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Home > August 2011 > Fordham University “EDGE4VETS” Program Kicks Off Aboard Intrepid
Fordham University “EDGE4VETS” Program Kicks Off Aboard Intrepid
Posted: 8/31/2011 10:02:00 AM


Intrepid Board Member and Veteran Gerry Byrne and EDGE4VETS Founder Tom Murphy at the
kickoff event aboard Intrepid

The new Fordham University program, Edge4Vets, which addresses school re-entry challenges for veterans, kicked off at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on August 30.  

This pilot program includes 30 veterans, and is geared towards helping them transition back to civilian life, particularly during their first semester back in school.
The course, created by the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham, is designed to help transitioning, school enrolling veterans returning home at a rate of 300,000 a year.  Adjustment challenges are a significant issue as veterans often go from “a desert to a college desk” often in only a month’s time. Operating out of Fordham’s Graduate School of Education, the Institute expands upon work initiated by Reclaiming the Sky, a non-profit that supported workers’ resiliency after 9/11.
“Studies have shown that the most difficult time for vets is the transition back to civilian life and schooling. Many vets are required to go back to school within 30 days of leaving military service – without the proper preparation, this can be a very challenging time,” said Susan Marenoff-Zausner, President of the Intrepid Sea and Space Museum.  “We are proud to host the kickoff for the Edge4Vets program, whose mission is to prepare them for the return to college, so they can rejoin the workforce and embark on successful careers.”
“Fordham has a history going all the way back to the Civil War of helping veterans use education to transition back to civilian life,” said Dr. James Hennessy, dean of the Graduate School of Education. “Edge4Vets, offered in conjunction with Fordham’s Veterans Initiative, is a continuation of that 150-year tradition.”
To offer Edge4Vets, the Human Resiliency Institute has created a coalition of academic partners, including Fordham’s Veteran’s Initiative and the Fordham Graduate School of Social Service.
The Edge4Vets expansion goal, once the pilot has been initiated with Fordham student/veterans, is to offer the Edge4Vets module to other schools, with the goal of creating a network of schools in NYC nationally to help veterans make positive and successful academic transitions to school.
In a series of three workshops over the course of a semester, veterans learn how to identify leadership skills they earned in the military.  Then in a group setting, they learn how to apply four resiliency strengths derived from 9/11 heroes – adaptability, engagement, optimism and pro-action.  Vets are guided to translate their military strengths into “tools” to meet challenges in three areas at school: navigating school regulations, creating successful social relationships and using academics to prepare effectively for a job and career in the workplace of the future.
The four resiliency strengths used in the curriculum come from the stories of 9/11 aviation heroes profiled in the book, Reclaiming the Sky authored by Edge founder, Tom Murphy. A group of those profiled in the book, including American Airlines flight attendants who lost colleagues on Flight 77 in Washington DC, traveled from DC to attend the kickoff event to show their support for the veterans.
Representatives from leading New York based veterans organizations, including United War Veterans, Iraq Afghanistan Veteran’s of America (IAVA) and the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs, also participated in the workshop.
As part of the Intrepid program, and to highlight the “body” aspect, the Human Resiliency Institute has put together a partnership with EntryPoint Communications (EPC) to offer “Healthy Edge4Vets”. This initiative will provide discounts on healthy food items in grocery stores along with nutritional tips on how to “Eat Right for Success.”  EPC will demonstrate how the system works and provide healthy food samples contributed by Campbell Soup to the student/veterans.
To promote the “Community Spirit” aspect of the program, the Human Resiliency Institute is also working with veterans groups to identify volunteer opportunities where vets who gain benefits from the program can “give back” and go online at www.edge4vets.com to share their transition stories and provide peer support to other vets grappling with transition issues.