety, inspiration and opportunity to those who need some help along their path.

A group of boys with A Place Called Home's Journey program are standing on top of a mountain, holding an American flag, smiling and laughing.

For our young men, it takes a higher perspective to see beyond some of the stereotypes and destructive messages about what a man should be. We call them “wrong life lessons”—you know the ones, like:

  • A real man has to be strong, walking alone and not needing anyone’s help
  • A real man should have power over others and never need empathy
  • A real man must hide his emotions because they show weakness

How do we open young men’s hearts and minds to a whole new spectrum of possibilities for manhood? Journey.

What is Journey?

Journey is a peer mentoring program for young men that guides them as they transition through their teens and into adulthood.

Our young men learn about the importance of character and values. They develop leadership skills based on empathy, kindness, and inner strength. They develop deep and lasting bonds with other boys and men who serve as role models and provide a healthy, encouraging community of support.

A group of young men from A Place Called Home's Journey program, wearing suits and walking together while talking and smiling.

The 90011 zip code is one of the toughest in the country. Most of the young people at A Place Called Home started life climbing a mountain of adversity. 

Many of them will encounter poverty, violence, and despair that most people can’t imagine. It’s understandable that a lot of boys develop a thick skin and get tough, just to survive. Sometimes they hang out with an even tougher crowd just to feel safe from harm.

At APCH, safety and support for our boys is critical. We let them know that having feelings and being caring and kind are strengths, not weaknesses. We encourage them to explore and pursue all kinds of goals and dreams. We help them learn to affirm their own value and importance in the world. And, in Journey, they learn to inspire and support others.

The Journey program creates a strong brotherhood that is based on trust, authenticity and respect, not guys competing for dominance and always having to watch their backs.

Kevin shares his experience in Journey

“I’ve been in Journey for five years, and I love the bonding. At first, I was really insecure. I really didn’t want to meet people. I was scared. I felt like the little one because I was younger than most of the other guys. I just didn’t know what to do. And I didn’t have to do anything at first. People started coming to me, and drawing me in.

It’s been an amazing experience. I’m so much more confident in myself. And, it’s been positive being able to share life struggles, school struggles with others — who don’t judge, but who are also honest and truthful.

As I prepare for college, I’ve had to step out of my comfort zone in some pretty big ways. It was uncomfortable at times. But, because of the encouragement I have and what I’ve learned about myself through Journey, I know I can do it. And, more important, I can help others who are facing similar challenges.”

Want to be a part of Journey?

We’re always looking for volunteers and partners in our work at A Place Called Home. Go here to find out how you can get involved.

All of us, including kids like Kevin, would love to welcome you into the family.

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