Happy Halloween, and thanks for checking out this month’s Nonprofit Spotlight!
If you’re new to this series, you can check out the heart behind these posts and learn more about some amazing nonprofits in our area if you explore the Spotlights from previous months. If you’re returning, welcome back! I am very excited to share this organization with you, because it comes recommended by my dear friend, Luciana. Read on to hear from her about an amazing organization which is close to so many hearts: Extra Special People!
What is Extra Special People?
Extra Special People is a non-profit organization in Watkinsville, GA that creates opportunities for people with disabilities and their families to engage, connect, and thrive.
How did you get involved?
Throughout my years in high school, I always helped out with our Special Ed. Dance, Special Olympics, a little league baseball team for kids with disabilities, and a few individuals with autism at my church. I really loved working with that population. Coming into college, I wanted to be involved with an organization as personal and impacting as these experiences I had were. It took me until my sophomore year to learn about this organization a few of my sorority sisters were involved with, called ESP, that worked directly with people with special abilities every single day! I decided to tag along one day to their afterschool programs as a volunteer and fell in love with the joy that the kids there radiate. Two and a half years later, this place still has my heart. After serving on the summer staff as a counselor this past year for the first time, I was blessed with the opportunity to come on as an intern, working now to continue the growth of ESP’s mission.
How does this organization meet the needs of our city?
ESP serves individuals with behavior disorders, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism, Asperger’s, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Angelman Syndrome, Spina Bifida, and many more. Despite their disabilities, at ESP we focus on their abilities, and no child is turned away. We serve over 2000 individuals with developmental disabilities through our afterschool programs, summer camp, and family support. These give the kids a chance to participate in any sort of activity they might be interested in – cooking, swimming, theater, rock climbing, you name it – while also giving these full-time parents a community of support and a place they can trust, full of people who love loving their kids. Our participants learn how to grow in all the amazing abilities they have and love who they are, radiating their unique personalities throughout our community and touching the hearts of many.
If you could describe the organization in 5 words, what would they be?
joyful, welcoming, full-of-life, limitless, home
How can people get involved?
ESP could not do what we do and serve as many as we serve without the continuous support of our amazing volunteers! We have a volunteer network of over 1,400 people and growing at the rate we are, now more than ever, we are always in need of more hands. You can contact us with any questions you might have about getting involved via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or easily get directly plugged in to our volunteer network by making an account on our online portal at this link: https://givepul.se/wmvek
This keeps you in the know of all the upcoming events we have going on you can get involved with!