Jackson Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) has donated $15,000 to Extra Special People (ESP), a Watkinsville-based non-profit that provides programs for children and young people with special needs in nine Northeast Georgia counties, including Clarke, Banks, Barrow, Jackson and Madison.
“ESP provides children with developmental disabilities the gifts of acceptance, hope, and the opportunity to thrive through recreational therapy, community involvement and the arts,” explained executive director Laura Whitaker. “ESP provides more than just programs, but a way of life. Unfortunately we can serve a very limited number of local children and families due to lack of space; for every two children ESP serves, one child must be turned away.”
To expand its service to the community, ESP is conducting a $3.4 million, three-year capital campaign to build a new facility in the Watkinsville area. Plans call for a fully-accessible facility with classrooms, recreation areas, a swimming pool, kitchen and bathrooms designed for disabilities and wheelchairs, and rooms for physical therapy equipment, sensory therapy and accessible technology.
“The addition of more space will lead to expanded programming and the ability to better serve both our current participants and new families. To date, the campaign has raised nearly $1.4 million. Through a generous contribution from the Turner Family Foundation, all donations – including Jackson EMC’s – will be doubled until October 28th,” Whitaker said.
“The importance of the services that ESP provides and the impact it makes in the lives of these children and young people, as well as their families, is tremendous. The children gain skills, build confidence and become more independent, and their families are offered both support and a respite from the demands of their care. We are extremely gratified to be able to help them serve more people in the community,” commented Jackson EMC president/CEO Chip Jakins.
The Jackson EMC donation comes from margin refunds that have been unclaimed by the electric cooperative’s members. Legislation passed in 2005 permits Georgia electric cooperatives to make charitable and economic development contributions of margin refunds that remain unclaimed by former members after a specified period of time.
Jackson EMC is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperative providing power to more than 214,000 meters in 10 Northeast Georgia counties.
Founded in 1986, ESP serves children with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Autism, Asperger’s, fetal alcohol syndrome, spina bifida and many behavioral problems through program such as after-school activities and summer camp, while also providing therapy and activities for their families.
For information on Extra Special People, please call 706/769-9333 or go to www.extraspecialpeople.com.