After Opps is an after school/after work program offering a wide variety of activities that are developed in collaboration with the Warrior participants. Program activities are embedded with a focus on peer leadership, health and wellness, social interaction and community connections.

Warriors had another fun-filled After Opps session in Fall 2! We packed a full slate of exciting programs and special events into 4 weeks. Check it out!


The Puppets group made a variety of their own puppets using craft supplies like socks, yarn, buttons, paper bags, and more. They also performed puppet shows and practiced social skills through role play.

In Drum Circle, Warriors had fun jamming. We made our own percussion instruments, talked about how music makes us feel using zones of regulation (green, blue, red, yellow), practiced some basic rhythms, and took turns leading the drum circle. We also learned about different instruments and music styles from around the world.

Warriors in Community Fitness sweated it out at local Wellness partners like the Roos Recreation Center, John Hayley’s Unbreakable Fitness, Core Strength, and Ferrara Pan Fitness Factory. We went through various workouts led by different instructors at these facilities. Thanks to all the trainers and places that hosted us!

In Around the World, Warriors learned about other countries through guest speakers, presentations, cultural activities, and outings. OK staff Vanessa Gonzaga taught us about Mexico, OK staff Dan Scherer-Emunds taught us about Germany, and community guest Marion Kessy taught us about Tanzania. We also visited the Himalayan Boutique Company in Oak Park and learned about Tibet and Nepal. Big thanks to all our guests and hosts!


In Community Opps, Warriors talked about the benefits of giving to others. We also participated in Adopt-a-Family through the Oak Park River Forest Community of Congregations for the holiday season. We came up with gift ideas, went out shopping for our family of 3, and wrapped the gifts. We also discussed ways Warriors can give back to their families, friends, and communities during the holiday break.

Warriors Eliza and Lizzy led Music Magic for their friends this session.  The first week, the theme was country music and Carrie Underwood, one of their favorite singers. They gave a presentation on Carrie Underwood, remixed a Carrie Underwood song and sang karaoke together. In week 2, we had Ava from Dynamic Lynks come in and lead a music therapy program with us. We played a variety of games with songs, played different instruments, and made a beat together. We also had a Disney-themed day where we discussed our favorite Disney movies and music, played Disney music bingo, and sang Disney karaoke.

In peer-led Fitness FrenzyKareem and Sonya planned and led a variety of sports and fitness activities for their friends including volleyball, soccer, boot camp, and yoga. Thanks to OK Development Director Renee Rotatori for assisting our yoga program!

The peer-led Holiday Movie Trivia group was planned and led by Georgia and Andre. They did Jeopardy/Family Feud styles of trivia about different holiday movies such as Elf, Home Alone, Nightmare Before Christmas and more!


Our Friday hobby groups had something for everybody! The cooking group’s theme this session was Stewpendous and Warriors cooked up dishes like Turkey noodle soup for Knocksgiving and chili to prep for January’s 11th Annual OK Chili Cook-off!

Warriors in Night on the Town visited Circle Lanes for some bowling and got artsy at Creativita with some hand-painted pottery gifts. Thanks for hosting us!

In the Botanics group, Warriors learned about essential oils with Brynn Medlar from Oak Park Oils. We made rollers to take home with a “Happy” oil blend and a “balanced and calm” oil blend. Thanks Brynn! We also did a short yoga and meditation session with essential oils. It was very relaxing. We also made our own body lotions and bath salts to take home.

Our Basketball group was peer-led by Warriors Mike and Matt. They led stretches, drills, games, and scrimmages with their group each week.


Special Events

We celebrated the holiday season this session with a “Knocksgiving” Family Day and an After Opps Holiday Party.

Our Knocksgiving event started with the regularly scheduled Friday programs of Botanics, Basketball, Night on the Town, and the Stewpendous Cooking group. Later in the afternoon, Warrior families got treated to a delicious meal, some Warrior videos, a special stand-up comedy set by Nicholas Sawyer, and Pinewood Derby races! Thanks to all who came out for the fun-filled celebration!

Our After Opps holiday party featured Warrior rotations between festive groups such as Holiday Fitness, Holiday Games/ Crafts, Pass the Present, and Holiday Botanical Gifts. We capped off the afternoon with a delicious catered dinner from Pressed for Time Catering (708-240-1374)!

Warrior Quotes:

“I was in the cooking group, we made stew. I had fun at the party. I made a Christmas present for my brother Mike.” | JOHN

“I was in Botanics with Ms. Natalie. We made beautiful lotion I am going to give to my sister.” | KARISA


“It was my first time [at the Himalayan store]. I enjoyed going someplace I’ve never been before. It was nice to learn about the different culture and experiences they had growing up. I also thought they were very welcoming and I loved all the jewelry and different materials they had. I loved the tea a lot and would definitely go back!” | JESS

“I liked music and when our friends from Dynamic Lynks came in. I liked the Family Day and watching the music video we made for ‘As I Grow Up.’” | JACKIE F.

“I had fun and I like to be a leader.” | KAREEM

“We did yoga, exercises, talked about why it’s important to drink water. Next time I want to lead karaoke.” | SONYA

“Leading was fun. I want to read a story next time!” | LIZZY

“It was fun learning about music and talking about our favorite Disney movies and music.” | ELIZA

“I taught my friends about movies from Christmas. I love helping my friends and doing fun activities.” | GEORGIA

“I had trouble working with people at times. When people ask me to do things I tend to have trouble. I like making questions.” | ANDRE

“We led stretching, did the scoreboarding which was my favorite, and got to play basketball with the Warriors. Next time I want to teach students new techniques and movements for basketball; skill movement, dribbling.” | MATT

“It was fun. I wish we could have done some more skills and drills. I want to take on a bigger role next time.” | MIKE


Thanks for a great Fall 2 session, Warriors! We are looking forward to a fun, culture-themed Spring Semester with Diversity of Dance, Disability Culture, Pop Culture Time Machine, Winter Sports, Language Club, International Film Festival, Culture of Our Community, Cultural Etiquette, Comic Club, Farming, Gala Crafts, Chopped, and more!

Spring Semester registration is open now!

Please contact Dan Scherer-Emunds, with any inquiries about the After Opps program.

Click here to view more photos and videos from After Opps Fall Session 2.