Even after seven years of volunteering for Opportunity Knocks, the passion to serve the young adults assisted by the non-profit organization still burns hot for Oak Park REALTOR® John Lawrence.
The former middle school special education teacher/basketball coach has supported the founders of Opportunity Knocks and their mission to help young adults with disabilities since 2009. And when he became a member of its board of directors in 2011, he became significantly more involved. By 2013, the organization became his company’s official non-profit partner.
“We have a corporate match program, and we ask every agent after every closing if they are willing to make a donation,” says Lawrence, who is the managing broker of his own office, Weichert Realtors Nickel Group. “If so, we match their contribution. We donate nearly $20,000 each year as an office.”
Opportunity Knocks, located in River Forest, provides social, emotional, educational and athletic opportunities for young adults with disabilities who no longer get services through their local high school.
“Each summer we host the ‘Warrior Wash,’ a car wash that involves the participants of Opportunity Knocks (the Warriors), the Opportunity Knocks staff, and Weichert staff and agents,” he says. “One hundred percent of the proceeds go to Opportunity Knocks, and our office pays for all the other costs. It is a great day to interact with the Warriors, their families and the community as we raise money to support their programs.”
Lawrence, who earned the 2012 Director of the Year award from Opportunity Knocks, first became a REALTOR® in 2004. Since that time, he joined his local REALTOR® association (the Oak Park Area Association of REALTORS®) and became involved in its committees. He’s served on the board of directors since 2008, served as treasurer and vice-president, and will become president later this year.
“Being on the board for OPAAR has allowed me to spend time on local issues such as our village’s comprehensive plan and a fair housing working committee that is aimed at making sure our village remains the model for integration,” says Lawrence, who was OPAAR’s REALTOR® of the Year in 2012.
He’s also been on the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce, serving on its board as a director, vice president, president and past-president. He chairs its advocacy committee and works on long-range strategic plans for the chamber.
“Being a REALTOR® helped me create many relationships in the community, and raise my personal profile in a way that allowed me to rise through the ranks very quickly,” says Lawrence.
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