Opportunity Knocks provides programs that are built on a few foundational beliefs:
- We believe in the strength and power in the Voice of each Warrior
- We believe in the Interdependent connection between each Warrior and their community
- We believe in a fearless exploration of life’s Experiences unhinged by abilities
- We believe in the importance of living with Wellness in mind, body and spirit
AN AFTER SCHOOL, AFTER WORK PROGRAM
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.
After Opps aims to stimulate the interest of various leisurely activities, participation within the community, and the continued engagement of these activities outside of programs. Participants play a great role in determining what types of activities are made available in later sessions. We believe that our participatory-based programming is the key to fostering leadership, respect and self-advocacy.
In addition, with a strong support system of peers, staff and volunteers, Opportunity Knocks programs creates a environment where individuals can express themselves freely, where healthy relationships can be fostered in a safe, nurturing setting. The After Opps program has developed many unique activities that are tailored to the needs of the Warriors and are highly based off of their passions and interests.
After Opps Program Director
AN ALTERNATIVE-STYLE DAY PROGRAM
The Life Shop is an alternative-style day program that takes a Warrior-centered approach to adult life in the community. The program is designed for Warriors older than age 22, focusing on building life skills, health and wellness, community integration and vocational skills.
In Illinois, when a young adult with an intellectual or developmental disability turns 22, they immediately become ineligible for the services and support being provided by the public school system. Finding an adult day program similar to what they have access to in high school is an immense challenge. Finding and being funded for one in their own community is a just short of a miracle.
The Life Shop is not a state mandated developmental training workshop. It is a private pay, alternative style day program built with the Warrior at the center of a comprehensive approach to adult living in the community.
Kim Meares Surprenant
Life Shop Director
HEALTH & WELLNESS
The Warrior Wellness initiative launched in July 2013 to combat the health disparities faced by our Warriors. Embedded within each program area, Warrior Wellness promotes the physical, mental, and social well-being of our Warriors, staff, and community. It has become the 6th point in the Warrior Code of Conduct!
An important concept engrained into the Opportunity Knock’s mission is our effort to encourage our participants to give back to the local community. As part of this philosophy we make every effort to empower the Warriors. So was born, Community Opportunities and a Warrior Mission focused on helping homeless pets, supporting the environment, and helping children in need. Meet the Warrior driven non profit within the non profit.
PEER-PLANNED AND PEER-LED PROGRAMS
A major program philosophy at Opportunity Knocks is putting the Warrior’s interests and strengths at the core of program planning. In the Life Shop, two ways we achieve this mission are through Peer-Led Programs and Warrior Planned Outings.
Opportunity Knocks has three social enterpriseswhich provide a revenue stream in addition to meaningful and gainful employment for the Warriors. They are Knock Out Pickles, the Warrior Farm, and Warrior Catering.
A social enterprise is a business created to further a social purpose in a financially sustainable way. At Opportunity Knocks, we created our social enterprise for two primary reasons:
To augment the revenue stream from our programs so that we would become more financially self-sustaining; and
To provide opportunities for Warriors to practice important vocational skills in a meaningful employment setting.
Like most things at OK, each of our businesses developed organically out of our Warrior-focused program efforts in the culinary arts. As planning, shopping and meal prep are integral components of all our programs, it was a natural extension that our enterprise efforts would capitalize on these important life skills. It was also imperative that our Warriors would be involved in all facets of the business operation, from sales and marketing to production and distribution, so that such skills could be utilized in the pursuit of other vocational interests.