(Media release from ESP Rome):

Rome, a city known for its rich history and vibrant community, has witnessed the extraordinary growth of ESP Rome over the past year. From the inception of its first summer camp to their recent accomplishments, ESP Rome has become a beacon of hope and support for people with disabilities and their families. As they celebrate their second summer camp season, ESP Rome is proud to announce the appointment of their new interim executive director, Devon Smyth!

ESP Rome, a branch of the acclaimed organization Extra Special People (ESP), has been transforming the lives of children with disabilities by providing them with inclusive and empowering experiences. Over the past year, the organization has seen tremendous growth and significantly impacted the lives of numerous families in the Rome community. The statistics from ESP Rome’s last year showcase the remarkable strides they have taken: in the previous year, ESP Rome welcomed participants to 300 hours of programming, served the community through 632 hours of employment at Java Joy events, furthering the employment of our 20 Joyristas, held 360 programs three afternoons weekly, and held monthly Family Dinners welcoming 64 new families and serves over 104 families year-round. In the first month of the 2023 Summer Camp season, ESP Rome served 85 campers. That’s 15 more campers than last year, bringing the mission into the homes of even more Rome families!

“ESP continues to deepen its roots in the beautiful community of Rome. With over 100 Romans thriving at ESP, it is time to take it to the next level and we are going to need the support to make it happen,” said ESP CEO, Laura Hope Whitaker.

Additionally, ESP Rome successfully organized numerous events throughout the year, such as Big Hoops, TRI-ESP, and many fundraisers. These initiatives not only provided a support network for families but also promoted a sense of belonging and understanding within the community.

To ensure the continued success and growth of ESP Rome, ESP, Inc. is excited to announce Devon Smyth as their new interim executive director. Smyth brings a wealth of experience in nonprofit management and a passion for creating inclusive environments. Her vision and leadership will undoubtedly guide ESP Rome to new heights, ensuring that every person with a disability in Rome receives the support and opportunities they deserve. “As the new interim executive director of ESP Rome, I am humbled and honored to be part of an organization that is truly making a difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities,” says Smyth. “I am committed to building on the incredible work done by ESP Rome and ensuring that every individual in our community feels empowered, included, and celebrated. Together, with the support of our dedicated team, generous sponsors, and the Rome community, we will continue to create transformative experiences and build a more inclusive society.”

ESP Rome would also like to express their gratitude to their corporate sponsors, Greater Community Bank, Harbin Clinic, Big Dan’s Car Wash, and Cave Spring Equipment Company. These generous organizations have shown unwavering support for ESP Rome’s mission and have played a vital role in helping them provide transformative experiences for individuals with disabilities. Their commitment to the community serves as an inspiration and a testament to the power of collective impact.

To truly experience the magic of ESP Rome, the organization invites the community to attend their upcoming Friend Friday on July 28th. Friend Friday is an opportunity to have a first-hand experience with the ESP mission where you’ll join in on the Welcome Wagon Parade, enjoy Java Joy coffee, and sing camp songs with all of our participants. The event is from 8:30-10:00 AM at Georgia Highlands College Lakeview Building and will provide an opportunity for the community to engage, volunteer, and support this remarkable mission.

ESP Rome’s commitment to creating a more inclusive society for individuals with disabilities is evident in its year-long journey filled with achievements, growth, and unwavering support from the community. Together, let us continue to create a world where every person has the opportunity to thrive!