Who We Are
A O.K. is a non-profit organization whose primary focus is to facilitate the positive development of both children and young adults. Our focal point is to help children understand that it is not about WHAT they become, but WHO they become that matters most. We do this through two avenues: Our annual Holiday Gifts for Giving Events, which cover 9 individual locations and provide more than 200 children with holiday presents for their entire family (including a surprise for themselves from Santa), as well as events presented by the founders, Pete Mauro and Pete Eobbi, to students attending local high schools.
Who We Serve
We serve two main target audiences: younger children between the ages of 5 and 13 and young adults in high school between the ages of 14 and 18. For the younger children we simply aim to spend quality time with them in hopes that their experience will help them to develop into self-confident and good-natured adults. Our aim is more specific with the young adults as we attempt to pass onto them the principles that we live by every day, which we feel have greatly benefitted our own lives. It is our hope that by passing on these principles we can smoothen their transition into the world of adulthood.
The principles that we believe in and our methods for introducing them provide a different perspective for the children than what they may have previously been exposed to. We do not believe in lecturing the kids as we want to expose them to the ideas in a way that not only resonates within them, but in a way that they can immediately be placed into practice. We accomplish this with a focus on storytelling, sharing our own positive and negative personal experiences, and detailing how the lessons we’ve learned have shaped the principles we follow. It is our goal to use these illustrations of our principles (rather than simply preaching them) to effectively explain to the kids that it is not WHAT they want to become, but WHO that matters the most.
Be Confident in Yourself
Don't Be Afraid to Make Mistakes
Relationships are Important, Especially the One You Have with Yourself
Take Responsibility For Your Own Actions
Live With Integrity
Be Yourself, Focus on People Rather Than Things
Create Balance in Your Life
The idea for An Opportunity’s Knockin’ began in the early 1990’s when Pete Mauro and Pete Eobbi met at Drexel University. Finding themselves puzzled as to why people generally seemed unhappy, they sought out to understand the reason. Over the course of a few years, Mauro and Eobbi theorized that this chronic dissatisfaction was because most people know WHAT they were or WHAT they want to be in life (rich, poor, an engineer, a plumber, a doctor, a success, a failure), yet paid little attention to WHO they were or WHO they wanted to be (mom, dad, friend, good person, bad person, honorable). They believed that people spent so much time becoming SOMETHING that they forgot that they were most importantly SOMEONE.
After years of frequent discussions between them, countless scattered notes on loose leaf, and the desire to do something productive with this idea, the pair decided that they must figure out a way to spread this message (and more importantly, who to direct it toward). In 2002 Pete Eobbi was invited to deliver a keynote speech for a youth leadership group he used to attend. While Eobbi gave his speech, Mauro was offered a seat on the group’s entrepreneurial panel. After this they both decided they had found their answer: children and young adults would be their audience.
Mauro and Eobbi realized that children and young adults had subconsciously been their focus for a long time. They had been informally working with these age groups through speaking to high schoolers on career days, volunteering for other youth outreach organizations, and providing favors for their families and friends. They figured that the perpetual cycle of unhappiness they’d noticed was most easily addressed at a young age, while minds were still impressionable and good habits were easier to instill. As a result, An Opportunity's Knockin' was officially created.