Children and families thrive at ESP Fall Festival
WATKINSVILLE, Ga., Oct. 20 — Batman and Hulk weren’t the only superheroes in attendance at the free fall festival hosted by Extra Special People, Inc. Volunteers from over ten school groups, university clubs and local organizations came together to make the night a success.
On Oct. 20., ESP held a fall festival for children with disabilities and their families in Northeast Georgia. Over 300 participants and volunteers attended the special event.
A festival typically brings anxiety to caregivers of children with disabilities. With a multitude of volunteers to assist families in games and activities, booths of food, and an accepting atmosphere, this fall festival was far from the ordinary. While families had the opportunity to relax with each other in a safe, comforting environment, children were celebrated for what they could do, not what they couldn’t.
For parents of kids at ESP, their children feeling good about themselves is worth more than all of the candy in the world. Many families expressed their gratitude towards the volunteers and event.
“The kids that were helping were amazing,” parent Robin King said. “By complimenting Kati on how great her costume was, how she decorated her cupcake and just by talking to her, they made her feel good about herself.”
The FCCLA group from Oconee High School, Oconee County Middle School Hero Club, Special Olympics at UGA, Autism UGA, Girl Scout Troop 12172 and Athens Academy Middle School led activities at the festival.
A variety of other companies provided food. Williams & Associates donated barbeque, Benson’s Bakery supplied cakes and Morning Glory provided cupcakes.
The event ran from 5 to 8 p.m. at the ESP building in Watkinsville where a total of 86 families were in attendance.
“Our goal is for kids to come and be at a place where we don’t see them for their disabilities but just as kids that we love spending time with,” Communications and Special Events Coordinator Jordan Beaman said. “Watching families walk away with happy kids, full bellies, and smiles on their faces, I know our goal was accomplished. We are so thankful for the many groups that made it possible.”