STRIVE News & Updates

December 1st, 2022


Monday, December 26th

Monday, January 2nd


Friday from 3:30-5:30pm

*in person*



Every Friday from 6-9pm

*in person and virtual options*




Thursday, December 1st

from 6-8pm

*In person*

Thursday, December 15th

from 6-8pm


For more information about programs and upcoming events,

visit our website at!

Scroll down to read about your favorite STRIVE programs and more!

  • STRIVE Bayside
  • Next STEP
  • Wednesday Night Educational Series
  • Camp STRIVE
  • After School
  • Tweens
  • STRIVE Night
  • STRIVE 25
  • The STRIVECast

Special Features
  • Monthly Donors
  • Monthly Birthdays
  • Member Spotlight
  • Staff Spotlight
  • General Announcements and Events

Need to contact STRIVE?

Email [email protected] or call (207)774.6278 to get in touch with a STRIVE staff or program!
Visit our website
Donate to STRIVE

Looking for ways to support STRIVE this holiday season?

There are so many easy ways to support STRIVE this holiday season, and they don't all include making a financial contribution. Take a look at some of the ways you could make a difference!


·   Purchase some of our STRIVE gear by visiting our online store here!


·   Check out STRIVE's Wish List on Amazon by clicking here!


·   Donate to STRIVE's Annual Campaign by clicking the "Donate" button by visiting our website or send a donation by mail to STRIVE at 28 Foden Road, South Portland, ME 04106


·   Select STRIVE as your beneficiary when using Amazon Smile. A portion of your purchase will go directly to STRIVE. To choose STRIVE, log on to and select "PSL/STRIVE" before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection every time you log in.  


·   Participate in our 3 Points for STRIVE event happening now with the Maine Celtics and Hammond Lumber Company! CLICK HERE to find out how to get involved!


·   Know someone who attends STRIVE Night, STRIVE WorldWIDE, Wednesday Night Ed, or Camp STRIVE? Did you know you can purchase classes and days of camp or STRIVE Nights ahead of time? Contact Alex at [email protected] to purchase! 


·   Volunteer in one of our many programs, on one of our committees, or at one of our fundraising events. For more information about volunteer opportunities, contact Whitney at [email protected]

Have other ways you'd like to support STRIVE?

Contact STRIVE Program Director, Whitney Wildes, at [email protected] or call 207-774-6278!

Whether you donate regularly, or this is your first time, we are so grateful for your support of STRIVE!

Shop and support STRIVE at the same time by selecting STRIVE as your

AmazonSmile beneficiary!

ID: Blue flyer with AmazonSmile logo at the top and STRIVE logo toward the bottom. Text included how to select STRIVE on AmazonSmile.

Image Description (ID): "We're Hiring!" flyer with position and contact information and 3 photos of staff working with STRIVE participants.

Are you, or someone you know in the market for a new job?

We're hiring for a number of positions!

We have full time, part time, and per diem opportunities available- including weekdays, evenings, and weekends!

For the month of December, we are also offering a $1,750 sign on bonus (after 30 days of successful employment) plus an additional $250 bonus for those that are already DSP or MHRT certified!

Click Here to browse our open positions!

If you have questions about our current openings, contact Betsy Morrison at [email protected] or at 207-879-0847 x207.

Here's what's happening in our programs!

STRIVE U Students & Alumni gathered this month for a progressive dinner on campus. The progressive dinner is a yearly STRIVE U tradition where current students and alumni come together to enjoy socializing and a delicious home-cooked meal. This was the first on-campus gathering since 2019. Students and staff worked hard leading up to the event prepping all the fixings for a nice thanksgiving style meal. Lots of fun and laughs were had by all!  

ID: 2 STRIVE participants sitting across from each other at a small table. They are both smiling and have empty plates in front of them.

ID: 6 STRIVE participants sitting around a table eating a thanksgiving meal. There is a bulletin board and lamp in the background. There is a STRIVE staff standing next to a door on the back wall.

ID: 5 STRIVE U staff standing behind a table of thanksgiving food they cooked. They are all smiling. 3 are waring aprons.

STRIVE U Virtual Open Houses

Are you or someone you know interested in STRIVE U? Applications are now available for the class of 2025 and STRIVE U is hosting three upcoming Open Houses on Zoom! Please reach out to [email protected] to RSVP to any of the open houses, if you have questions, or would like to request an application! 

ID: blue flyer with the STRIVE U logo on the left. There is an image on the middle right of 11 STRIVE U students standing outside in front of a basketball hoop. On the bottom left is an image of 7 STRIVE U students standing and wearing graduation robes.

STRIVE U is a comprehensive two-year residential, post-secondary educational opportunity for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. To learn more about the program, schedule a tour, or get an application, please contact [email protected] or call (207) 774.6278.

Click here for more information about STRIVE U

ID: blue background with a computer screen. There is an image of a phone with a split screen of two people. The STRIVE WorldWIDE logo is in the bottom left.



STRIVE WorldWIDE is STRIVE’s only fully online program and we get lots of questions about what that means and how it works, so here are some of the most common questions we receive! 


Q: What is STRIVE WorldWIDE? 

A: STRIVE WorldWIDE is a first-of-its-kind online program that teaches independent living skills. It’s designed with neurodiverse learners in mind, but is open to all learners. Each 5–week class focuses on a different independent living skill. Classes meet twice a week by Zoom, plus there is interactive, fun, and accessible work to do on your own in between seminars. All seminars are recorded and posted to the self-paced work, which you never lose access to! So you can build your own library of resources that you can access, repeat, and rewatch as many times as you’d like! Check out this video to hear from students, family, and staff. 


Q: How do I pay for classes? 

A: We have students from all over the US and North America, which is amazing, but it makes that answer just a little complicated. We list STRIVE WorldWIDE as a private pay program, but there are other options depending on where you live! Some states pay for the program and others don’t. Self-direction or self-determination funding has been most successful across multiple states. Most recently, we’ve seen approvals in New York, New Jersey, and Wisconsin, to name a few. Did you know that self-directed services are now available to Maine people who receive services through the Section 29 HCBS Support Waiver?  


Q: Do I earn credits for taking the classes? 

A: When you complete a single course, you earn a certificate of completion. Each course builds towards one or more larger competency certificates. We offer competency certificates in: 

  • Employment       
  • Relationships 
  • Health 
  • Safety 

We don’t offer academic credit for the courses, but if you take our classes through your high school, they may choose to award credit. 


Q: How do I know if online learning is right for me? 

A: Our classes are 100% technology-based, so you will need to have access to a computer, smartphone, or tablet (any of these can be used to access both the seminars and the self-paced work—we even had one student attend her seminar from the back of a NYC cab). That said, you do not need to be a computer expert to be successful in this course. The class itself works similarly to a lot of social media. If a you keep in touch with friends or family through those sources, you will probably be comfortable using the STRIVE WorldWIDE platform. Watching videos is like Youtube, posting on the discussion boards is like commenting on Facebook, and seminars are like FaceTime! The content itself is designed to be universally accessible, regardless of reading or writing abilities. We offer choice in how students participate so that everyone can be successful learning with us! 


If you are interested in learning more about our classes check out our course catalog here. If you have a question we didn’t address here, email Anne Ryan at [email protected]. 

STRIVE WorldWIDE is STRIVE's online program that teaching independent living skills. For more information about STRIVE WorldWIDE, contact Dr. Anne Ryan at [email protected] or at
Click here for more information about STRIVE WorldWIDE

Our TOPS students continue to grow as a class, building relationships and learning with and from each other. A huge benefit of attending TOPS for high school students in their transition years is to navigate new social opportunities while still having the structure of a school-like schedule. Opportunities to talk with peers, leisure time to identify interests and explicit instruction on relationship building and social scenarios are all built into the program.  The group has bonded over shared experiences like volunteering at the Preble Street Food Pantry and the Ronald McDonald Charity House.  Additionally, they have tried new activities together like playing Pickleball and Squash, enjoying the STRIVE Studios Dance Studio for dance groups and role playing scenarios in class. 

ID: TOPS student holding a racket and playing pickleball

ID: four TOPS students standing in front of a board that says "welcome fabulous volunteers!"

ID: TOPS student drawing with crayons and smiling at the camera

 Interested in TOPS? TOPS (Transition Outcomes Program for Students) provides transition programming for high school students from area school districts who are typically 18 years and older. For more information, please contact Betsy Morrison, [email protected] or by phone at 207-879-0847.

Click here for more information about TOPS
STRIVE Bayside

 This month has been all about thankfulness. The participants here at Bayside have been adding post-it notes of the things they are thankful for to our “Attitude of Gratitude” bulletin board all month and it is certainly overflowing with gratitude! We have been showing our appreciation all around Portland by performing acts of kindness in the community as well as with each other. We have also been working on navigating the bus system. Participants have ridden the bus to Gorham, Westbrook, Falmouth, and South Portland. Most recently, we attended STRIVE’s Thanksgiving Lunch. It was so great to see familiar faces and meet new friends. Not to mention- the food was delicious!

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 am - 1:00 pm and 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm. 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 Kim O'Connor at [email protected].
Click here for more information about Bayside

ACTIVE: To wrap up the month, staff at Foden hosted a huge Thanksgiving lunch for us to enjoy! Everyone from ACTIVE, WAVES, and Bayside came to Foden to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal that included turkey, potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, veggies, and more! It was great to sit with friends, peers, and staff to reflect on all the things we are thankful for this year. Thank you to all of the staff and participants who helped to make our Thanksgiving lunch a success!

WAVES: This month, we have been attending Music Therapy with Kate at STRIVE Studios! There, we meet at the dance studio and get to pick one of the many fun instruments that Kate brings in for us to play. During Music Therapy we have the opportunity to play the guitar, keyboard, ukuleles, bells, maracas, and more! Doing Music Therapy can help to reduce stress, have fun, and can even help to improve memory. Thank you to Kate from Maine Music and Health for the awesome music therapy sessions! It is something that we look forward to every month.

ID: STRIVE staff and participant sitting in chairs. Participant is playing a guitar

ID: three STRIVE particpants standing in front of Thanksgiving decorations

For more information on PSL Services/STRIVE's Community Support Day Programs, ACTIVE & WAVES, please contact Community Support Program Director, Veerle Pottie, at [email protected].
Click here for more information about ACTIVE/WAVES
Wednesday Night Educational Series

We had a great first month of our Healthy Relationships series in November and we are looking forward to continuing this topic in December! Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and the Young Adult Abuse Prevention Program will continue to coteach these classes as we learn more about relationships 101, boundaries & consent, technology & relationships, and more! As a reminder, there will be no Wednesday Night Ed on Wednesday December, 28th.

*Please keep in mind that mature material will be discussed in this series*

ID: orange flyer with an image of hands holding a heart on the right

The Wednesday Night Educational Series is held every Wednesday, with a hybrid model, for participants 15-24 years old. Series are between 4 and 8 weeks and topics vary from month to month! The price per series is $20-$30, depending on the series' length. For more information or for your link to join class, contact Alex at [email protected].

Click here for more information about STRIVE's Wednesday Night Educational Series

More details about school vacation camps coming soon! 

           ID: Camp STRIVE logo in front of blue sky and green grass

Camp STRIVE is a day-camp experience for campers between the ages of 11-24. Camp STRIVE is held every school vacation (February, April, and the day before Thanksgiving) as well as for the full summer. For more information about Camp STRIVE, contact Alex Woodhouse at [email protected].

Click here for more information about Camp STRIVE

We're excited for another fun month of Tweens activities! We will be making some holiday crafts, decorating cookies and playing minute to win it games at our holiday party! Our furry friend Woodrow will also be back for a visit! Please email Alex if you have questions or want a membership form! There will be no Tweens on Friday, December 23rd.

ID: light pink flyer with green leaves and red berries in the top right and bottom left corners. 

Tweens is a safe and fun environment to build new friendships and learn new skills for folks 11-14 years old. We run every Friday from 3:30-5:30pm. We have a scheduled activity each week, with free time built in to maximize socialization. For more information about STRIVE Tweens, contact Alex at [email protected].
Click here for more information about Tweens

Happy December from STRIVE Night! We're excited for another fun month of socials with two theme nights planned! On Friday, December 2nd we will celebrate STRIVE's 23rd Anniversary and then on December 30th we will close out the month with a winter celebration! There will be no STRIVE Night on Friday, December 23rd 

ID: blue flyer with snow falling from the top and tress with snow on the ground along the bottom.

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 are always welcome, and your first night is free!  STRIVE Night is Friday from 6-9pm, with at least one special "theme" night happening each month.  For more information, contact Alex at [email protected].

Click here for more information about STRIVE Night

Happy Holidays from STRIVE 25! We will be hosting TWO ugly sweater parties this month - one in person and one on Zoom! Join us on December 1st in person at Foden Road and December 15th virtually on Zoom! We can't wait to see your best ugly sweaters!

ID: red and white sweater image with program information and dates.

STRIVE 25 is a social event for folks 25 and older. It currently runs on the first and third Thursday of each month from 6-8pm. The first Thursday is in person and the third Thursday is on Zoom! For more information on STRIVE 25, contact Whitney at [email protected] or Alex at [email protected]!

Click here for more information about STRIVE 25

The STRIVECast had another great month! Season 5 has continued on with our hosts answering listener questions and sharing tips, hints, and recommendations about all sorts of things! This month, we also spoke to Nanci Boutet – Executive Director of Special Surfers, and Casey – our own Jesuit Volunteer here at STRIVE! We also chatted about our auction, shared Thanksgiving favorites, and played everyone’s favorite game – Facebook Marketplace Price is Right! We hope you enjoyed listening to these episodes as much as we enjoyed recording them! Do you have a guest idea for an upcoming show? Let us know!

ID: screenshot of a Zoom recording. There are seven squares - six members of the STRIVECast team and one guest. 

The STRIVECast is a podcast brought to you by the team at PSL Services/STRIVE in South Portland, Maine — bringing you engaging, hilarious, and thoughtful conversation through one interview week by week. Co-Hosted by two young men with Down Syndrome, the STRIVECast aims to change the voices we typically hear on the radio and through podcasts, as well as to provide meaningful dialogues with all sorts of public figures in our world. We are very proud to be both hosted, produced AND edited by people with disabilities! Like what you hear? Shoot us an email at [email protected]!
Click here for more information on The STRIVECast

Thank you to our November Donors!

Henry and Monica Recknagel - In Honor of Gus Recknagel

Rita Ann Smith- In Honor of JJ Sarapas

Serena Casey- In Memory of Florence Johnson

Anne Marie Noyes - In Memory of Florence Johnson

Lenora Foley - In Memory of Florence Johnson

Barry Dunlap- In Honor of Caleb Dunlap

Robert and Deborah Edmonds- In Memory of Nicholas Vaughan

John and Patricia O'Rourke - In Memory of Florence Johnson

J Clarence and Rita Madore

James and Marie Ascanio- In Memory of Florence Johnson

Regina Day - In Memory of Florence Johnson

Heather McGeough

Jeanne Fernald

ISCS Hydraulics Inc

Meredith Kerr

William Gourde

Dennis and Bonnie Tallagnon

Joyce and James Dziedzic

Helen and Joseph Malone

Federic and Doreen Thompson

Daniel Reardon and Bernadette Woodcock

Janet and Michael Collins

Gregory and Lorraine Cyr

David Guiseley

Paul Daniels

Jane and Stanley Kurbrin

Thomas and Barbara Graf

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates, PA

Philip and Barbara Brown

James Kilkenny

L. Scott and Melanie Cook

HUB Furniture Company Inc

Sam McHale- In Honor of Kate McHale

Gregg Ritter

Ginger Ryan

Gerri Bridgman

Perry Clark- In Memory of Donald E. Johnson

Anthony Payne- In Memory of Donald Johnson

Sarah Mariski- In Honor of Bill Mariski

Martha Ann Savard

Tracy Nixon- In Honor of Laura Lyle

Mark Sawyer

Marie Roy 

Molly Salt

Kris Way Truck Leasing, Inc.

Lewanne Hughes- In Honor of Eric Hughes

Image Description (ID): white background with a circle of colored flowers in the middle. Text in the middle reads "Thank You".
Thank you for your generous support of STRIVE!
With your support, we are able to continue our work each and every day.
Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday to our STRIVE members with a birthday in December!

Image Description (ID): Black background with three cupcakes in the middle. Icing on the cupcakes is blue, yellow, and pink. On top of the cupcakes are lit candles that read "Happy Birthday."

Alex York

Ashley Bowers

Jacob Hill

Shania Smith

Ivan Scheloske

Vitality Chan

Kaleb Divney

Victoria Felt

John Mancini

River Cummings

Katherine-Anne Martin

Cameron Day

Matt Kohan

Rob Mendillo

Brandon Woods

Michael Gregoire

Member Spotlight

Meet Emily! Emily attends our Wednesday Night Education Series and STRIVE Night! Her favorite thing about STRIVE is "being there with the friends she already knew and new friends she has met, and air hockey!" Thanks, Emily!

ID: photo of STRIVE member Emily standing and smiling at the camera

Staff Spotlight

ID: photo of staff spotlight, Ava. Ava is sitting behind a table smilitng at the camera

Meet Ava! Ava is the STRIVE U Education and Training Coordinator. Her "favorite thing about STRIVE is the people, I love going in to work every day because of the people I get to work with, both the staff and students. I feel so grateful that this is the case because it makes a huge difference in my motivation, happiness, and overall energy about work!" Thanks, Ava, we're grateful to have you!

General Announcements

Thank you for your support of STRIVE's 18th Annual Auction!

With your help, STRIVE's auction had a record breaking year, raising over $103,000 for STRIVE programs!

Our auction would not have been as successful without the support from you- our bidders, donors, sponsors and guests. Thank YOU for making this one of our best auction years yet!

Are you interested in helping to plan events like our auction? Contact STRIVE Program Director, Whitney Wildes, at [email protected] to join our 2023 committee!

ID: Light blue flyer with yellow, maroon, and orange flowers on the top and bottom. The center says "thank you" with the STRIVE logo.

3 Points for STRIVE

It's that time of year again! Hammond Lumber and the Maine Celtics are teaming up again for 3 Points for STRIVE! Each time the Maine Celtics score a 3-pointer at a home game, Hammond Lumber will donate $50 to STRIVE!

Want to get involved? Visit or contact STRIVE Program Director, Whitney Wildes, at [email protected], to make your pledge today!

ID: Green flyer with a cartoon image of a basketball going into a net in the top center. Information about 3 Points for STRIVE is in the middle. Hammond Lumber, Maine Celtics and STRIVE logo are at the bottom.

Community Members Wanted!

Did you know that STRIVE hosts a monthly, free, networking group for those in our local community? The STRIVE Business to Business Networking Group is just one way that we try to be a mutually beneficial partner, with the hope of expanding the networks of our partners and local businesses. 

We are looking to grow! The group meets at noon on the last Wednesday of each month (right now we are meeting virtually). Are you or someone you know interested in joining? Contact Pete ([email protected]) or Whitney ([email protected]) for more information about the group and your link to join!
Image Description (ID): gray background with a dark blue border. The STRIVE logo is in the top right. Text is in black and reads "business to business networking group."
Don't forget, STRIVE has an updated store! We've launched an online store to purchase all your STRIVE swag needs! Take a look at all the shop has to offer HERE! There are so many items to choose from AND you can customize any item by choosing the color and STRIVE logo that you want. Happy shopping! 
Image Description (ID): white background with two rows of swag. Top row from left to right is a gray backpack with the STRIVE WorldWIDE logo, a black mug with the STRIVECast logo, a white t-shirt with the STRIVE logo, and a blue baseball hat with a STRIVE U logo. Bottom row from left to right is a blue tote bag with a PSL Services/STRIVE log, a gray sweatshirt with a STRIVE U logo, and a white travel mug with a STRIVE logo.
Has your mailing address changes recently?
Have a new mailing address to add?
Have questions or comments about any of our programs and events?

Email [email protected] to update your address or speak to a STRIVE staff member!

New members: You will be asked to complete an updated information form upon your arrival to Tweens, STRIVE Night or STRIVE 25. Want to get a head start? Visit to submit your membership form today!
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