We need great humans!
Volunteers, Interns, Boards & Staff
We need great humans!
Volunteers, Interns, Boards & Staff
Opportunity Knocks is dedicated to enriching life and community. We exist to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as they live, work, learn, grow and connect within their community.
We believe in a dynamic, person-centered and community-based approach to programming that engages the voice of all Warriors, thrives on interdependent connections, encourages exploration, centers on holistic wellness and fostering healthy relationships.
Perseverance and strength through challenges have led us to nickname our participants Warriors. We are dedicated to providing support and resources for teens and young adults.
We are currently serving the communities of Oak Park, Forest Park, and River Forest. Due to our current space constraints, we are limited to serving only those communities.
Opportunities for young people with I/DD are terribly limited. The state of Illinois ranks 49th in the nation in supporting community-based programs. More than 12,000 are currently awaiting state services.
National rank in supporting community-based services
Local Warriors requesting state support, who are still waiting
Supported by OK programs on an annual average
We listen to our participants and collaborate as equal architects in developing programs. Specific activities vary throughout the year and across programs, but common to all programs is some combination of a focus on wellness, vocational skills, life skills, leadership, social recreation, and community connection.
After Opps is an after-school/after work program that offers social and recreational activities of all kinds. Each session’s activities are determined through a collaborative partnership between Warrior participants and OK Staff.
An alternative-style day program that takes a Warrior-centered approach to adult life in the community. Designed for Warriors older than age 22, focusing on building life skills, health and wellness, community connections and vocational skills.
With 3 initiatives under the Knockout Brand of social enterprises, we aim to sustain meaningful and gainful vocational skill-building opportunities, while also producing a revenue stream to support OK operations.
As a grassroots organization, operating outside of the abysmal state funding structure, we have built OK on a foundation of community support. We rely heavily on a vast network of donors, volunteers, and partners to help support, sustain and grow our mission. We have a great network, but it is paramount that it continues to grow. Want to get involved?
The Community Mental Health Board of Oak Park Township (CMHB) is a branch of Oak Park Township. The CMHB is comprised of nine residents appointed by the Township Supervisor with the approval of the Township Trustees.
Opportunity Knocks is proud to be among the agencies that the CMHB supports. The CMHB is a significant source of support for the Warriors participating in OK’s Life Shop.
We are grateful to have such strong partnerships with the local townships!
We are 94% privately funded. Without your support, we would not exist. Please consider supporting the Warriors today.
From program support members to event staff volunteers, corporate groups and internships, opportunities to connect abound.
Corporate sponsorships, program partnerships and all sorts of ways in between to connect your group with our group in mission.
The Milburn Family has been a part of OK since we swung our first sledgehammers during the buildout of our program space at the RFCC in 2009. The family has stayed committed with time, energy and financial support while also committing the vast resources of their business to help Opportunity Knocks continue to grow.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group has been one of OK's most generous partners since 2013. The broker of the group, John Lawrence serves on the board of directors. With John leading the way, the team at BHHS commits their time as volunteers, their commissions as donors and their love and support as partners in the mission.
Led by local agent and long-time supporter and advocate of the OK Mission, Garfield Philpotts, the Allstate Family has grown into one of OK's most generous corporate partners. Working thru the company's giving program and connecting thru our events as volunteers Garfield connects nearly a dozen agents and many thousands of dollars to the cause!
OK has never had the luxury of depending on a reliable stream of support from the state of Illinois. Thankfully, we have found a great partner in a local governmental agency at the Oak Park Township. The OPT's Community Mental Health Board serves as one of the strongest partners we have in supporting our day program the Life Shop.
Each year, Opportunity Knocks hosts 4 major events, that while are designed to be a great time for all, are crucial in funding the day to day operations. But, there are a lot more! Stay informed of ALL our events by following our events page.
About the Work Day
Volunteer tasks range from pulling weeds, planting and harvesting, turning compost, spreading mulch, and anything else that may need to be done that day. (You will be notified by 12:00 pm in the case of inclement weather if the work day will be canceled).
Water will be available, but please be sure to bring a water bottle to fill up. The OK Farm also has sunscreen, gloves, and any farm/garden tools we will need. Also, be sure to wear clothes that can get dirty, close-toed shoes, and a hat is recommended.
Please Note: Warriors are welcome however, staff will not be provided for these work days. Please email email@example.com for accommodations and questions.
Seven years ago an 8-year-old named Kate asked if she could have a lemonade stand to raise money for Opportunity Knocks. She met with OK founders Mike & Phil Carmody to discuss her idea, and a friendship and fundraiser were born. Opportunity Knocks is a nonprofit serving adults with developmental disabilities and their participants are known as warriors for their strength and perseverance. Kate hoped to raise $50 and ended up raising over $500 with the help of family, neighbors, friends and one very generous community.
The August lemonade stand eventually became an autumn cider stand and more kids and families joined forces to grow “Knocktoberfest.” The kids grow the event each year but the constant is the generous community and small businesses that come out to support the kids’ efforts. Knocktoberfest volunteers are fondly called “Knockstars” and they range in age from babies to high schoolers. The babies UP the Knockstars cute quotient and the kids work hard organizing, baking, decorating and fundraising.
Last year the kids raised over $11,000 from online donors and cider stand donation jars. Families bake treats, a great aunt ships handmade doll clothes to sell from Utah and homemade Italian bread sells out in minutes. Piggy bank jars are emptied and we raise unbelievable sums because of this dedicated group of kids.
If you can’t make it to the event, donations to Knocktoberfest can be made here! All donations are tax-deductible and go toward supporting Opportunity Knocks.
General operations and the development and execution of programming are largely funded by the generosity of individual donors. Your donation helps Opportunity Knocks continue to engage young people who have developmental disabilities.Thank you for your support!
The Knockout Farm connects to all of our programs in an experiential and therapeutic way, but it is also a food production operation that thrives and yields an efficient harvest that helps us grow our nutritional and wellness programming, while also offering great variety for our catering menus and artisanal pickle production line. Here’s a brief rundown of our seasonal totals from 2018.
An annual event where neighborhood kids work together to raise funds to help an inspiring group of Warriors at Opportunity Knocks. Kids of all ages plan and organize the event and often show up with their piggy bank and tooth fairy money to donate to the cause.
This year’s Knocktoberfest will feature Oktoberfest food offerings from the OK enterprise, Knockout Catering, and Chicago Bears football! Stop by for warm apple cider and other fall treats or stick around and enjoy all there is to offer!