Hope Rises

hope rises

A week ago, I was looking forward to a full schedule of experiencing the ESP mission in action. I had Leadership Georgia, football and the anticipation of one of our three big events of the year to be hosted on Sunday.

Then nothing went as planned.

No work.
No school.
No Leadership Georgia.

I had to adjust to a week now cleared; I made a list of the ways I could support Sunday’s upcoming event at our camp property, Camp Hooray. Part of that was surveying the damage to see what clean up needed to happen between now and then.

And just as I began reacclimating to all that I could accomplish in the week, I received the phone call. It was bad. Not only would we need to cancel our event due to unsafe conditions, wee had numerous trees on power lines. We had a flooded basement, leaks, roof damage and a large tree blocking the very beginning of the trail run and mud pit.

A moment of fear with this impending challenge and unplanned obstacle….

How would we still raise funds for needed programs?
How were we going to cover the cost of the damage?
How would we find the resources needed to remove the damage so that our programs could resume next week?

As the director, the decision maker, the hope-dealer, where could I find hope?


“Hope is being able to see light despite all of the darkness” – Desmond Tutu

Sometimes hope comes in the form of a dollar, in the form of a prayer, in the form of a friend’s text of encouragement or in the form of service.

We made the call to our community and the hope was shared… and shared again, posted and shared again. In our case, hope came in all forms.

Nothing went as I planned last week. And yet, as I sat yesterday and looked at a property nearly renewed and a goal nearly met, I was reminded that even the smallest bit of hope can overcome roadblocks, alleviate debilitating fear and conquer insurmountable challenges. While nothing went as I planned, all went exactly as it should.

While we still have a ways to go, and I can often feel paralyzed by the size of the project ahead of  raising funds and building the first fully-accessible camp from the ground up, it is these moments that remind me again that it only takes a small glimmer of hope. This mission and this dream is bigger than me. God will use our community to rally together as it did last week, to speak up for those who can’t speak up for themselves, to take that glimmer of hope and watch it spread. This hope will rise until the beautiful day when we see the completion of Camp Hooray.

When things seem dark, remember it only takes a glimmer. Hope rises.

About The Author

Laura Whitaker

Laura Whitaker, M. Ed., began her relationship with Extra Special People, Inc. by working as a counselor and, subsequently, a leadership team member in 2003. With her passion for enhancing the lives of children with developmental disabilities and her specialized education in this field, Laura was selected as the director after the founder, Martha Wyllie’s sudden passing in 2004. She has found her dream job with ESP (or her dream job found her!). As Executive Director, Laura uses her leadership and management strengths to manage staff, oversee multiple year-round programs and raise funds to run programs. Her favorite part of the job is getting to hug the many children who walk through the ESP doors.

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