What ESP Provides to Us All

12042938_1094025077289485_6566214199402945676_n 12234967_1117038954988097_2380100570259374775_n

As the year begins to wind down and the spirit of thankfulness is on all of our minds, I begin to think about what makes ESP so special, and why I’m so thankful for this community. I read the end of our mission statement and it states “Where individuals with developmental disabilities don’t just survive, but thrive”. I reflect on that sentence and it couldn’t be more true. The longer I’m with the organization and this beautiful community, the more that sentence means to me. It could read “Where individuals don’t just survive, but thrive.” “Where volunteers don’t just survive, but thrive.” “Where parents don’t just survive, but thrive.” “Where Jake doesn’t just survive, but thrives.” ESP is a community where we all have the opportunity the thrive, together.

The beauty in this organization continues to manifest itself in my life daily. In no other position would I have the opportunity to share a community with a 19 year old college student who happens to volunteer with ESP, a 9 year old who happens to have autism, and a 60 year old parent of someone who happens to have Down Syndrome, but here that is common place; here that is part of my eccentric, passionate, fun-loving ESP family.

The confidence I see every person in this community gain is astounding whether it’s confidence in one’s ability to communicate better, or the encouragement received from a job well done in art class. Perhaps as one of our part-time college staff recently said at a staff dinner, the confidence that they “found their place to call home during their college years” or maybe the confidence that a parent receives knowing that someone out there loves their child almost as much as they do for exactly who they are. ESP gives me confidence knowing that I have an army of people who love me and are willing to help whenever I ask.

To all of you participants, parents, volunteers, board members, part-time staff, and fellow full-time staff who make up Extra Special People thank you for being a part of the most important community in my life.

With love,


Jake Sapp
About The Author

Jake Sapp

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.

Related Blogs

Posted by Haley Lacuesta | October 24, 2018
Cheyten at Bat
ESP is currently working to build a local Miracle League park complete with a splash pad, an accessible playground, and a custom-designed baseball field. This inclusive recreational complex will serve...
Posted by Haley Lacuesta | October 17, 2018
Cathy Kesterson’s Big 3 Journey
Big 3 events are the best way for families to introduce children of all abilities to ESP. For Cathy Kesterson, a long-time and dedicated ESP mom, they are a way...
Posted by ESP Team | March 8, 2018
Meet Matthew: Development Assistant
Hello, My name is Matthew Dooley. I was a camper at ESP for 12 years. I enjoyed all of the fun activities that we did. I tried horseback riding and...