We’re not talking about rabbit-from-a-hat parlor tricks. No one is advocating fireworks-fueled stunts in which the Grand Canyon disappears, or someone jumps out of a buried box.
Nope. We’re talking about the kind of magic that changes people's lives. It makes good things happen.
Real magic is hard. As Colin Powell once said, “A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
And that’s what you can see every day at One Step Beyond, Inc., where good people join hands with the intellectually challenged to make music, create art, and energize better communities.
Five days a week, Monday through Friday, a devoted group of people make magic. They partner with nearly 300 men and women in the West Valley in classes where adults overcome their challenges. They learn how to cook. They go on trips to Disneyland and other fun locales. And they put a smile on the faces of everyone they meet.
In a phrase that resonates throughout the West Valley and parts of California, OSBI takes the “diss” out of disability.
Gone are the days when people challenged by autism and Down Syndrome were hidden away. At OSBI, they form communities. They make art that expresses their feelings. They create music in classes that build on their sense of rhythm and joy. They dance in social nights that celebrate their friendship and love.
And they attend classes where everyone learns essential skills that create independence and employability.
This kind of magic is rare. It requires dedication and forgiveness. It thrives when people are accepted for what they can do instead of what they cannot; and it sprouts into being when everyone accepts that being different doesn’t mean you’re not worthy of love and inclusion.
This is what happens at OSBI, a place where people know that no one is perfect, but everyone has an ability to reach beyond their limitations to achieve something special.
They make magic. And everyone, staff and participants alike, do a lot of smiling, create a lot of beauty, and replace limitations with a sense of joy and beauty.
By: Steve Meissner
Steve Meissner is a long time member of One Step Beyond's Board of Directors. He is the former director of communications for the Arizona Department of Economic Security. His background is as a journalist, communications, and social media specialist. He spent more than seven years in Arizona Governmental Sector Management and has taught as a university educator.