UGA PRSSA and ESP’s Big Hearts Pageant Greek Contest

This year the University of Georgia's Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is teaming up with the local organization, Extra Special People (ESP), for their annual Big Hearts Pageant in which contestants show off their talents and abilities while being celebrated for who they are.

The UGA PRSSA Service & Outreach Committee has organized a contest among the sororities at UGA with the hopes of boosting student involvement and excitement about the organization. Highwire Lounge and Tame Style Bar have kindly donated prizes for first and second place.

This year's Pageant will be held on Feb. 8, 2014 at the Classic Center in downtown Athens. Silent auction starts at 3 p.m. and the pageant will begin at 4 p.m. with a closing banquet afterwards. Tickets are $12 each or $10 each when purchasing ten or more at a time. All proceeds from the event are used to support the organization's programs, which in turn help to keep costs low for the families. These funds will also help ESP towards the expansion of the organization in order to serve a broader base of children in need.

Greek organizations that choose to participate in the contest will earn spirit points by attending the Big Hearts Pageant, participating in the percentage days at Alta Moda Boutique and by purchasing T-shirts in support of the event. The winning sorority may choose either 20 percent off coupons from Highwire or 50 percent off coupons from Tame. Second place will receive the other prize. Alta Moda will host percentage days on Feb. 4 and 5. The owner, Lindsey McKinney, has generously agreed to donate 20 percent of sales those days to ESP, which could total around $2,500.

Extra Special People's mission is to “empower children with developmental disabilities to cultivate skills, self-confidence, and relationships through recreational therapy, community involvement, and the arts.” They hold monthly events with the purpose of spreading awareness of their mission, involving the community, and celebrating the children and families that they serve.

PRSSA and ESP hope that you can join us for this year's upcoming Big Hearts Pageant as it is an incredibly fun and heart-warming event! Those interested are encouraged to visit the Facebook event “Bright Lights, Big Hearts in the Classic City!” at for further information and to purchase tickets.

With more than 230 active members, the John E. Drewry Chapter of PRSSA at the University of Georgia is the largest chapter in the world. It was named after Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication's first dean and was founded at The University of Georgia in 1969. Dr. Betty Jones is the current faculty advisor, and Jessica Rossi serves as the professional advisor.

ESP, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit serving he eight-county area surrounding Watkinsville, Ga., was established in 1987 by Martha Wyllie. The first program, summer camp, was created to provide a place for kids with developmental disabilities to spend just a couple of weeks among children with the same special needs and talents as them.

From that first 21-person summer camp session, Wyllie's dream grew into a nonprofit with a year-round mission to offer social, functional and recreational activities that educate and entertain children and young adults with disabilities ranging from cerebral palsy, Autism spectrum, traumatic brain injury, Down syndrome and other developmental delays. After Wyllie's passing in 2005, the ESP Board of Directors selected one-time counselors and camp director Laura Whitaker, M. Ed., to lead the organization.

With ever-expanding after-school programs, weekend clubs, an eight-week long summer camp and family resources, ESP now reaches more than 150 children, with an ongoing dream of reaching every Northeast Georgia family that has a need and a desire to help their special child grow and thrive.

For more information visit, and to purchase tickets to the event visit,

Date: January 27, 2014

Contact:  Ally Montemurro,