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Our Full-Time Staff

Meet the team that keeps ESP running smoothly, so we can serve our participants year-round! Each staff member has their email listed if you need to get in contact with them! 

Jake Sapp / Coordinator of Program Operations

Jake Sapp has made his way back to ESP after spending his first year following graduation spent in South Carolina. Jake is excited to be home while continuing to grow with the organization that was so pivotal in shaping the person he is. Jake will work closely with staff, families, volunteers, and the community to ensure programs run smoothly! In his free time, Jake enjoys spending time with his family, friends, and his dog Goose. Email jake@extraspecialpeople.com

Kalon Carpenter / Coordinator of Recreational Programs

Kalon Carpenter is a graduate of Georgia Southern University. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and a Certified Child Life Specialist. Kalon has previously worked at Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge Georgia and was an intern at the National Ability Center in Utah. Although she is new to the ESP team Kalon couldn’t be happier to be part of the family. Kalon will be responsible for overseeing all the volunteers as well as all the activities and programs of ESP including 360 year-round programs, family camps, summer camp, and special event programs. In her spare time Kalon loves spending time outdoors being active, reading, baking, and working on DIY projects or anything crafty. Email kalon@extraspecialpeople.com

Katarina Christmann / Coordinator of Communications

Katarina studied Advertising and Art History at the University of Georgia graduating in May 2015. Katarina began as a Public Relations and Special Events Intern at ESP. The fast pace and variety of the work at ESP are what drew her to the position, but the kids are what kept her here. She now works on ESP’s design, marketing, email, and social media. Katarina is from St. Simons Island. When she’s not spending time at ESP, Katarina loves baking, reading, hiking, and cuddling with her cats Clementine & Gus. Katarina loves being a part of the ESP family and putting her own touch on things! Email katarina@extraspecialpeople.com

Amanda McKenzie / Volunteer and Creative Coordinator

Amanda is a recent graduate of the University of Georgia where she studied music and French. She has been at ESP in a variety of positions since 2013, including 360 staff, summer senior staff, and Specialty Director. She has transitioned to full-time staff as the new volunteer and creative coordinator. She will be working with our volunteers at programs and special events, as well behind the scenes on the creative endeavors of events such as Big Hearts. When she’s not at ESP, she loves traveling, hiking, reading, and sampling all of the best food Athens has to offer! Questions about volunteering? Email Amanda@extraspecialpeople.com

Ashley Hilmer / Coordinator of Development

Ashley is an Orlando, Florida native who graduated from Florida State University and made her way to Athens to complete her Master of Public Administration degree at the University of Georgia. Ashley began as the Development Intern for ESP and fell in love with all this community had to offer and the joy it brought her each day. Ashley will oversee various philanthropic projects at ESP, including the ESP Fan Club, and continue to help strengthen the support our community provides to our families. Ashley loves corny jokes, traveling, quality time with friends, adorable animals, and putting a positive spin on everything she can! Email Ashley@extraspecialpeople.com

Mike Baine / Operations and Facilities Manager

Michael was born and raised in Central Florida where he spent over 10 years fighting crime and saving lives as a Police Officer and Deputy Sheriff. On his days off, he ran a successful construction business. After moving up to Georgia and marrying his beautiful wife, Brianne, he continued restoring homes and managing construction projects. Michael brought his expertise in management and running a business to ESP and is responsible for the operational systems, processes, and policies which support our mission. In his “spare” time, Mike, along with his wife and 5 children, manage and take care of Camp Hooray in Jefferson. He and his family are active in their church and enjoy working outside, experiencing new adventures with family and friends, traveling by van and competing in any sport possible. Email Mike@extraspecialpeople.com

Jennifer Lancaster / Coordinator of Special Events

Jennifer has 22 years experience in the non-profit community with the Metro Atlanta YMCA  with involvement in summer camp, board development, fundraising and special events. A desire to serve her community closer to home pulled her to explore opportunities in and around Oconee County. Becoming a part of the ESP family has been a dream come true. As the Coordinator of Special Events, Jennifer will work with the ESP team on the Big 3 events throughout the year. Additionally, she will be implementing the new Corporate Partnership Program to help encourage our many ESP sponsors to become year-round partners in our events and programs. Jennifer, her husband Bo and their daughter Emma live in Bishop and enjoy spending time outside, camping, flying and traveling. Email jennifer@extraspecialpeople.com

Shellie Sullivan / Administrative Assistant

Shellie brings over 25 years of administrative experience from the Corporate and Retail World. Looking for a more serving direction in this next phase of her life as an empty-nester, she is so excited to be a part of the ESP Family. Shellie and her husband Greg live in downtown Athens and are huge fans of several UGA Sports including football, basketball, and baseball. Email admin@extraspecialpeople.com

Gina Elliott / Bookkeeping

Gina Elliott (aka Clete’s mom) began working with ESP doing the bookkeeping in September of 2013. She is thrilled to be a part of the magic that is created here everyday. Gina brings over 10 years of experience in the accounting industry. She is married and a full time mom to 3 children. Her youngest child, Clete, is a member of ESP.