Established as a supplemental mentor and leadership program for middle and high school students, The MENtour™ was able to reach thousands of students across the Los Angeles Unified School District during the 2015 academic school year. It would be just a few short months later that Founder & CEO JuVan Langford would be invited on a service trip to an orphanage in Dominican Republic as a keynote speaker. Unbeknownst to him this trip would be not only a heart-opening experience for him as a leader but a paramount moment for both the direction and vision of the organization.
Through deep and meaningful evenings debriefs with the service team, it would become evident that there were few, if any spaces, for young men to gather and create healthy connections with one another. One student in particular captured the heart of JuVan when sharing his story from stage revealing that his dream was for his brother to be alive again. It would be days later that JuVan returned to Los Angeles and reorganized the organization's bylaws, mission and, ultimately, vision.
Working with educator, behavioral strategist, and social emotional literacy curriculum development specialist Luis Lopez, we developed a state-of-the-art curriculum woven with restorative practices and transformational tools. We knocked and the first school to answer was Miguel Contreras Learning Complex in downtown Los Angeles, CA. That would turn out to be the beginning of many valued scholastic partners who trusted our visions and, in turn, experienced a number of cultural and academic shifts from participating students on their campus.
Coty Wade, MENtour Trained Facilitator & Coach
Word soon spread among LAUSD administrators, teachers and staff, and as their interest in our organization grew, so did the number of mentors who joined the workshops. While working diligently to enroll and educate local leaders to assist with the facilitation of our programming, Founder & CEO JuVan Langford soon realized that the men who were showing up in support of the youth were actually in equal or greater need of support themselves. The organization soon began hosting grounding dinners, an intimate gathering for the mentors the evening before a school campus visit, where intentional space was created for the men to connect with each other and unpack the curriculum in preparation for the youth we were to serve the following day.
The MENtour powerfully pivoted yet again as an organization, realizing the urgent need to reach the men of the nation, whose common concerns were issues surrounding identity, intimacy and integrity. Everywhere one turned you could witness toxic and violent imagery of men smeared across the airwaves; in media, politics, music, education and sports. As a leading voice in men’s health and wellbeing, it became increasingly paramount to us to broaden our vision so that we were able to reach men in more corners of the world. Through extensive research and development, we reidentified The MENtour’s core message and began investigating ways in which we could expand our reach collaboratively.
Speaking with visionary leaders and traveling extensively to educate himself on the issues facing men, Founder & CEO JuVan Langford was led back down under to the continent of Australia. To address the cultural catastrophe of suicide within the country, we strategically aligned with Beyond The Beers Founder Mike Campbell, who had spent several years facilitating events that brought men together to have real conversations. After a single collaborative experience between the leaders, and in partnership with LuluLemon, the vision for a national symposium was born. We set out to create spaces where men were offered an opportunity to be witnessed by one another, to learn from each other’s journeys, and ultimately understand that they do not need to do life alone.
“If we don’t feed the hearts and minds of our men, they will fail our community”
— JuVan Langford
“We are committed to more leaders in more communities”
— JuVan Langford
Today, The MENtour™ exists to educate, equip and empower leaders in the men's space to advance the mental and emotional wellbeing of men globally. We do this through the vehicles of National Symposiums, Leaders Forums, and facilitation of men’s immersive weekends. We invite you to follow our journey in photos across our social media channels, where you’ll find updates on the positive impact we are making around the world.