Exciting Updates at ESP

ESP exists to create transformative experiences for people with disabilities and their families, changing communities for the better. We have been doing this in the Athens area for 37 years. With an influx of families moving to the area, along with years of requests to grow our footprint — ESP began planting seeds in other cities, which have turned into two beautiful ESP locations in Rome and Atlanta. The last few years have been nothing short of remarkable watching participants and families experience for the first time what families in Athens have the opportunity to experience each and everyday. 

This growths has not been without challenge. Each day, our team is working behind-the-scenes to learn, grow, and find ways to best serve all of our ESP families, providing them with the love and support they deserve. This growth has also shown us ways we can provide upward mobility for staff who have a desire to make us a better version of ourselves.

It is with that, we are excited to share with you a few exciting changes you will see in the next year:

  • Our goal is to serve each community in the way the community needs. While grounded in the foundation of our mission, this service can look different. In Rome, they are continuing to serve more and more families. In Atlanta, they are localizing many programs to Marietta to create a more established community. And in Athens, we are navigating how to serve more participants, more often. Each city has the magic of ESP, but with its own individual needs.
  • For this reason, we are at a place where we need leadership for each city. This will look like the role of an Executive Director for each ESP community: a leader who can provide focus, support, and direction for our local teams and communities. For Athens & Rome, we have Interim Executive Directors who have stepped up to the plate while we look for their more permanent successors this year. For Atlanta, they will continue to take this year to grow and strengthen their foundation, joining this process later in 2024. As ESP grows to future cities, Executive Directors will be the first staff hired.
  • Additionally, with this plan to have a more sustainable staff structure, this year was the final year of our AmeriCorps program. We will be transition the spots that were filled by AmeriCorps Members to full-time program staff members, along with interns and part-time staff, creating a larger program team to serve our mission in deeper ways. Our AmeriCorps program was a catalyst for our growth and family outreach for the past six years. We are thankful for the special program that helped us grow at a time we needed it the most. We are excited for a more permanent program team to support each community!

Finally, as each city grows, they will be supported by an ESP team comprised of myself, our COO, Directors, and staff whose goal is to support & evaluate programs, raise additional funds for city growth and provide key functions such as HR, technology, and operations, so that the city can focus on executing their mission.

We know these are many changes and transitions, and we recognize we will experience a few hiccups along the way. Our ask of you is to help us, and help our communities, by embracing one of our ESP core values: compassion freely given. 

We are so thankful for every hand, mind, and heart that supports, loves on, and participates in our extra special mission. We are laser-focused on a better ESP each and every day, and we know with you, the growth will make for a better ESP tomorrow. We are ESP, you and me.