ESP serves children and young adults with developmental disabilities and their families through our year-round thrive programs, family support, and community involvement

Our Story

ESP is the legacy of one woman who had a passion for children and young people with special needs, and a vision of a place where they and their families could focus on their abilities instead of their disabilities. Martha Wyllie founded ESP in 1986, offering high-quality affordable programs for “people with different abilities.” Twenty-one children enrolled in that first summer camp. By the time Martha died in 2004, ESP was serving 130 campers with a budget of $150,000 and had acquired a small facility where children could be served on-site. The year following Martha’s death, ESP Summer Camp was in danger of being eliminated because of lack of funding. When a young camp counselor, Laura Whitaker, heard this, she pulled together the families and made a call to the community to save camp by raising $50,000 in just a matter of months. The founder’s family appointed Laura as the new Executive Director in January of 2006.

Since becoming Executive Director, Laura has led ESP to expanded programming, and the organization now serves more young people than ever before. ESP runs weekend and after-school programs, family support programs, and events in addition to summer camp. After a 5 year capital campaign, ESP opened the doors on a 14,000 sq. ft. facility in Watkinsville in June of 2016. Everyday, ESP continues to provide a safe place that individuals with disabilities can call their own. Through the magic that ESP creates kids, young adults, families, volunteers, donors and staff are changed!

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Who We Serve

ESP serves individuals with behavior disorders, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism, Asperger’s, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Angelman Syndrome, Spina Bifida, and many more.

300Families
 served in the summer of 2016.
26Counties
 individuals come from 2+ states.
2000Individuals
 in NE GA area could benefit from ESP’s services.

Our Team

laura headshot

Meet our ED

Meet our Staff

Meet our Board of Directors

Meet our Board of Advisors

ESP is an AmeriCorps State program site!

AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 members in intensive service annually to serve through nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations at 25,000 locations across the country. These members help communities tackle pressing problems while mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve. Since 1994, more than 900,000 Americans have provided more than 1.2 billion hours of service to their communities and country through AmeriCorps. For more information, visit NationalService.gov. AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than 5 million. Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve.