Intellectual and developmental disabilities will not hold students back from obtaining a post-secondary education through Union’s new EDGE Program.
EDGE is a two-year, 48-hour certificate program for high school graduates ages 18 to 26.
Students can live either on or off campus and participate in classes that bolster career development and employment skills. Students audit college courses, work in on-campus and off-campus internships and participate in life skills classes such as the cooking lab.
“People don’t realize that by helping the EDGE program, we’re going to be blessed more than we bless them,” Susie Oliver, Union’s first lady, said.
Union faculty and staff came together for a kitchen shower for the cooking lab and had an opportunity to meet EDGE students last Friday. Attendees donated essential kitchen items and presented gift cards from Kroger, Walmart and Target as a way to offset the cost of groceries.
Every Friday in Luther Hall, students will learn basic kitchen competencies such as kitchen safety, food nutrition, how to prepare a grocery list and how to shop on a budget. Kevin Ung, assistant director of the Union EDGE program, teaches the lab.
“In the end, we want students to learn how to prepare a meal from start to finish,” he said. “That’s how we will know that they have achieved success.”
Students like Taylor Flood are excited about the opportunity to learn how to prepare meals.
“I think it’s good for us to start cooking,” she said. “…to show our parents that we can cook.”
Jennifer Graves, director of the EDGE program, said that the cooking lab speaks straight to the point of the program — sustainability.
“This program helps students with independence by becoming functional members of society,” she said.
To learn more about the program or to donate to Union EDGE, visit uu.edu/edge.