Badminton

By Desiree Rivo

This is the second time that tennis has been offered as a hobby at Opportunity Knocks and for a fun introduction we played badminton! The Warriors learned some badminton basics such as the the proper way to hold the birdie and serve it over the net. It was very exciting to see everyone improve their hand eye coordination between weeks one and two. We also had a great time playing with over-sized rackets and giant shuttlecocks as well as foam tennis balls that were, to our surprise, explosively bouncy.

To end our two weeks of badminton the Warriors learned simple tennis scoring and rules. We answered the questions “how many points do you need to win a game?”, “how many points do you have if your score is love?” and more. The Warriors will jump into tennis this upcoming Thursday.

Week One Bocce Ball

By Christina E. Cook

An old favorite outdoor game is introduced at Opportunity Knocks for the Warriors to learn and enjoy. The game consists of three large colored balls and one small white ball. Warriors are split into two teams. The object is for the players to roll their team colored ball and get it closet to the white ball. The team whose ball is closest is declared the winner.The Warriors seemed excited about trying a new game and adventure. You could hear encouragement amongst each other and laughter.

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OK Schumpout

By Jarvis Hart

OK Schumpout is basketball camp with Iman Schumpert. Iman Schumpert, the WSSRA Bobcats and the OK Warriors were there. The coaches were WSSRA and OPRF Girls- and Boys Basketball. They were teaching passing the basketball and shooting. Iman was playing basketball with the campers and signed autographs with kids. People brought cameras and took pictures with Iman. The event was fun and I want to do it again.

The Warriors Get to Work

By Stephanie Budd

Well… THE VOTES ARE IN!!! The Warriors will play a part in granting the wish of a child with a terminal illness through the Make- A-Wish Foundation! They have also voted to make kid-friendly recycled t-shirt bracelets and headbands as well as Duct Tape wallets! Mike stocked us up with over 25 rolls of brightly colored rolls of Duct Tape and we were off to work! The wallets look AMAZING and the bracelets are a perfect accessory to any outfit! Check us out at the Farmer’s Market in September!

OK Warriors Go GREEN

With a GREEN theme leading the way, the Warriors played games and made crafts that were eco-friendly focused. This included a recycling relay race and a paper- making extravaganza!! We used old paper scraps to make new art paper! We added seeds and paper flowers into our paper so that they would be really pretty 🙂 We had a great time making a great mess!

We did a lot more that just crafts – We got feedback from the Warriors about which programs and activities they liked the best in a “Walking Survey” – where they moved to one side of the room or the other based on their answer. We also started brainstorming for our Summer Service Project… Get excited!

Johnny Knocks Bring in the Five Star Code

By Stephanie Budd

Johnny Knocks really brought community Opportunities to life this session with his Five Point OK Code. The code starts with Safety, moves to Communication, brings in Respect, and then adds Teamwork. When ALL of these come together, ALL the Warriors can have Fun—that’s why Johnny Knocks is so wonderful! He just wants us to have fun!

This is exactly what we did as we explored these five concepts throughout Winter Session 2! We spent our days acting out safety skits, playing communication games, taking notes from Aretha Franklin and finally personalizing and putting together a life-sized puzzle of Johnny Knocks himself! The Warriors showed their true colors in this, working together to have a really great time.

Warriors get Serious about Gardening!

By Stephanie Budd

In this session of gardening, the warriors gained a greater awareness of where our food comes from and how to take care of it as it grows! We were able to make multiple harvests of broccoli, snap peas, lettuce, and arugula. Through all of our tastings and harvesting, the warriors gained a stronger sense of how wonderful fresh, local, and organic vegetables can taste! This inspired us to take a field trip over to the Juice Joint at Good Earth Cafe, where we sipped on Wild Thing smoothies while shopping for some flowers for the garden – It was a fantastic day! Many thanks to the Juice Joint for helping us get our healthy choices on!

Thats not the only venture that our gardening crew took this session! In the last week of our second Spring session, our gardeners teamed up with Little Bits Workshop in sending a Craftivist Heart Message to the River Forest Community. The Heart Message was crafted to promote acceptance and respect for people with Disabilities. Our Warriors jumped right in to replanting two planter boxes on Lake St in River Forest. At the end of the day, and at the end of Spring Session 2, our Warriors left with a sense of pride in their accomplishments and happiness in their hearts. Thanks Little Bits Workshop!

OK Gets DIRTY!

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By Stephanie Budd

In our first session of gardening this season, the warriors were put to work with a lot of smelly materials! They demonstrated their bravery time and time again in tilling mushroom compost into all of our garden beds! We planted snap peas, broccoli, carrots, beets, swiss chard, spinach and arugula. The broccoli was a HUGE hit and many of our participants took a liking to arugula! Warriors need their greens for strength!

Green Crafting for Mother’s Day

By Kim Meares

During Spring Session #1 Green Crafting hobby, the Warriors transformed wooden cigar boxes into beautiful jewelry boxes for Mother’s Day gifts. The cigar boxes were generously donated by Casa de Puros in Forest Park.

In addition to hand making the cigar boxes, Warriors also hand made Mother’s Day cards and gift bags. Check out the beautiful creations designed exclusively by the Opportunity Knocks Green Crafting Warriors!

Craftivist Week on Lake Street

by Kim Meares

Opportunity Knocks joins forces with Little Bits Workshop to bring color and diversity to Lake Street. The project will include planting one of the flowerbeds in the Lake Street Planters between Park and Franklin Avenues, creating and hanging banners from the street lamps and starting to knit and crochet “Yarn- Bombs” for the trees under the banners.

On Monday, June 11th a few Warriors visited the Little Bits Workshop to kick off Craftivist week. Little Bits Workshop proprietor, Liita Forsyth, lead the Warriors in crafting handmade banners that would send a “Heart Message” to the community of River Forest.

On Wednesday, June 13th the Village of River Forest will deliver the flowers for the village of River Forest will deliver the flowers for the Lake Street Planter box where OK’s participants will begin planting. This will be OK’s first installment of the OK “Gardening on the Go” program where the group will venture out into the community to garden.

On Friday, June 15th at 4:00 pm the groups will be out on Lake Street, finishing their planting, hanging the banners and placing the first of the seven “Yarn Bombs” on the trees. The banners will illustrate phrases that capture Forsyth’s “Heart Message of acceptance and respect for those with disabilities” by listing words on the banners, such as “Growing Opportunities Together”.

Ballroom Dancing

By  Dana

We are preparing ballroom dancing for the OK Gala. Take a look at us having fun. The Gala will be April 14th.

Fall Session 1: Friday Painting

With the Annual Halloween Party taking place on the third week of programs and focusing mainly on their community service project, the Warriors returned to the regular scheduled activities for the fourth week.

On Friday the painting group recreated the swirling clouds and sleepy town illuminated by bright celestial bodies in Vincent Van Gogh’s well-known Starry Night piece. The paintings turned out quite beautifully.

Fall Session 1: Friday Bowling

Also back by popular demand, one activity scheduled for this session is bowling.

On Fridays, one group leaves the community center to go bowling at Circle Lanes and return in time for Pizza!

Check out some photos from the second week. In the spirit of Halloween week one Warrior even wore his Undertaker costume to the bowling alley. I wonder who that could be.

Welcome to This Week at Opportunity Knocks!

I am proud to present our new medium for connecting family and friends to the exciting things we do at programs: a blog! This new medium will allow us to post photos of better quality and in real time (a certain executive director is eager to utilize the amazing capabilities of his new iPod Touch). It will also allow for the availability of videos blogs and different perspectives at Opportunity Knocks. What did Warrior Dana think of bowling and pizza last Friday? How did friend and volunteer Jarvis become so involved with the organization? You’re all going to have to stay tuned to find out!

Check out our main pages for important documents including program brochures, event fliers, and the original parent newsletters as well as links to articles about Opportunity Knocks published on other internet sources. You will find everything from the photos of the Warriors learning martial arts last week to the WGN video coverage of the 2011 Tee-it-Up. This blog is I intended to be a more interactive way to show the world what great fun and achievement we experience year-round and we hope you enjoy each visit!