PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

April 2nd, 2018
STRIVE Rocks 2018

It's hard to believe it, but STRIVE Rocks 2018 is in the books! This year, for the first time in STRIVE history, we went over $100K, raising $100,912 in total! We are so thrilled with how successful this year's event was, and want to give an enormous thank you to everyone who played a role. To our staff who coordinated the event, all of our volunteers, every donor, every fundraiser, and everyone who came and spent time with us this weekend- THANK YOU! We couldn't have done it without you.

This year's STRIVE Rocks Weekend was at the Cross Insurance Arena again, and was split into two smaller events. STRIVE Rocks All Day ran 10AM-6PM, and visitors enjoyed tons of activities, like bounce castles, tie dye, live music, photo booths, juggling acts, craft tables and more. Then at 8PM came our overnight marathon, going all the way until 8AM Sunday morning! We danced all night to live music, enjoyed tons of amazing food donated by local eateries, and had so much fun meeting new people and having the night of a lifetime.
Thank you again to all of our sponsors who helped make this weekend possible- we are so thankful for your support. We're closing the book on STRIVE Rocks for now, but we're already looking forward to 2019!


STRIVE 25 is having it's April event this Thursday, April 5th, from 6-8pm! Anyone 25 or older is invited for this night of games, music, dinner, and more! We hope to see you there!

STRIVE 25 is a social event for people ages 25 and older. We run the first Thursday of every month from 6-8pm. The cost is $10 and includes dinner, and anyone 25 and older is welcome!  Please contact Caroline Cole at (or at 207-774-6278) with any questions or for more information.

This month, TOPS powered through the storm days and made the most out of the last weeks of winter! A handful of students are tasked with creating presentations to summarize their grade school experience, which will be their capstone presentation. Each student is creating a unique presentation whether it is a slideshow, speech or even an art display that visually represents their journey. When the students aren't focused on their presentations, they are working to increase their independence with each class activity. Students are shopping without assistance, navigating the METRO and finding alternative ways to stay active that is individualized to their wants and needs.

Looking ahead, we have had many prospective students shadow during a session at TOPS for the 2018-2019 school year. In order to shadow, the school district coordinates with our staff to find a time to visit. Once a student shadows, the student's IEP team determines if TOPS is the correct placement for their post-graduate year(s).

STRIVE TOPS is a unique collaborative with school districts in the southern Maine area. The program is especially designed for students who are in their 13th or 14th year of school. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Betsy Morrison at (207) 774-6278 or

Next Step

To conclude our unit on community safety, Next STEP took a tour of the South Portland Police Station. We got to see what a police officer has to deal with on a day to day basis as well as discuss strategies for remaining safe in our community. The Next STEPpers really enjoyed it and learned from the experience. Here is what some of them had to say about it!
"It was very interesting. It was fun to learn about community safety and look around the            police station."
"It was very resourceful to learn new things about the community."
"It was good to see that police officers are kind people and not scary."
Next STEP regularly incorporates cooking into our weekly schedule as this is such an important independent living skill. Whenever possible, we emphasize how to make healthy choices. Each week Next STEP makes at least one snack and one meal. We start by researching on Pinterest for a recipe. Once we find a recipe that we can all agree on, we budget how much money we will need for the snack/meal and walk to Hannaford's. We then come back and work together to make the recipe and then share the meal or snack together. Another important aspect of meal preparation is cleaning up so we take turns to make sure we have left the kitchen the way we found it! One of our Next STEPpers said this about the cooking class,  "We learn healthy choices and recipes that I can make at home."


Next STEP is a great option offering quality curriculum for those who are on a waiting list for other services, in combination with other services or for those who may not qualify for other services. Please contact Betsy Morrison at or 207-774-6278 if you would like more information regarding Next STEP or would like to schedule a tour. Part-time and full-time options are available.

This past month at Bayside, our participants focused on learning all about being safe in the community and the ins and outs of riding the city bus. The participants watched videos with information about riding the bus and how to be safe while doing so. We also continued busing and navigating within our Portland community as well as taking the bus to Falmouth, Westbrook, and South Portland. As one of our Adventure Days, Bayside participants went to a place they'd never been to before; The Point Community Center in South Portland. Here, they were able to play on the turf and check out the facility. One of the cool things that we do at Bayside every month is recognize the hard work of two individuals, who we call the VIP of the month. In order to receive VIP, the participant must get the most amount of points out of the full time participants or part time participants. The points are based on completing chores, doing worksheets, wearing weather-appropriate clothes, eating a health breakfast and dinner, and doing a social or physical activity outside of program. Below, you'll see this month's full-time and part-time VIPs!


STRIVE Bayside is a unique community supports program that is dedicated to exploring and increasing independence. Some of the goals we work on are grocery shopping, budgeting, cleaning, navigating the community, cooking and social skills. We run five days a week, Monday through Friday and have two daily sessions, 9:00-1:00and 1:00- 5:00. We offer full time (Monday- Friday) and part time (Tuesday, Thursday -or- Monday, Wednesday, Friday) options. We operate out of an apartment in down town Portland to simulate actual apartment living. If you would like more information about our program, or to schedule a tour please contact: Caroline Cole at 774-6278 or 

Spring is an exhilarating time of year for STRIVE U students. The students meet the STRIVE U prospective students, who stay on campus overnight to experience what life at STRIVE U is like. The currents students spend time with their potential future classmates and socialize in a positive and fun environment on campus. Spring is an especially wonderful time of year for the Second Year Students. Students begin to tour apartments around the area that they will eventually move into. All of their hard work in the program pays off as they look forward to creating their post-graduation life!
STRIVE U staff and students would also like to give a warm welcome to Katie Elliot, the new Transition Coordinator! Welcome, Katie!

STRIVE  U is a comprehensive two-year residential,  post-secondary educational opportunity. To learn more about the program, schedule a tour or get an application, please contact Bill Hughes,  STRIVE  U Admissions Coordinator at  or call  (207) 774-6278 .


It's been a great month of STRIVE Nights! We had our annual St. Patrick's Day celebration this month. We decked the STRIVE Center out in all green, and ate some delicious green treats!

Two weeks ago, we enjoyed one of our favorite STRIVE Night's of the year. The Friday night before STRIVE Rocks Weekend, we open our doors to everyone attending STRIVE Rocks All Night for our annual Pasta Party! We had an amazing group of volunteers in the kitchen cooking up a huge pasta dinner to get everyone ready for the big overnight event. We loved having folks stop by who can't always attend STRIVE Night to see us in action!

This month we will also be having Advisory Board elections! The Advisory Board is a group of STRIVE Night participants who help plan out each theme night. This year, we will be saying goodbye to our board President, Josh, who has been president for over three years! Thanks for all of your dedication, Josh! If you would like to run to be on the board, contact Olivia for more info! She can be reached at Good luck!

Friday Nights at  STRIVE, fondly referred to as " STRIVE Night," is a relaxed but fun evening of socialization for 15-24 year olds. New members welcome, and your first night is free!  STRIVE Night is every Friday from  6-9pm. For more information, contact Olivia at 


The Tweens had a ton of fun this month! Big thanks to the Portland Youth Dance and the Children's Museum for coming to make March great. We learned some awesome dance moves to some of our favorite songs with Portland Youth Dance, and loved getting on our feet and moving around! With the Portland Children's Museum we learned all about different types of whales, and got to play with their giant life-size inflatable humpback! We had so much fun and hope they come back soon. We are excited for all the fun we will have in April!

Tweens is a safe and fun environment to build new skills and friendships for 11-14 year olds with developmental disabilities. For more information, contact Alex at

Wednesday Night Educational Series

The Independent Living Series of Wednesday Ed was a big success! Our students learned all about various aspects of living on our own- including medication management, guardianship, nutrition, and self-defense! We want to thank all of the guest speakers and volunteers that came in to help teach us all about these vital skills.

This month our series will be focused all on technology! We'll learn the ins and outs of internet safety, as well as how to use various computer programs and operating systems! If you're interested in learning more about technology and joining our class, contact Alex at!

We had an awesome week of Camp during February vacation week! We went everywhere from Wilbur's Chocolate Factory, to Bradbury Mountain State Park, and a live animal show at Maine Audobon! We are looking forward to another awesome week of camp coming up in April. We'll be running during school vacation from April 16th-20th. If you or someone you know is looking for some fun during April vacation, contact Olivia at! Hope to see you there!

After School

March was a great month for After School! We continued learning new cooking skills, and are becoming much more independent cooking. We also made some awesome window-art during our craft days, and took advantage of some new snowshoes that STRIVE got! We went to Payson Park and tried for the first time. It was tricky, but we got it after a little bit!
As the school year begins to wrap up, we're enjoying the time we spend together before one of our students graduates from high school! We can't wait for all the fun we'll have this spring.

STRIVE's After School Program provides an opportunity for students to participate in an engaging extension of their typical school day that reflects their individual, family and school goals. During each afternoon, students work on skills that support self-determination and independence, as well as spending time socializing with peers in a relaxed environment. After School runs Monday through Friday from 2pm-5pm during each student's respective school district schedule. For more information on After School, contact Olivia at

Happy Birthday to the following STRIVE Members!

We hope you have a great day!

Hayley Bell
Jessie Berard
Bridget Parker
Joshua Shaughnessy
Evan Riker
Catlyn Almodovar
Bridget Lally
Megan Pelletier
Daniel Berenson
Trevor Morin
Bradley LaPointe
Thomas Bordeaux
Phillip Austin
Tyler Bals
Josh Parks
Gus Recknagel
Rosalie Jones

Thank You to Our Donors

-Texas Instruments Foundation
-Carol & William Reeve - In Memory of Michael Furey
-Theresa Casavant - In Memory of Michael Furey
-Anne Ryan
-Steve Gent
-Helen Meyer
-Robert Parent
-Nancy Caroll


Thank you for your generous support of STRIVE!
General Announcements


-We're Hiring! Check out our open positions: .

-We are looking for volunteers! If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering in our programs or at STRIVE Rocks, please contact Whitney at

STRIVE 25- April 5th, 2018

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Have a new Mailing Address to add?

We are updating our mailing list, and want to make sure we have all our supporters on there. Email to send in your updated information so you will continue to receive our electronic and print newsletters!

Members, you will be asked to complete an updated information form upon arrival to tweens or STRIVE Night. Want to get a head start? Go to our website to send in your contact information today!