Give CELEBRATION to participants like Mallori who mentioned she was celebrating her birthday soon to a group of students volunteering at Westminster during afternoon programs one day. Without being prompted, the kids sang her happy birthday and we got to learn how we celebrate birthdays ESP-style. Right after, everyone jumped into a whole dance party and it was beautiful to see these kids latch on to our core value of celebration with no hesitation! Your gift helps celebrate those that many times go unnoticed and certainly those often not celebrated.
Give CONNECTION to Atlanta Joyristas by providing them with 360 family support through essential programming during the day where participants can see each other outside of their regularly scheduled work events and regularly scheduled trainings. Through spending time with each other outside of work, Joyrista friendships have grown to the point that they are hanging out socially, carpooling, and their families are getting close, too!
Give COMPASSION this #givingtuesday by helping ESP create compassionate connections between people of all abilities. Haley Mitchell, a previous ESP Summer Staff member, has been living in Atlanta for a few years now and has missed getting to be in on the ESP magic. For our GA/FL Tailgate, she was able to come out and be a buddy again for the first time in years and make a new friend in our participant, Catherine. The two spent the night playing football, making s’mores, and keeping warm by the fire. It was amazing to see her love for ESP reignite with her time volunteering in Atlanta – compassion that lasts.
Give COMFORT to families like Caroline’s who do not typically get to participate in activities alongside other children. When Caroline’s mom dropped her off for an event and she was explaining how it was okay if Caroline only watched because they just wanted her to experience ESP and be with others. Our Atlanta AmeriCorps team got to talk with her about how excited they were for Caroline to participate in her own way and how they were happy to spend time with her no matter what that time looked like. Talking with Caroline’s mom about what unconditional acceptance looks like at ESP really showed her what it means to be a part of the ESP community and it brought her to tears. Caroline ended up playing games with everyone else and even cheered on her friends from the sidelines and it was beautiful to see her shine!
Give COMMUNITY to participants like Hayes and his family. Hayes’ dad Chad Lindsey began working at ESP as a summer camp counselor in 2006. One year, he met a counselor named Kim who would later become his wife. In February 2014, Chad and Kim’s first child, Hayes, was born with special needs. In a serendipitous turn of events, they switched sides of the table and went from ESP supporters to ESP parents. Years later, Chad championed the expansion of ESP and Java Joy to Atlanta in hopes that Hayes will become a “Joyrista” at Java Joy like so many participants he looks up to today. Your gift has helped us INNOVATE POSSIBILITIES for the future of participants like Hayes in the city of Atlanta!