Life On The Outside

Creating Anti-Bullying Comic Books and Founding a Non-Profit

Photo of Abbey Rose
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Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Date Started

November 11th, 2016.

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

I am stepping up to make change because I believe in the power of young people to change the world. My name is Abbey Perl and I am the Founder/ Executive Director of Diverse Gaming Coalition, a 501(C)(3) fighting for a change in online and real-life communities through modern concepts and pop culture. One way we achieve this goal is through our anti-bullying comic book "Life On The Outside". Life on the Outside follows non-binary person of color Asher Phoenix and their journey throughout high school. We decided to use this story after a member in our community identified the same way the main character in the story does. We use this comic as an educational tool all across the country, diversifying the discussion around bullying.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Bullying and harassment within minorities, specifically with non-binary and people of color are not being represented as well as they could be. Not only that, adults were not presenting this information while attracting young people to join their message. Boring assemblies, workshops, and presentations presented without the thought of their audience. Young people are not engaged by something that doesn't interest them or they can't relate to.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

To solve this problem, we decided we wanted to tackle this issue and bring matters into our own hands- into the hands of young people. So, we created "Life on the Outside", a project of non-profit Diverse Gaming Coalition. This is a story about high schooler Asher Phoenix struggling with bullying, mental health, friendships, and their identity. Along the way, they meet new people, conquers new emotions, and learn more about themselves.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

When people get involved in our project, we use their personal experiences, stories, ideas, and overall energy and put it into our work to create the most relatable and meaningful impact. For instance, Life On The Outside was originally an entirely different story at first. Originally, it was a kids story about a lonely zombie in a radioactive wasteland. When we asked for community input in creating our story, a young person came up to us and expressed that they were non-binary and a person of color, and was being bullied in our own community. Because of this, we decided to take their experiences and reshape our comic to fit their personal narrative.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Our project is the most unique anti-bullying initiative on the market. No other program not only combines modern day pop-culture into our social justice work, but also utilizes young people in creating, promoting, and implementing our project. Current anti-bullying initiatives either use adults that can't relate to the cause or use boring methods to discuss bullying. However, our project was created to tackle this issue.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

So far, we've engaged with over 500 students and counting for our assembly program. Likewise, we have been to over four cities for conventions, workshops, etc. to promote our work, organization, and comic book.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

To take our project to the next level, we plan to create more comic books in the series to continue to touch on various issues within the bullying sector. We also hope to implement more youth into our program, including our educational aspects.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

For future support, money is always extremely helpful. We vision every kid we talk with to have a comic book that is theirs to keep. We also need more support from community members willing to volunteer to make this project extraordinary.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Sales
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100
  • Donations between $100-$1k
  • Donations between $1k-$5k

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

We would love to partner with other change makers by collaborating on certain projects. For instance, our topic is bullying. However, we love discussing how bullying can affect the LGBTQ+ community.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • LGBTQ community
  • Religious minority (non-Christian)
  • Other

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

Volunteen Nation

Attachments (1)

Front Cover.pdf

Cover for "Life On The Outside" anti-bullying comic book.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ariyan Miller

Hey There Fellow Changemaker,

Congrats on moving to the next phase. I wishing you the best of luck ! & I am sending love and light to all the positive things that you do.

Photo of Micah Martinez

This idea is not only unique but powerful. People of the world should be more respectful to people outside of the societal norm and do whatever they can to better understand the struggles and what it is like to be bullied to hopefully eventually stop the normalizing of bullying.

Photo of Breanna

I think this is a very unique idea. Not only would it easily reach young children, but I think it would teach them lessons that would have a lasting approach on them. Bullying in general is such an overlooked issue, but the story you are telling (from the perspective of a nonbinary person of color) is rarely discussed at all.
But even more importantly, this isn't the same old, same old "bullying is bad" lecture; instead, this is a pretty cool way of reaching people because, as you stated, it implements pop culture and takes it to another level. Very interesting. One question I do have though (and it kinda piggy backs from Carson), how are you intending to reach others with this book and distribute them? Will you focus on schools or try to go even further than that? (maybe daycares or afterschool programs)

Photo of Carson McBain

It is so inspirational to hear the story of how you experienced bullying and went from being a victim to a champion for others who are going through the same thing. The website is an awesome resource that you have obviously invested a lot of thought and time in developing. I love the fresh approach of this idea and its connection to actual stories. It's not being created in the vacuum of the comic creator's mind; rather you are taking students' own stories and using them in the fight against bullying. I would be interested to know more about how you find the students whose stories you share, and how you are using these comics as a medium to reach others. For example, are you distributing them in schools, traveling to schools to do immersive workshops, etc? Hope you get all the support you need!

Photo of Kayla McKinney

Wow! We would really like to connect with you and see how we could possibly collaborate!

Photo of Brittany Corner

Great Idea, Comics are an accessible and great medium to communicate idea in

Photo of Megan Chen

Hey this is Megan, I think we were talking to each other on Peacefirst. I'm the person that is writing the children's book on implicit bias. It's cool to see you here too! Your project sounds really cool and I really applaud your efforts to solving such an important issue.

Photo of Natalie Laky

This is incredible! You're so lucky to have the creativity and the resources to run this project. Bullying is a huge problem and I really think comic books can be a new medium to get important messages across to teens.