Opportunity Knocks in River Forest was the site of our March Informational Tour.
Opportunity Knocks is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that serves young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through social, recreational and life-skills programming. The people they serve are endearingly called Warriors because of their perseverance and strength. Opening their doors in 2010, Opportunity Knocks now serves over 100 Warrior families and offers several different programs including After Opps, Morning Opps and Life Shop.
After Opps is an after school/after work program that offers social and recreational activities in-house and out in the community. After Opps is held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3:30-6:30 and has between 25 and 35 Warrior participants on any given day.
Morning Opps, offered in partnership with Oak Park River Forest High School, provides special education students with structured activities during late arrival days. Programs are often planned and implemented in conjunction with other student body organizations.
Started in 2013, Life Shop is an alternative-style day program that takes a Warrior-centered approach to adult life in the community. Life Shop focuses on building life skills, health and wellness, community integration and vocational skills. It operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 to 2:30 and limits itself to 10 participants.
Opportunity Knocks also has three social enterprises (Knock Out Pickles, Warrior Farm and Warrior Catering Company) which provide a revenue stream as well as meaningful employment opportunities for the Warriors. Started in 2014, Knock Out Pickles sold 400 jars in its first year and now sells in bulk to area restaurants and is on the shelves at four local retail outlets. The Warrior Farm was conceived in late 2015 as a way to plant, grow and harvest the key ingredients for Knock Out Pickle production as well as other crops to be sold at local farmer’s markets or used in OK programming. In partnership with Reuse Depot, the farm is now a 2,500 square foot handicap-accessible urban garden that produced 25 different crops and nearly 800 lbs. of produce in 2016 (including 450 lbs. of pickling cucumbers!). Finally, the Warrior Catering Company offers catering service for small local events. Warrior employees team up with staff members onsite to work on all aspects of the operation, from food prep to food service to breakdown.
Thank you to Opportunity Knocks President Phil Carmody for facilitating our tour and taking the time to answer all our questions. For more information about Opportunity Knocks, visit their website at http://www.opportunityknocksnow.org
Connect to Community Educational Outreach events are offered in partnership with the Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization (NSSEO) and are funded in part by community grants from Palatine Township and the Rotary Club of Palatine. Thank you for your support!