206: Jermar Perry (The Village PATH)

Jermar Perry on Innovation City

“Men in general don’t have many spaces to not just talk about sports.” -Jermar Perry

Welcome to Season 7 of Innovation City (The St. Louis Edition), a podcast featuring innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency and Aīre Ventures, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community.

Today’s guest is Jermar Perry, co-founder of the Village PATH (Programs to Access Therapy and Healing), a space designed to help Black men heal in St. Louis. In this episode, Jermar sits down with the team to discuss how difficult it is for men to be vulnerable, the Village PATH programs available in St. Louis, and the interplay between Black culture, trauma, and mental health. 


They discuss:

  • Jermar Perry’s Superpower
    • Jermar is a connector. He entered the Social Work program in St. Louis and being in the program changed the way he thought about things.
  • What brought you into Social Work?
    • Jermar didn’t grow up wanting to be a social worker. He discovered he wanted to go into social work after working with young people. His wife encouraged him to apply for the program. 
  • Jermar’s Approach and Why it’s Different
    • The Village Path primarily works with black men in healing spaces.
    • “Men in general don’t have many spaces to not just talk about sports.” 
    • One of the programs is a Healing and Writing Circle that takes place in the library. It’s a place for men to talk about things and get to the core of how they’re doing. 
    • A lot of the work they do reaches back to a lot of native African languages.
    • Jermar wanted to provide a space where men can be vulnerable.
  • Jermar’s Personal Relationship with Vulnerability
    • Jermar’s not great at being vulnerable so he needs a specific place to be vulnerable in. 
    • A few years ago one of his great friends started something called the Men’s Story Project and this was the birth of the Village Path. 
  • How do you broach the conversation with people who aren’t social workers who want to heal and how do you help them understand what trauma means?
    • “If you build it, they will come.” He built it and provided a space, and he hopes that they will come.
    • He tries not to be too “academic” and wants to reach the average person. 
    • He finds a lot of women will email them and reach out for the men. It’s not easy for men to seek these things out. 
    • We’ve been conditioned to not share these things such a very young age. Phrases like “boys don’t cry,” are commonplace.
    • It’s a long process to destigmatize these misconceptions.
  • What does the world look like once you achieved that?
    • Right now they’ve “built” the village and now they need to furnish it. 
    • Jermar’s at the very beginning of the process. 
    • They started with the vision of men gathering together.
    • They’ve added free therapy sessions, a podcast, events, and more.
  • Interplay between Black Culture, Trauma and Mental Health
    • St. Louis has great organizations and it’s a matter of figuring out how to connect with those organizations.
    • Their goal was to build it and they will come. They are unapologetic about what they do.


Lightning Round:

  • A question I’ve always wanted to ask my parents…
    • Jermar’s parents are open books, but he would ask them about their trauma.
  • A blind spot I have is…
    • Jermar would love to be a big crier. 
  • The hardest lesson I’ve learned about love…
    • It’s constant
  • At a party you’ll find me…
    • In a corner not speaking, but I’ll be enjoying myself totally
  • My most tenacious vice…
    • The YouTube rabbit hole of violent rap music 
  • Today I care a lot less about…
    • Politics. 


Get in Touch

Visit The Village PATH’s website

Follow The Village PATH on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.