Behind the Office Doors: Our Spring 2020 Interns

Volunteer Interns

Maddie Blessing

Maddie graduated with a major in Human Development and Family Sciences from UGA! She learned about this internship through Hunter, our Volunteer Coordinator, when she worked on summer staff. During her internship, Maddie would help plan various volunteer hangouts, the Big Hearts after party, was in charge of the Front of House breakdown for Big Hearts, and helped organize over 100 volunteers!

Before interning, she would tell herself that change is good, and it’s okay for everything to not be perfect 24/7. Maddie would also say to rely on her coworkers more. ESP has taught her how to ask for help, how to be patient, and how to love everyone around her. To her, interning for ESP was a dream. 

Maddie’s favorite ESP memory was this past summer where she watched each of her campers grow and blossom into incredible people. She is in awe of the growth at ESP, and believes it inspires everyone. 

Lindsay Wilson

Lindsay first started with ESP as a 360 volunteer in the spring of 2019, and then became an intern. Lindsay is a sophomore studying Communication Sciences and Disorders at UGA. During her internship, her favorite project was the volunteer polaroid project because she got to share the magic of ESP with volunteers’ families. She sent out cards to the volunteers’ families with a polaroid of the volunteer with their buddy! ⁣

Lindsay’s advice to future interns is to form as many relationships as you can with staff, participants, volunteers, and families. She would also say to not be afraid to try new things, and get ready, because this internship will change you for the better! 

Lindsay’s biggest takeaway from her internship is how to love creatively, and celebrate people in every moment. Whether it’s setting off confetti cannons or singing happy birthday, every person that walks through ESP’s doors feels like they are a part of something bigger than themselves.

Communications Interns

Rachel Henderson: Java Joy

Rachel is studying Special Education, with a minor in Social Work at UGA! She enjoys tennis, drawing, writing, and nature walks. Rachel attended ESP at UGA and volunteered at ESP Bowling. 

If Rachel could tell herself one thing before her internship, she would say to challenge herself more. She took a giant leap going for this internship, and she wished she had the courage to get involved earlier with more leadership opportunities. She would also tell herself it’s okay to fail and be tested. Define yourself by your effort, not success.

Rachel believes being a part of Java Joy expansion was a huge role, but also a huge blessing. She got to connect with the Joyristas and Athens community more and helped to create a vision for Athens Java Joy. It allowed her the opportunity to share the stories of the Joyristas. 

This internship has taught Rachel professional skills, how to work alongside her peers, and how to work behind the scenes on a major project. This was her first Big Hearts experience, and she was so excited to be able to support the participants and show the community what is so special about them. 

Brittney Butler

Brittney got to spend a week in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs one summer and graduated from UGA in the Spring of 2019 with a Degree in Journalism and Women’s Studies, and a certificate in Sports Media. She heard about this internship on Handshake, and connected with ESP’s mission.

An average day for Brittney looks very different each day. On one of her first days of her internship, she wrote a blog post, painted a banner, and took photos for an event all in one day. Her favorite project was working on the silent auction committee because she had never done anything like it before. She was there every step of the way, and had fun making sure the auction was running smoothly for everyone involved. 

Brittney came into this internship writing-focused, but quickly found a love for graphic design. She helped to create graphics, templates, and content for Camp Hooray. One of her favorite ESP memories was when she was running around the building getting things ready for Big Hearts. Nathan, an ESP participant, sat next to her. He told Brittney she has the best energy and it melted Brittney’s heart. Just having Nathan appreciate hanging out with her meant so much to her. 

Megan Holley

When she’s not running around taking photos for ESP, Megan is found snuggling with her mini goldendoodle, Rosie. She was a Communications Intern and photographer for ESP last summer, and loved it so much she decided to stay! Megan is a junior studying Human Development and Family Sciences at UGA. She is also a talented full-time wedding and portrait photographer, and is a virtual assistant serving the Southeast.

Lately, Megan has been working on the Front Porch Project in Atlanta and Athens. Her favorite project was Bulldogs and Buddies because she got to capture so much sweetness in one afternoon. Her advice to future interns is to soak in everything like a sponge.

Megan loves hearing the amazing ESP stories and connecting with new friends. ESP has brought her some of her closest friends.

Madison Stahl

Madison is our social media guru and is graduating UGA in July with an Advertising major and Fashion Merchandising minor. She enjoys equestrian horseback riding, cooking, cycling, and spending time with her new Australian Shepherd puppies. 

Madison worked on social media, videos, and any other communication needs at ESP. She loved working on the videos because they were events and special moments. Not only did she have to learn how to make them, it has also given her something to cherish and look back on forever. 

This internship taught Madison how to go outside of her comfort zone, how to be creative, and many skills she can carry on in future positions. Her favorite memory was when she learned we had won the Chick-fil-A True Inspiration Award. It was so unexpected and amazing to see how happy everyone was. Plus, all the persistence and hard work had paid off! 

Development Interns

DeRenne Raley

DeRenne is a graduate student getting her Master’s in Public Administration at UGA. She heard about this internship through her graduate program, and will be interning for Java Joy this summer! She enjoys reading, yoga, and coffee. 

DeRenne has loved working on grants and getting to be a part of that process. Although it’s behind the scenes, grants are vital to making sure ESP can live its mission. At ESP, DeRenne has learned to celebrate everything and embody our values. She would tell future interns to soak everything in and learn as much as possible, because this position is full of opportunity to grow. Fun fact about DeRenne is that her birthday is Christmas Eve!

Natalie Morean

Natalie stumbled upon this internship opportunity looking for a part-time position to parallel her master’s program at UGA. She applied to be an AmeriCorps member, but Ashley reached out to her and rerouted Natalie to the internship position. She interviewed with Ashley and three months later, she was a development intern! Natalie is studying her Masters in Nonprofit Management and Leadership at UGA.

At her internship, Natalie works on researching and writing grants using a collaborative style. She reviews the master grant calendar to see upcoming due dates for grant applications. Natalie compiled a master silent auction list that detailed all of the items that have been donated to ESP over the last four years. It was the biggest project she’s received, and she learned about the relationships we build with our supporters. Natalie saw people donate some really neat things to ESP to help us fundraise, which means that we are doing something right when it comes to sharing our mission and vision with others. 

Her advice to future interns would be to be present in every moment, because you will learn so much about what it means to be a champion for the community of all abilities. Natalie’s favorite part of the week was going to her 360 Music Class and being with her buddy.

Professionally, she developed a solid foundation to grow from as she continues to research and write grants for future organizations. Personally, ESP taught her about what it means to choose joy and seeing the positive in any circumstance.

Sarah Farriba 

Sarah graduated from GCSU with a major in Public Health. She learned about ESP from her internship advisor at GCSU. At ESP, she helped write thank-you notes, connect with our donors, and helped develop Fan Club. 

Sarah created an emotional wellness program for ESP as her final project for her GCSU internship course. Her advice to future interns is to enjoy your time, go to as many events as possible, and volunteer. 

Her favorite part about ESP was being at 360 with her buddy, Ryan. At this internship, she learned how to better love and care for the population we serve. She is sticking around ESP for summer camp!

Program Intern

Hunter Reynolds

Hunter is our program intern who is studying Recreational Therapy and Family and Child Development at Georgia Southern. He was a a program intern for Camp Twin Lakes at will be working again at Camp Twin Lakes this summer. Hunter helped facilitate programs, plan events, and worked with all of the program staff.

Thank you to our amazing office interns who have dedicated their year and hearts into ESP! We can’t wait to see what they’ll accomplish next, and they will be truly missed!

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