My name is Laura HopE

Laura Hope Whitaker began as a volunteer at Extra Special People in 2003. With her passion for enhancing the lives of children with developmental disabilities, Laura became the Executive Director at the age of 19 after the founder, Martha Wyllie's sudden passing in 2004.  Laura is a "hope dealer" and uses her leadership and management strengths, to manage staff, oversee year-round programs and summer camps and raise millions of dollars needed for the organization. Her favorite part of the job is receiving hope by getting to hug the children of all abilities who walk through the ESP doors. 

Laura enjoys leading the growing organization while admiring tulips, nurturing her affection for elephants, decorating thriftily and raising 3 kids in Athens, GA. 

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The new theme has everything to do with Laura’s March 22nd TEDxUGA talk! We don’t want to give everything away just yet. Check back to this spot next week to see the seed that Laura has been planted on Friday night. And yes, dandelions do play into it!