By Brent Bigelow
Creating change in a community starts at the foundation. If the foundation of a house is strong, it can stand for many years. That’s Construction 101. The Men of Excellence Empowerment Group at Youngstown State University want to reshape the foundation of Youngstown.
The Men of Excellence Empowerment Group was started last spring semester by YSU student, Chibuike Obinnakwelu, and YSU faculty member, William Blake.
Obinnakwelu, also known as “Chibby,” is a junior majoring in physical therapy and is a part of the YSU Track team. He’s involved with other groups, such as Student Diversity Council, The National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Future Physical Therapists Society, The Presidential Mentors Program and Golden Key International Honour Society.
As president, Chibby is the overall spokesperson for the group. He organizes day-to-day happenings, such as getting meetings in order, organizing events and participating in the community.
Chibby said the group participated in the Advancing Education Reducing Crime Day at Harding Elementary school in Warren. The members of the group and special guest, YSU President Jim Tressel, went to the elementary school to read books to the students and educate them on crime.
Chibby said empowering the men around him helps build a stronger community. In the Men of Excellence Empowerment Group their overall goal is to embrace men of all ages to become leaders in their communities.
“We need to empower ourselves before we empower others. It’s crucial that we strive to be excellent in every facet of life, before we begin to focus on others,” Chibby said.
Member of the Men of Excellence Empowerment Group, Fazson Chapman, said, “This club is very important to the community. The reason why I say that is because I’m from Chicago. We see a lot of groups that are ran by churches and groups for women, ran by women and also groups for low income families.”
Fazson is also busy on campus participating in the YSU Football team, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Black Student Union and majoring in early childhood education.
Fazson is planning another group to spring-board off of the Men of Excellence Empowerment Group. He wants to start a group that will teach students how to dress, speak and teach them how to carry themselves as men.
“I cannot recall a time where I see a community group for men or even led by men. So, I feel that this group is a great outlook for the community and it’s setting a foundation for the future. It’s a great group to involve young men into to benefit their communities and empower their communities,” Fazson said.
Marcus Williams, a senior at YSU and majoring in geology, is another member of the Men of Excellence Empowerment Group. Williams is the project manager for the group and participates in the Collegiate Black Christian group and also is a part of the YSU football team along with Fazson.
“When people ask about the group I tell them that I am a part of a group of men who want to see other men have success within college and their community. After that I usually invite them into a meeting,” William said.
The Men of Excellence Empowerment Group meets Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. in Kilcawley.