EDGE Kentville: The Program and the Picture Worth a Thousand Words
By Genevieve Allen Hearn
EDGE is a job readiness program designed for young adults aged 18 to 26 who receive employment supports and income assistance. The program is the first of its kind in Nova Scotia, and is located in Kentville and Halifax. The Nova Scotia government has put $1 million toward the program and provides a minimum-wage-equivalent salary subsidy to employers who give participants a three-month work term.
EDGE uses a wraparound approach, which means examining barriers, providing the necessary tools to get a job, and providing supports to keep a job and sustain a career. Peer support is paramount to the success of the program. Socialization and establishing routine are building blocks to the program to â€œget out of ruts and old habits that arenâ€™t positiveâ€ explains learning facilitator Doug Ralph.
Recently, participants at EDGE in Kentville worked with artist Rik Berry to create a visual representation of what the program means to them. The image, which now hangs in EDGEâ€™s meeting room, captures the five milestones of the program:
Discover: Represented by people walking over rocks, the introduction to the program often reveals challenges participants have experienced.
Inspire: A team of people belay someone down a precipitous ledge. This milestone is about teamwork and finding ways to collaborate, and the notion of both being inspired, and being a source of inspiration to others.
Growth: People are shown at a crossroads, challenged to decide what path to choose.
Immerse: A door in a stone wall that requires a key represents the action part of the journey: theory being applied to real world situations.
Coach: People are shown returning from their journey to help others along.
In March, EDGE held a substance abuse awareness event called Turn the Lights On, and in May will partner with Hardware Gallery to create a community mural.