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Laura's Top 5 Big Hearts Masterpiece Moments

As the curtains closed on another remarkable esp Big Hearts weekend, I find myself reminiscing about the unforgettable moments that unfolded last Friday & Saturday night. From the extended red carpet that witnessed heartwarming connections to the vibrant showcase of hidden talents, the entire weekend was a masterpiece painted with the brushstrokes of community, compassion, and celebration. Here are my top five highlights from the weekend:

5. Red Carpet Round 1

We had to extend the red carpet this year 🎉 thanks to the many who chose to join us Friday night for the Talent Show. Before the red carpet, I saw a participant, Finn, who was nervous. When the red carpet began, his best friend Wynnie grabbed Finn’s hand, and they walked the red carpet together with the biggest smiles on their faces while the crowd went wild. Celebration is always better together. 

4. Abilities Revealed

Something you may not know is that we—the esp staff—often do not see the full talent of our participants until they get on stage in front of the live audience. In rehearsals, we sometimes struggle to know if our participants will actually do it, and then, like magic, when people are in the seats to cheer them on - their abilities come alive! I loved seeing Hallie sing, Gibron make the audience laugh, and then play an eloquent piece on the keyboard, Magen lit up the show with her wheelchair, Brittney danced, and the ESP choir reminded us to “stand by me.” 

3. The mess before the masterpiece

On both evenings, there is a moment where the mess of the setup begins to turn into the vision created for the event. It is in the mess: the setup of Athens Church, the hurried running around the Classic Center placing signs and picking up trash that I see my team, who have worked for months to make this happen - working together to put on this masterful weekend. It is in the mess before the masterpiece that I stop and feel immense pride and love for these people I get to call my teammates

2. Red Carpet Round 2

Weeks ago, we were worried about the red carpet - how would we “part the seas” of 1500 guests to make way for our participants? In popped an idea to find a Bob Ross on stilts with a violinist walking the red carpet, serenading us all to “Masterpiece,” the theme song for the evening. Watching that come to life was one of my greatest joys of the weekend - I love and value the “surprise and delight” details and it was the perfect way to clear the way for our participant stars. 

1. Painting a Picture Together

Standing in the middle of the room, watching our community paint a picture - I was awestruck. As our artist, Elliott, painted a picture of Holland, our community got busy picking up their paintbrushes and joining in the joy of giving. I am always so very humbled, surprised, and emotional at this part. I fear every year that no one will raise their hand. And yet, as the years pass and the need for esp grows, our community continues to show up to fund the beautiful mission of esp.

Thank you for being a p(art) of the masterpiece 🖼️


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