Meet Our Team

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Sometimes you choose your job, other times your job chooses you.

Laura Whitaker began volunteering with ESP as a special ed college student in 2003. She was named Camp Director at just 19-years-old after the sudden passing of our founder, Martha. Over the last 17+ years, Laura has led ESP to growth and the expansion of our mission. She is passionate about leadership and uses her management strengths to manage staff, oversee multiple year-round programs, and raise funds to run programs. Her favorite part of the job is getting to hug the many children who walk through the ESP doors.
Laura’s most important roles include wife to husband Joseph and mother to Owen, Finley, and Tate.

For more about Laura, visit her site:

Executive Team

Laura Whitaker, Chief Executive Officer, laura@espyouandme.org

Ashley Stewart, Chief Operating Officer, ashley@espyouandme.org

Nicole Andrews, Executive Coordinator, nicole@espyouandme.org

Programs Team

Our programs team is responsible for planning and executing all of ESP’s programs and events that directly serve our participants of all abilities and their families!

Erin Thompson PodvinDirector of Community Programs, erin@espyouandme.org

Hunter PughFamily Support Coordinator, hunter@espyouandme.org

Matt Waring, Volunteer Coordinator, matt@espyouandme.org

Sarah Farriba, Rome Programs Coordinator, sarah@espyouandme.org

Meet the AmeriCorps Team that supports the programs at ESP each day here.

Operations Team

Our operations team keeps ESP running – safely and effectively!

Scott Williams, Director of Operations, scott@espyouandme.org

Shellie Sullivan, Administrative Coordinator, shellie@espyouandme.org

Gina Elliot, Director of Finance, gina@espyouandme.org

Karen Lee, Bookkeeper, karen@espyouandme.org

Development & Marketing Team

Our development & marketing team is focused on finding ways for our community to connect with the mission of ESP!

Alex Perry, Director of Development & Marketing, alex@espyouandme.org

Steve ArgoLeadership Annual Giving Officer, steve@espyouandme.org

Sarah Kennedy, Marketing Manager, sarahk@espyouandme.org

Brittney Butler, Marketing Coordinator, brittney@espyouandme.org

Mariharden McElhenyStewardship & Events Coordinator, mariharden@espyouandme.org

Sydney Laughlin, Annual Giving Associate, sydney@espyouandme.org

Karmen Knott, Big Hearts Contractor, karmen@espyouandme.org

Java Joy

Our Java Joy team keeps our adult participants employed - while spreading moments of engagement with the community!

Grant Colquitt, Java Joy Athens Coordinator,  grant@espyouandme.org

Laura Cavalenes, Java Joy Athens AmeriCorps, lcavalenes@espyouandme.org

Madison McCrorey, Java Joy Athens AmeriCorps, mmccrorey@espyouandme.org

Emma Barton, Java Joy Athens AmeriCorps, ebarton@espyouandme.org

Lexi Domlija, Java Joy Athens Assistant,     ldomlija@espyouandme.org

Kidron Bullock, Java Joy Rome AmeriCorps, kbullock@espyouandme.org

Anne Lownes, Java Joy Rome AmeriCorps, alownes@espyouandme.org

Ashley Vanzant, Java Joy Rome AmeriCorps, avanzant@espyouandme.org

AmeriCorps Team

Meet the AmeriCorps Team that supports the programs at ESP each day! Learn more about each member here.

Lauren Cavalenes, Employment-Focused, Athens

Madison McCroreyEmployment-Focused, Athens

Ashley VanzantEmployment-Focused, Rome

Anne LownesEmployment-Focused, Rome

Kidron BullockEmployment-Focused, Rome

Alex BruggermanFamily-Focused, Athens

Brandon MarshallFamily-Focused, Athens

Mollie McGeeFamily-Focused, Athens

Hunter ReynoldsFamily-Focused, Athens

Bradley ThomasFamily-Focused, Athens

Tiernan FoxFamily-Focused, Athens

Communications and Marketing

sarahk@espyouandme.org

Corporate Partnerships

steve@espyouandme.org