The EDGE Program, a development course for Black teens, seeks to empower youth to address the challenges they face in mainstream society. The Program will graduate and present 18 Beaus and Debutantes as well as junior Debutantes, at the annual EDGE Ball on Saturday, August 17th at the Delta Toronto East Hotel. However the grandeur of the Ball, is not the most important aspect of the Program, according to co-founder Pat Glouden, “The EDGE gives our adolescents the tools to face the social issues they will encounter, especially our young men,” Glouden says.
The EDGE Program, which is offered to teens (16-20) years of age, and junior girls (6-9 years of age), is designed to inspire and empower youth to excel through a unique and enriched curriculum not offered in the conventional classroom. Some of the workshops offered through the EDGE include, Financial Freedom, Leadership, Etiquette and social graces, Health and well-being, Public speaking, Entrepreneurship, and Social media management to name a few. Workshops are conducted by professionals who volunteer their time to mentor and guide.
Glouden says the Program, founded 20 years ago by Ettie Dawkins, remains relevant and has kept pace with the changing needs of youth, “We know it’s needed now more than ever today because social skills give kids the edge. Many of our kids are academically accomplished but they don’t have social skills and their self-esteem is not what it should be. Many of them are brilliant but they don’t represent themselves well in interviews, or in social settings, or have the etiquette to navigate business lunches. Our kids are being assessed as they interact in those social settings by potential employers. Kids who go through the Program do have the edge.”
The EDGE Program has graduated many students who have gone on to excel in their chosen fields of work. Glouden urges those who have gone through the Program to share their experience with others, so more young people would be encourage enrol. “Parents report back to us that their kids have experienced so many positive changes. They need to tell other parents so that they in turn will sign up their teens. Share your experience and grow our community.”
The annual Edge Ball takes place at the Delta Hotel (2035 Kennedy Road, Scarborough) from 6:00 pm.
(Tickets for the 2019 EDGE Ball may be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Pat Gloudon at 416-287-2061. Adults: $90; Children (12 years and under): $50).