Eight-year-old Kate Hampson had returned home to River Forest, Illinois after her first summer at Miniwanca in 2013. Almost every day, she watched a group of young adults with developmental disabilities walk or ride their bikes to Opportunity Knocks, a nonprofit built to better meet the needs and potential of adults with disabilities.
She and her mother met with the founders of Opportunity Knocks and learned more about the organization. Keen to give back, Kate asked friends and family to help her launch Knocktoberfest to raise funds for Opportunity Knocks through the sale of sell baked goods, doll clothes, and more. Each year before the big day, the Knockers (the kids who fundraise) and the Warriors (the young adults served by Opportunity Knocks) create signs and get to know each other.
While the Warriors celebrate the efforts made for Knocktoberfest, the Knockers celebrate the time and efforts the Warriors give to the greater community through volunteering. In the seven years since its inception, Knocktoberfest has raised more than $45,000.
Now 15, Kate has returned to Miniwanca each summer and currently serves on the junior board for Opportunity Knocks, where she helps plan and advise on other fundraising projects and works on site with the Warriors through her school service program.
The article originally appeared in the 2020 Founder Fire.