Welcome to the February 2017 issue of the monthly newsletter produced by the Union EDGE Program. Volume 1 | Issue 3
View this email in your browser
EDGE News: The Union EDGE Program Monthly Newsletter

In This Issue


EDGE Program

Employment training
Daily living skills
Godly focus
Educational enrichment
Employment training
Daily living skills
Godly focus
Educational enrichment
Union University

Final Preview Day- February 20, 2017

Our final Day at the U for this recruiting season is Monday, February 20, 2017.  We invite any high school junior or senior, special education faculty member, or school administrator to come and see the Union EDGE Program.  You will have the opportunity to tour the beautiful Union University campus, meet EDGE students and mentors, and participate in activities that will help you get to know our EDGE family.  We are seeking ten highly motivated students with intellectual disabilities for the fall 2017 cohort.

The day begins at 8:45 am in the Grant Events Center with a meet and greet and ends at 3:30 with snacks provided by the EDGE cooking lab students.  You may sign up at If you or someone you know may be interested, please download the application and begin the process on our web site.  We hope to see you on February 20th!
“I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well."
Psalms 139:14

Observations from the EDGE

Union EDGE Completes Second Year on Campus
January 5th marked the second anniversary of the Union EDGE Program becoming a part of the fabric of Union University.  It has been an incredible two years for each student and faculty member.  We will graduate our first cohort on May 20th of this year.  These seven have completed at least three internships.  They have audited eight courses and have taken eight Life Skills courses.  Each student has had four semesters of cooking lab.  They have worked hard.  They have earned a paycheck!  They have grown and matured.  Now, they are almost ready to face the next step.  We as a staff are so very proud of them.  Our second cohort started in August.  These students have made incredible strides and are already half-way through their first year of college.  They work.  They play.  They make friends.  And just like thousands of other college students throughout the nation, they even study a little! 

To each of you who have been a part of our journey, we thank you.  Many have made contributions to our program with gifts of manning our tutoring sessions, donating financial resources, praying for us and our students, or even attending an event.  We have an incredible spring coming up!  Please join us in celebrating these incredible young adults! 


An Opportunity to Give

The Union EDGE Program is looking to fund three major projects during the Spring of 2017.  We ask each of you to give consideration to donating to our cause.  We are attempting to raise $38,000 over the next six months.  Here are our projects: 
Our largest project is the bus-stop pavilion.  Because we are an employment training program, our students often leave campus to go to their internship sites.  We are very fortunate in Jackson that we have a specific bus that will come onto our campus and pick up our students, take them to work, and bring them back to campus.  Our students are given an hour window that they must be outside to meet the bus in order to be at their job sites on time.  If there is inclement weather, or students still may wait.  If the heat index is in the dangerous category, they still have to be at the bus on time.  We would like to build a shelter to offer protection from the elements, but that can also be a place of rest and relaxation for not only our students, but other students.  We want to be inclusive!  Our estimates approach $15,000.  We would love to have your assistance on this project!
Our second project is a special needs prom for Jackson and the surrounding counties.  We have a date, April 6th.  We have a location, The Barn at Snider Farms.  We even have a DJ!  What we now need is the money to decorate and provide food for our students.  We have raised $1,200 thus far for this project.  We need $800 more.  This is an opportunity for our EDGE students to serve.  We are joining with the youth of Englewood Baptist Church.  More information will be forthcoming about this event in the near future.
Our third and final project is to provide financial assistance to our students.  Our hope is to raise at least $20,000 for this endeavor.  Nothing hurts us more than to see someone have to leave our program because of financial restrictions.  We would love to have your help! 
If you are interested in helping with any or all of these projects, please go to our website at, click on the giving link.  There should be a box that says EDGE, so that the donation will go specifically to the Union EDGE Program.  If you prefer to  mail your donation you may do so!  Our address is Union EDGE, 1050 Union University Drive, Jackson, TN  38305.

Dates to Know

Classes Begin                February 1
EDGE Day at
 basketball game            February 25

Special Needs Prom      April 6
Spring Break                   April 8-17
EDGE Spring Banquet    May 11
Spring Graduation           May 20

In the News

Study: Exercise May Cut Behavior Issues In Half

by Shaun Heasley | January 10, 2017

Students in a physical education class

Implementing more structured aerobic activities like cybercycling as opposed to traditional physical education classes at school may benefit kids with complex behavior disorders, a new study suggests. (Janet Jensen/Tacoma News Tribune/TNS)


Researchers say there may be a simple way to reduce challenging behaviors among those with autism and similar disorders during the school day — add in some exercise.

A new study looking at the impact of structured, aerobic exercise in kids on the spectrum and those with other behavioral disorders found that youngsters who participated in “cybercycling” at school as opposed to traditional physical education classes were far less likely to act out.

Cybercycling involves a stationary bike with a video screen that allows participants to ride various courses, play games and otherwise engage using virtual reality while participating in aerobic activity.

For the study, researchers randomly assigned 103 students ages 7 to 16 at a therapeutic day school to participate in a seven-week cybercycling program or to participate in traditional, non-aerobic PE classes twice a week. Participants included students with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and mood disorders.

When children were participating in the cybercycling program, researchers found their odds of exhibiting poor self-regulation or being taken out of class because of behavior issues declined by as much as 51 percent, according to findings published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

The positive effects were most pronounced on days when children participated in the intervention, with disruptive behaviors dropping over 70 percent, researchers said.

“Aerobic cybercycling PE shows promise for improving self-regulation and classroom functioning among children with complex behavioral health disorders,” wrote the study authors. “This school-based exercise intervention may significantly improve child behavioral health without increasing parental burden or health care costs, or disrupting academic schedules.”



Our Fundraising Efforts Continue

We are so grateful to each donor who has so graciously given to the Union EDGE Program. We are pleased to announce that we have raised our $123,525 that is required to be a self-sustaining program. All funds raised from this point forward will be totally dedicated to special projects and student scholarships. If you would like to be a part of our Benefactor List, you may donate in one of two ways.  You may mail your donation to the attention of Jennifer Graves, The Union EDGE Program, 1050 Union University Drive, Jackson, Tennessee  38305, or you may donate online at  We thank you for your gifts.

About Our Program

The Union EDGE Program is accepting applications for the 2017-2018 year. We will accept applications for the 2017-2018 school year until February 28, 2017.  EDGE will accept ten students into its third cohort. Each semester, students will audit two regular college courses with traditionally enrolled students. In addition, students will be enrolled in two EDGE Life Skills courses that will concentrate on employability, technology, and independent living skills. Students will participate in on-campus internships during year one, and year two will feature off-campus internships.

These students will each pay $15,500 intuition. As the only residential PSE program in the state, Union EDGE students may also incur additional room and board fees. Students will have the option to live on campus or with their families.

If you know of families that might be interested in the Union EDGE program, please invite them to visit our website at Prospective families will find a printable application as well as a great deal of information about our program. Interested parties may also contact Jennifer Graves, program director, at 731.661.5382 or by emailing

The Union EDGE Program
School of Education  |  Union University
1050 Union University Drive  |  Jackson, Tennessee 38305  |  731.661.5382  |

Copyright © 2017 EDGE Program at Union University, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp