Ryan Gravely is a typical 22 year old. She is a social, outgoing and hard-working young woman. However, when Ryan turned 22 last year and graduated from the OPRF CITE Program, Ryan and her family knew that she needed continued support to navigate adult life in the community. The Gravely family turned to the Life Shop program at Opportunity Knocks (OK) to help Ryan build confidence and further develop important life skills. Through OK’s Warrior-centered community-based approach to programming for young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, she’s able to build these skills and access her community in a self-directed and meaningful way.
“OK has given her the confidence to advocate for herself,” said Whitney Gravely, Ryan’s mother. “I really think that the support of the staff and her friends here have helped her find her voice and speak up.”
Ryan is an active leader, using her voice to suggest program activities, indicate her preferences, clarify daily schedules, and encourage her friends. And, in 2019, Ryan was recognized as OK’s Warrior of the Year.
“I have seen her become more confident and more willing to share her ideas,” said Executive Director Mike Carmody.
According to Ryan’s mom, “OK has opened the door for Ryan to try new things. She’s really aware of wellness now, and exercise, and farming. She loves being out in the community. Without Opportunity Knocks, I can’t say that Ryan would have these experiences that are so valued…it’s life-changing.”
This year we need your support as we elevate Ryan and her friend’s voices, with respect to how they choose to learn, work and live within our community. For more information or to consider a donation to our Annual Fund, please see our website at www.opportunityknocksnow.org/annual-giving-fund/