Transforming insecurities with Big Brothas


RodEric Swiner II, Senior Integrated Studies (left) with his mentee, or ”brotha,” Chris Bright, Sophomore Business Management (right) at Big Brothas “Pass the Aux” event.

Nyla Henderson

The Big Brothas program, or Big Brothas, started as an idea to reach African-American male students and help them achieve a greater sense of self identification.

A thought that Carl Owensby, junior history major, and Calil Cage, junior business management and human development and family studies major, shared now celebrates one year as an organization.

“The Big Brothas program, we officially started August 22 2017, but the idea and concept of us creating an organization began my freshman year,” Owensby, president of Big Brothas program said.

Many times in the African-American community, men are forced to always be seen as strong and never show fear. Big Brothas offers a safe space for male students to connect with each other on personal issues that are often stigmatized.

“Our mission statement is empowering young men to transform their insecurities into insurgent possibilities,” Owensby said. “I just wanted to create an organization where men had the space to kind of just let the masculinity wall down.”

One other aspect of the program is the mentorship where upperclassmen students are paired with lower classmen through a series of interviews and meetings.

“That mentee-mentor relationship is really rewarding on that note,” Roderic Swiner II, senior integrated science major and mentor in Big Brothas said. “You get to see somebody who you helped get to a certain area and now you get to see them progress on his own, so it’s beautiful.”  

They combat insecurities through group therapy sessions, group workout sessions, or collaboration events with other organizations. Big Brothas is a safe-haven for many students and helps build self-esteem and leadership skills.

“It makes me more confident, you know, because it lets me know there are other people out there that feel the same way I do about stuff,” said, Chris Bright, mentee and sophomore business management major.

Big Brothas aims to differ from any other organization on campus by providing mentors and mentees with valuable and life-enhancing techniques.

“We’re different because it’s kind of like, we focus on the the physical body and we focus on the mental health of each brotha that comes in,” Swiner II, said.  

Over the next year the Big Brothas program hopes to expand its reach locally and to other cities as well.

“I definitely want us to do bigger things then what we did this year and grow even greater,” Owensby said, “Within the next year, maybe get a Big Brothas program like in Akron or Youngstown.”

Nyla Henderson is an assigning reporter. Contact her at [email protected]