Our Staff

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. Kalon is responsible for overseeing activities and programs at 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.

Jake Sapp

Program Staff Manager

Jake Sapp made his way back to ESP after spending his first year following graduation 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 works 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.

Gina Elliott

Director of Operations

Gina is excited to join the ESP team as the Director of Operations. She previously served as bookkeeper for ESP and has more than a decade of experience in accounting and management with a degree in Business Management & Accounting from Gwinnett Tech. Gina knows firsthand the effect that ESP has on the children and families we serve. She is the proud mother of an ESP participant, Clete, and camp counselor, Tyler. Her family fully supports ESP and the valuable services it provides. Gina and her family are also the caretakers of Camp Hooray.

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

Ashley Stewart

Project Manager

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!

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

Hunter Pugh

Volunteer Coordinator

22-year-old Hunter Pugh currently lives in Athens with her fur baby, Luna. She holds a BS in Psychology with Honors from the University of Alabama and she’s currently pursuing her Masters in Social Work at the University of Georgia. Hunter began her relationship with ESP as a camp counselor in 2017, before taking on a leadership role. As Volunteer Coordinator, Hunter is the main point of contact for all volunteers, new and old. On a normal day, you can find Hunter front and center at 360 and other programs, busily engaging with our hundreds of volunteers.

Shellie Sullivan

Administrative Coordinator

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 supporters of several UGA Sports including football, basketball, and baseball. 

Peter Cates

Recreation Coordinator

Peter Cates is a native of the rural town of Waynesboro, Georgia. He became involved with ESP during his time at UGA while earning a Bachelors of Science in History. Peter has now spent the last four summers as varying staff positions at ESP, and now assists programs year round as well as managing ESP’s facilities. When he is not at ESP, he enjoys spending time traveling, hunting, and spending time with his close friends and family.

Laura Graben

Java Joy Athens & Corporate Partner Coordinator

Graben began her time with ESP during her freshman year at UGA as a volunteer with 360. She moved on to an internship with Java Joy. Now, Graben is keeping Java Joy running smoothly and supporting ESP’s Corporate Partners. She recently finished her Masters in Nonprofit Management at UGA. In her free time, Graben enjoys cooking, fitness, and spending time with her dog, Addy.

Matthew Dooley

Development Assistant

Matthew is a 23-year-old with cerebral palsy. When he was younger, Matthew attended ESP’s summer camp for twelve years. He left to focus on his education and graduated from Oconee County High School with a regular ed degree. He is now working on his Communications degree. In his free time, Matthew enjoys taking advantage of all of the opportunities Athens has to cheer on the Dawgs, spending time with his dog, Champ, and working at Bulldog Kia. Matthew built life-long friendships and confidence, and learned a lot about himself at ESP camp. He’s excited to give back to the community and mission he believes in.

Nicole Andrews

Executive Coordinator

Keeping up an Andrews’ family tradition! After several years working with Laura and her family, Nicole is excited to be joining ESP! A 2019 grad, Nicole graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Communications studies. Both her sister Erica and Janelle have worked at ESP.