Son Keeps His Father’s Legacy of Inclusivity Alive with Boulder County Nonprofit
For more information on Sky’s the Limit, email Ryan Magiera at firstname.lastname@example.org .
When Joseph Magiera’s son, Bryce Magiera, was born with developmental disabilities he dedicated himself to creating a more inclusive community in Boulder County for those battling similar challenges.
While working for the Association of Community Living he decided the best way he could make a real difference in people’s lives was to organize recreational sports teams on which those with disabilities could work on their physical and social skills while playing alongside non-disabled volunteer coaches.
Twelve years later that idea has blossomed into a full-fledged nonprofit called Sky’z The Limit, which sponsors bowling leagues, softball games, basketball tournaments, dances and holiday celebrations throughout Boulder County.
“The whole theme is about inclusivity,” said Kelly Murphy, a Sky’z The Limit board member. . “Anyone who shows up at the bowling alley in Lafayette on noon on Sunday gets to bowl. it doesn’t matter what your disability is or where you’re from.”
The name Sky’z, as the organization is often called, comes from one of its first members, Skyler Proutry. He was in a wheelchair, but Magieramade a spot for him on the basketball team. Though he died a few years later, Proutry’s energy and passion for sports inspired Joseph to name the organization after him. Proutry’s parents were so thankful, they committed to donating $15,000 from the Proutry Foundation to Sky’z The Limit each year, making up the bulk of the organization’s funding.
While Magiera followed in Sky’z footsteps in February 2017, his son, Ryan Magiera, kept his father’s legacy alive by not only continuing to run Sky’z The Limit while also student teaching and Platt Middle School and coaching girls basketball at Centaurus High School, but also by creating the Joseph Magiera Honorary Service Award for those who demonstrate inclusivity to populations of all abilities.
On Tuesday, during Sky’z The Limit’s weekly basketball game at the East Boulder Community Center, Ryan awarded the second Joseph Magiera Honorary Service Award to Sherri Brown, the therapeutic recreation coordinator for Boulder Parks and Recreation, who has run the EXPAND Program the past 25 years, hosting similar sports programs to that of Sky’z The Limit.
“It’s the best job in the whole world,” she said. “It’s nice to be recognized for making other people’s lives better. That’s why I got into this and to see their improvement over the years is really rewarding. At first Matt Salance, here, (in reference to a player on the court) would barely get on a court and get involved. Now he’s dribbling in and making shots. He’s just so much more comfortable and confident.”
So confident in fact, that he hit the game-winning shot of the team’s annual tournament last year at the buzzer.
“I always say I get way more out of it that they do,” said Jeff Ballard, who won the Joe Magiera Award last year after completing his 11th year as a coach with Sky’z The Limit. “It’s just a joy to be a part of their lives. It’s such a rewarding experience and they give so much love. I couldn’t think of not coming to hang out with these guys.”
Despite all the fun activities Sky’z The Limit puts on each year, perhaps the most popular event is the team’s annual trip to the Harlem Globetrotter’s game at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, which will take place this Saturday.
“It was like my dad’s favorite event,” Ryan Magiera said. “He figured out that if he got a big group together they could get a halftime photo with the team. Everyone had so much fun we had to keep it going.”
Matt Salance, the basketball player Brown praised, was so excited on Tuesday he couldn’t stop saying “Globetrotters” over and over again as his smile continued to grow. Then he called for a sub and jumped right back into the game and immediately shot a 3-pointer.
Though he missed, the crowd of family and friends oohed and aahed, making his smile even wider.
John Spina: 303-473-1389, email@example.com or twitter.com/jsspina24