About Us

Our History

ESP Timeline
1986 1991 2004 2006 2012 2014 2016 2020 2022 2025+

1986

Martha Wyllie, ESP's founder, holds the first camp for people with developmental disabilities at ESP. She noticed an unequal amount of opportunities for children with disabilities, beginning ESP as one week of summer camp for only 21 participants. Programs took place in local schools, churches, jails, and community gathering spaces while Martha looked for a place for ESP to call home.

1991

ESP opens its own building on VFW Drive and starts serving participants in Watkinsville, Georgia. For two decades, ESP conducted all programming in this 1,600 square foot gym, with the number of participants growing each year.

2004

Martha Wyllie passes away, leaving behind a growing legacy and four post-it-notes with plans of ESP's future. The demand for more space grew as the gym limited the scope of our services and created accessibility barriers.

2006

Laura Hope Whitaker, previously a college volunteer, officially assumes the role of Executive Director. Read her ESP story here.

2012

ESP identified the need for wrap-around support including family support and year-round programming and created ESP 360. ESP 360 sparks connection through wrap-around programs to enrich the lives of people of all abilities and their families.

2014

In 2014, ESP was gifted a 70-acre camp property in Jackson County, Georgia with a vision for it to become the country's first universally accessible overnight camp, parent respite center, and recreation facility. As we dream about the future of our Jefferson, Georgia property, we keep the Hooray spirit alive through our yearly Hooray Camps that take place in Athens and Rome, Georgia.

2016

For two decades, ESP conducted all Athens programming in a 1,600 square-foot gym, with the number of participants growing each year. In June of 2016, after a $3 million capital campaign, ESP opened the doors to a new 14,000 square-foot Activity Building and renovated the original gym. As a result of two new spaces, ESP enrollment grew 25% immediately, allowing the abiltity to serve the hundreds of participants who now call ESP home. The same year, ESP expanded programs through the launch of Java Joy, a mobile coffee cart that employs adults with disabilities.

2020

ESP started its expansion to Atlanta and Rome, Georgia with their very first program, Java Joy, a mobile coffee cart that employs adults with developmental disabilities. Learn more about Java Joy HERE.

2022

ESP opened the Miracle League Complex in Watkinsville, Ga., an extension of the National Miracle League nonprofit. The complex includes a universally accessible baseball field and the City of Watkinsvilleu2019s Playground of Possibilities, encouraging people of all abilities to play side by side with no limitations.rnrnCome by to play at the park, or join us for a Miracle League Game! (this will link to ML page with the calendar eventually)rnrnThe ESP Miracle League Complex is home of the Golden Pantry Snack Shack that is open every Saturday in the spring to sell Chick-fil-A biscuits, hot dogs snacks, drinks and more! Come by to play at the park, or join us for a Miracle League Game!

2025+

ESP is currently located in Athens, Rome and Atlanta, Georgia, and hopes to expand to three new cities in the next three years and break ground on our Camp Hooray property in Jefferson, Georgia. Interested in bringing ESP to your city? Check out our expansion process.

WHO WE ARE

ESP — changing communities for the better!

ESP envisions a world where every person, of every ability, in every community has universal access to transformative experiences.

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Sponsors

Mission

ESP exists to create transformative experiences for people with disabilities and their families, changing communities for the better.

Vision

ESP envisions a world where every person, of every ability, in every community has universal access to transformative experiences.

Core Values

Unrelenting in our mission • Activating the abilities of all • Crazy about celebration • Connecting the unconnected • Compassion freely given • Innovating possibilities •
Integrity. Everyday.

Where We are Going

ESP is currently located in Athens, Rome and Atlanta, Georgia, and hopes to expand to cities that fit the mission in the future. Want to bring ESP to your city? We’re looking for cities like you! Check out what you need to become an ESP city below.

There is Need for an ESP
You're a Champion of Volunteers
Your City has a College Connection
You Build an Engaged Donor Base
Your City is in a Centralized Location
You Have Community Commitment

Help is our main goal !

ESP is the unrelenting champion of people of all abilities, boldly transforming communities through inclusive enrichment, engagement and experiences to empower everyone we touch with joyful purpose!

Meet the Team

Core Values

We are unrelenting champions of people of all abilities – the tireless advocates, the activators, and the believers-in-potential. We are cheerleaders, celebrators, innovators and connectors for all.
We believe everyone has the unique ability to thrive when given the right time, place, and environment. We create experiences that cater to people, no matter their ability, from our participants to our staff to our families and community members.
We cherish smiles and work to earn them from everyone we encounter—smiles of achievement, relief, belonging, connection, celebration and limitless joy.
We cheer on the big and the small. We’re all about brags, birthdays and confetti cannons on your first day. You’ll be seen, known, and celebrated for all you are here.
We believe everyone has the unique ability to thrive when given the right time, place, and environment. We create experiences that cater to people, no matter their ability, from our participants to our staff to our families and community members.
Our doors, our hearts and our community are always open, and everyone gets a hug. Our community is friendly, kind, neighborly, compassionate, inclusive, accessible and approachable.
We do what we say we’re going to do. We’ve got big hearts and big ideas. Our vision to transform communities is ambitious, entrepreneurial and world-changing. We are lion-hearted advocates for our participants and their families.
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Our Corporate Partners

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