Edward is such an amazing intern who teaches Fitness on Tuesday afternoon, and we love watching him grow with the participants he teaches. He caught the ESP fever when his friend introduced him to camp in the summer of 2020. Edward knew he had to continue with the programs here at ESP, and what better way than to become an intern? The most important skill that Edward describes he has gained from his experiences here is empathy. He says he feels like he has a much more open and accepting mind! One of his favorite moments at ESP was singing the national anthem with Kristen Taylor.
Gena is another one of our awesome interns who impresses us on the daily, and she teaches Power Hour Discovery on Tuesdays! She heard about ESP through an orientation leader, and was encouraged through her panhellenic recruitment to get involved here. Gena wanted to get to know our participants and families on a more personal level, so she thought this leadership role would be the perfect match. Interning at ESP will help her learn the skills she needs to succeed in her future career as an Occupational Therapist.
The most important skill that Gena has attained through working here is adaptability. Gena is learning how to be adaptable towards each individual participant, because meeting a specific person’s needs is key to her! She supports their successes, and builds them up when they might need someone to lean on. The most meaningful part of the internship to her is the social interaction in the zoom classes, and seeing the smiles on the participants’ faces when their classmates show genuine interest in them.
Lexi teaches It’s Alive on Tuesdays, and we love that she joined the program intern crew! She has been volunteering at ESP since her Freshman year, and has enjoyed it every step of the way. Lexi wanted to become more involved with our mission, and being an intern is the perfect way to get to know each participant. She says she’s learned how to “go with the flow” of things here, and problem solve in any situation! Lexi stated that her favorite part of her class has been watching the participants fish. One of her participants caught one, and the joy on his face was incredible!
Addison has been a part of the ESP family since 2018, and has grown so much, and continues to flourish. Her brother, Tyler King, encouraged her to become involved with ESP. She attended our soccer camp, and fell in love immediately. She teaches music on Mondays, and loves every minute of it. Addison was on the green team this past summer at Camp Hooray, and she said her best memory was when her buddy initiated a hug for the first time! She is looking forward to continuing her relationships, and building even stronger friendships with the participants and their families. She is currently a student at the University of Georgia and is majoring in social work! We love all that you do, Addison!
Mackenzie Riley (Mei Mei)
Mei Mei is a familiar face here at ESP because she has spent so many summers with us! She was on the red site this summer at Athens church, and was with us for three previous summers. Now, she is working as a program intern and teaches Punchline on Tuesdays. Mei Mei is going into her 4th year at the University of Georgia as a Psychology major and human development minor. A fun fact about Mei Mei is she used to be a professional Irish step dancer!
Emma Barton (Bart)
Emma, or as we call her here at ESP, Bart, volunteered with us in 2018, and fell in love with the organization immediately. She now calls this place a second home, and now she is a program intern. On Mondays Bart teaches the Discovery class, and enjoys the energy of her weeks. She loves the relationships between the staff, volunteers, and interns, and hopes to carry these skills into the future! Bart is a Junior at the University of Georgia studying Anthropology and minoring in theatre.
Grace has been a part of the ESP family for 6 summers! This past summer she joined us as a unit specialist at the orange site. She aspires to double major in psychology and biology from the University of Georgia, and looks forward to using her knowledge from ESP in her future aspirations. Grace teaches Discovery on Mondays, and is thrilled to be a program intern this year. Grace loves watching cop shows, like “Law & Order,” and says she would be an investigator if she didn’t want to be a doctor.
Griffin is a program intern this year, and teaches the Piranhas class on Mondays! He is a Third Year Finance Major at UGA, from Ringgold, GA, and he’s the biggest Georgia Bulldogs fan you will ever meet! Griffin got involved in the Fall semester of 2019 from his friend, Annie, who was involved the semester before, and encouraged him to volunteer. He says he has truly learned that love doesn’t know a disability. The passion at ESP is everywhere you look, and that he claims it is the most important lesson he could ever wish to learn. ESP has given Griffin an outlet from school and he is so grateful for it. He is excited to take on this internship, and learn a great deal from the experiences!
Alex became a part of the ESP program intern team, and we couldn’t be more excited! She got involved because of Big Hearts, when her mom encouraged her to look into the organization. Alex teaches the Sports class on Mondays, and has such a blast every week! She claims that the connections she makes at ESP are unlike any other friendships she’s made anywhere else, and it’s the highlight of her week! Alex states that she’s learned a lot in her time here. The biggest thing she’s learned is how to adapt in situations everyday that might not go exactly how you planned. Being able to adapt in those types of situations is a huge skill that she’s learned over time at ESP, and hopes to take these skills with her in the future.
Tori is a senior at UGA. She is majoring in Special Education and minoring in Public Policy. Tori is from Ridgewood, NJ, and she also volunteers with the guide dog foundation. This year, Tori decided to join our program intern team, and we are delighted to have her! She teaches Punchline on Tuesdays, and always has a blast with her participants. Tori got involved with ESP her first semester of freshman year, fall of 2018. Her favorite memory from working here at ESP was the Bulldogs with Buddies event, but being a program intern comes close to beating it! Prior to getting involved with ESP, she thought she wanted to be a special education teacher, but didn’t have much experience. Volunteering at ESP showed her that this is what she wants to do for the rest of her life!
Kristy is one of our wonderful program interns, and she teaches Fitness on Tuesdays! She is a junior, majoring in Marketing and Finance! Kristy is from Cumming, Georgia and she has 3 little sisters. She first got involved at ESP her first semester at UGA. Kristy absolutely loved hanging out with people of all abilities in high school, so when she heard about the organization from Tyler King, she was super excited to jump into it! She says the participants know how to brighten your day like no other, and she’s definitely not wrong about that! Kristy has made some of the most amazing friendships that are so selfless and encouraging! We love having her on our team.
Megan started her journey here at ESP last year as a communications and photography intern! She decided to join the program intern team this year, and teaches Punchline on Tuesdays. Megan worked at our camp for the past two summers, and truly fell in love with all that ESP has to offer. This is her first year as a program intern, and she's doing an amazing job! She is a professional wedding photographer, and helped ESP raise money during quarantine with her Front Porch Portraits. Megan has a heart of gold, and we are so ecstatic to have her for another year!