For many kids in Washington County, the Mission’s EdGE programming is ubiquitous. EdGE is the place they go after school and where they spend their summers. It’s a safe space where they can learn, explore and have fun. But have you ever wondered why the program is spelled EdGE not EDGE or Edge? It’s because EdGE is named after a person, Ed Greaves.
When he became the Mission’s Board President, Ed, and Gary DeLong, the Mission’s President, met with stakeholders Downeast started to have conversations about the challenges facing the Downeast communities. Based on these conversations and Ed’s concern and dedication to the children living Downeast, the beginnings of an educational program, then named the “Greaves Education Initiative” started to take shape.
Soon after, Ed became gravely ill with cancer, but his dedication to creating a program to support children Downeast never wavered. As his last act as board president, he led the board in a vote to approve an education program. His widow Connie Greaves Bates would later say, “he was so eloquent with the board and advocating for this project—I was so proud of him. He worked hard to make his feelings known.”
He died shortly after and while he never saw his dream become a reality, his dedication was the spark that was needed to create the program. Through his and Connie’s connections, Downeast residents including Les Coleman and Nancy Rankin soon joined and the program was officially funded soon after his death.
In 2002, the program officially launched at three schools under a new name “The EdGE.” EdGE has provided opportunities for two generations of children to challenge themselves, engage with their communities, explore the outdoors, and gain social and leadership skills to build personal, career, and post-secondary education aspirations.
Now in its 21st year, more than 900 students are attending EdGE programming, including afterschool programs, summer camps, and more, at 7 schools in Washington County.