Think Outside Da Block aims to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged youth & build healthy and peaceful communities. To achieve this objective, the organization focuses on the root causes of social norms and health, including but not limited to environmental and economic development.
Pha’tal Perkins, a lifelong resident of Greater Englewood, founded Think Outside Da Block with hopes to provide youth opportunities that were not available to him while simultaneously healing community trauma. He used his experiences and his status to leverage relationships, creativity, and resources to take control of the future by proactively shaping the present.
One of our most prevalent issues is community violence. Our violence prevention strategy is rooted in the belief that community working together collectively is the key to reducing crime. We understand and value the wisdom that residents bring from their lived experiences which makes them assets and the key to addressing and preventing community violence. By activating public spaces and building relationships with community members, we can improve the quality of life in Englewood.
Pha’Tal Perkins was born, raised and resides in the Greater Englewood community. Being failed by his community and falling victim to negative influences, Pha’Tal found himself headed down the wrong path. After many close calls and losing a countless number of his peers to violence and incarceration, he realized a life of crime was no longer the life he wanted to lead. Recognizing the power he possessed within the community, he dedicated himself to serving as a positive influence for youth and improving conditions in Englewood. Lived experiences, wisdom, innovation, and creativity has positioned Pha’Tal’s strong presence as a community activator.
In 2016 he founded Think Outside da Block (TODB) with a vision to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged youth and under-invested communities by addressing root causes. One of Pha’Tal’s most notable culminating events which enhances the TODB mission is Roll N Peace—an eight-mile bike tour that provides an opportunity for participants to see Englewood past the media’s cliché depiction of its violent reputation. Recognizing the need for mental health support, he created Getcha Mind Right, a cohort based, peer-to-peer, trauma awareness program that aims to empower individuals by guiding them to interrupt cycles of violence, introduce coping mechanisms, connect individuals to resources and build resilience. Pha’Tal’s commitments and efforts have been recognized through awards such as: the Chicago Defender Man of Excellence Award, the City of Chicago’s Black History Month Youth Leader Award, Active Transportation Alliance Advocate of the Year Award, Chicago Dream Gala Color Outside the Lines Community Leader Award and the most recently, he received a proclamation and was given a day (April 24th) by the Mayor and the City Of Chicago. Pha’Tal was once upon a time considered to be a part of the problem but now he’s a major part of the solution and works tirelessly to build community, prevent violence, provide opportunity and restore hope.