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A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE: THE ART OF ACCESS

Barbara Albert’s art students were gathered in a common room at Betty’s Dream, the accessible apartment complex in Portsmouth. There were artists using wheelchairs. And artists who didn’t talk. But all the faces were full of expectation and they were focused on Albert, intent on what they were about to do – work on their art with hopes to learn and improve what they could do. As to the work of these artists with disabilities, Albert quickly realized what many people with disabilities confront on a daily basis.

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COUSINS WORKS PART-TIME AT ONE SKY

For more than a year now, Samantha Cousins has been one of the staff at One Sky Community Services working quietly behind the scenes to support the agency’s work with people with disabilities. That the 26-year-old has what is considered a disability doesn’t figure in the responsibilities she has as Medical Records Assistant.

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KEEPING UP WITH CLAYBURGH

It’s hard to keep up with Michael Clayburgh. To accomplish half of what he does on a weekly basis would be enough for many people. In fact, his efforts could have far-reaching effects in the world of Alzheimer’s research.

In the meantime, Clayburgh holds down three jobs, volunteers every week with the Portsmouth Police, plays guitar and basketball, and had been skiing every year for almost 20 years until he broke his back last year. But it’s hard to stop Clayburgh completely – fully healed, he’s switched to snowshoes this winter.

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CHRIS CHIAMPA IS LIVING THE LIFE

Christopher Chiampa flashes an uncertain smile but he’s politely game to answer questions. He goes by Chris but says he’s fine with Christopher. At times the 21-year-old peppers the conversation with a quick, “I don’t know what else I can talk about.” But he is gracious and presses on, becoming more comfortable when he can talk about his two jobs.

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EDITORIAL: ONE SKY DESERVES COMMUNITY SUPPORT

Seacoast Media Group was honored Thursday to receive the Circle of Caring award from One Sky Community Services, but truly, it has been our honor to help publicize the important work this organization does for nearly 1,200 individuals in 24 local communities.
As Chris Muns, One Sky’s chief executive officer, explained at the organization’s 35th anniversary celebration Thursday evening: “One Sky was founded in 1983 and our mission then, as it is now, is to help individuals with abilities that may – through no fault of their own – be different from yours and mine, live independently in our community.”

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A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE: ONE SKY COMMUNITY SERVICES MARKS 35TH ANNIVERSARY WITH BENEFIT NOV. 8

For more than 35 years, One Sky Community Services has been dedicated to the notion that every individual has the potential – and the right – to live a rich and fulfilling life and make an important contribution to the community in which they live.

When it opened its doors in 1983, the Portsmouth-based agency was assisting inmates from Laconia State School in the transition from life in an institution to life in the communities where they were born. Though its mission has changed since Laconia closed its doors decades ago, the focus for One Sky has remained the same: assist individuals with developmental disabilities and acquired brain disorders in fulfilling their potential and contributing to their communities.

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A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE: REBECCA’S JOURNEY HOME FROM PANDAS

Jacky Sullivan could only watch through the window in a locked door as her teenaged daughter, Becky, was led away until she disappeared down a long corridor. It was a point that had been reached after much hardship and pain, but before anyone realized that Becky’s violent attacks against herself and against her mother were cries that needed medical attention, not psychiatric treatment.

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A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE: A SHARED FAMILY JOURNEY

As summer keeps its steamy pace, the Lang family calendar unfolds a lot like that of many Seacoast families: a visit to the Isles of Shoals, Water Country, camping, birthday parties, and cook-outs with family and friends. It’s a fun but hectic season, with dance classes for Rylee and horseback-riding for her big sister, Sydnee, to squeeze into a busy schedule.

For 8-year old Sydnee, the pace can become overwhelming sometimes, but the family gathers around her. She was diagnosed with dyspraxia when she was 3 years old and since she was profiled here last August, it has been a year of gains and new challenges. Both for Sydnee and for her family.

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