PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

December 1st, 2017
Tonight! STRIVE's 18th Anniversary Celebration

Join us TONIGHT here at STRIVE for our Anniversary Celebration, where we will be honoring several volunteers and community partners who help make what we do possible. This event is open to STRIVE Alumni and families as well. This celebration will run during STRIVE Night, so please note the beginning of the evening will look differently from a typical Friday Night. We will begin at 6pm. See you then!
Adventure Awaits - STRIVE's 2017 Auction!


We had an amazingly successful Auction this year, raising nearly $83,000 for STRIVE! We owe many thanks to our tireless Auction committee, the hundreds of businesses that donated to the event, and to our generous guests who bid on our 400+ items! We had an array of amazing gift cards, sports memorabilia, vacation packages, artwork and more. Throughout the night, we had a few speakers, including two current STRIVE members who spoke about their experiences in our programs and provide more insight into the work we do.

To top off the evening, representatives from our Foden Road neighbors, UPS, presented us with a check for $25,000! This was separate from the $83,000 the Auction raised on it's own. We are so grateful to them for their continuous support of our programs.

If you attended our Auction, we'd love to hear from you! We have a survey we are asking folks to complete so we can know how to keep improving this event experience. Follow this link to the survey: 

See you next year!

STRIVE U Now Accepting Applications!


Applications for the STRIVE U class of 2 018-20 are now being accepted through February 1, 2018. I f you are interested in learning more about the program, would like a tour, or request an app lication please contact Bill Hughes at 774-6278 or email at  

STRIVE U is inclusive, comprehensive , groundbreaking and fun!  Th is two year program  is aimed at teaching its students necessary skills to live independently in the community.  The application process is similar to a college application with written materials, interviews, and an overnight experience. STRIVE U is looking for motivated individuals between the ages of 18-25 whose goals are to learn the necessary skills to live, work and participate in their community.    
STRIVE U is founded on four main program areas:   
Community Living  
  • Students enrolled at STRIVE U learn critical independent living skills in off-campus apartment buildings. These apartments serve as skills classrooms for independent living, training in money management, self-care, nutrition, health and wellness, and household management. Each student will have maximum independence and choices, in cluding the opportunity to learn from  mistakes in a safe environment.   

Post-Secondary  Education  
  • STRIVE U collaborates with Kaplan Univ
  • ersity Maine to provide education opportunity for students.  Students are enrolled in classes that are geared towards success in future employment and independent living.   
  • STRIVE  U and its employment partners are committed to providing students with valuable, competitive work experience and the support needed to ensure successful professional experiences. Students will be given the opportunity to experience a wide variety of employment opportunities focusing on areas in which students express interests. STRIVE U also provides extensive job preparation and training to complement work experience.   
  • The transition process will take pla
  • ce throughout the students two years at STRIVE U. This will begin with enrollment, and the creation of a written transition plan, including goals set by the individual. Students will graduate with two certificates of completion and an official transcript from Kaplan. STRIVE U will also assist graduates with housing, employment support, and further connection for their community. 

    More information is available at  .

During the month of November the Next STEPpers were very busy. We started off the month with our fall Strive Pride Day, where we helped clean the kitchen and organize the Next STEP room.  Our reward after our hard work was a BBQ with the other programs in the building complete with burgers, hot dogs, chips and a vegetable tray!
We also concluded our second community garden with Kaplan University by having a wrap-up meeting with their liaison and also putting the garden "to bed" for the winter. At the meeting we talked about this year's garden and also discussed what we want to do differently for our garden next year.

Next STEP also began a new volunteer site at the Maine Audubon in Falmouth. Each week a team from Next STEP goes to Maine Audubon where we organize the Discovery Room which is a hands-on room for visitors to explore. It feels good to give back and assist another worthwhile organization while at the same time giving us the experience of this responsibility!

In November, the STEPpers also attended the Thanksgiving Dinner with all STRIVE programs. For the dinner Next STEP made an apple pie, and it came out great! We also took the responsibility of setting up the room with tables and place settings (for 90 people!) as well as decorate the room.   

Next STEP is a great option offering a quality experience 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 in TOPS, students wrapped up their resumes, started new classroom jobs, practiced using taxi's, and planned their capstone event!  Seven of our fourteen students are required to complete a Capstone Project that involves asking a question about their interest and finding an answer to it.  This year, the students are hosting a Transition Fair for High School Youth with Disabilities.  The Fair will be held in February of 2018 at the Portland Arts and Technology High School.   The students will each have a role in this event, including marketing, logistics, community outreach, and donation research.  More information will be provided after the New Year. 

TOPS (Transition Outcomes Program for Students) is a one-of its-kind transitional program for high school students in their 13th and 14th year of school.  Partnering with school districts in York, Cumberland and Androscoggin Counties, TOPS is a leader in transition preparation for students as they work toward independence.  Placement is made through the IEP process. For more information, please contact Betsy Morrison or 207-774-6278.  

This month at Bayside our learning group focused on manners.  We brushed up our table manners, and we learned the ins and outs of restaurant manners, including how to tip! We also learned important manners for living in an apartment building.  To help us learn, we went to the restaurant B. Good on Adventure Day and worked on tipping and other restaurant norms!  We also had a scavenger hunt that took us all around Back Bay Towers, the apartment building Bayside is located in, and found clues about how to act respectfully while in an apartment building.  Our last big project of the month was our Thanksgiving dinner.  We worked together to plan a nice dinner and choose the menu.  Using the cooking skills we learn here at Bayside we made a delicious meal complete with stuffing muffins, turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, homemade applesauce and two desserts!  We then worked together to set the table and had a lovely meal where we all practiced all that we've learned!

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
Wednesday Night Educational Series

Our two-month long Healthy Relationships Series just concluded, with our students gaining knowledge they'll need to pursue healthy relationships of all kinds! The series finished with each student receiving their certificate of completion.

This month we are excited to begin our Career Exploration series! Join us as we learn the ins and outs, do's and don'ts, and everything in between of finding a job! 
For any questions regarding Wednesday Ed, contact Alex at

November was a short month for STRIVE Nights, as we were only open for 2 of the 4 weeks of the month! We made the most of it though, especially on our Harvest Festival theme night. We enjoyed apple cider and lots of yummy fall-themed treats!

This month we're gearing up for our big Holiday Celebration!  This will be right before Christmas, on Friday, December 22nd. There will be holiday music, lots of treats, and maybe even a special guest or two to get you fully in the holiday spirit!

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 holidays are a fun and festive time on the STRIVE U campus. STRIVE U students had a great time taking a break from classes and their goals to celebrate Thanksgiving with their friends and family.

Recently, STRIVE U held their Progressive Dinner on the campus. At STRIVE U, the Progressive Dinner is a valued tradition. Staff, STRIVE U alumni and current students are invited to a special dinner that is held by staff and current STRIVE U students. It is essentially a Thanksgiving meal that all students and staff contribute to. Each course of the meal is eaten in a different apartment on the campus. The courses include appetizers, the entrée and dessert. Current STRIVE U students were responsible for cooking a portion of the meal, as well as cleaning up their apartments and decorating for guests. It was a fun and delicious way for students to showcase their cooking skills and plan a dinner where they were able to enjoy socializing with peers!

STRIVE U applications for the Class of 2020 are now available! The deadline for applying for admission for June 2018 is February 1, 2018. 

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.
Who says camp is only for the summer?! Camp STRIVE had a great time during our Thanksgiving Camp day in November. We had a small group and had lots of fun catching up with fun friends from the summertime and doing some fun Thanksgiving-themed activities. 

Camp STRIVE will be having it's annual Winter Camp this month, December 26th-December 29th. To register your camper, please fill out an application at . The schedule will be released in the coming weeks to all 2017 camp attendees. If you would like to see the schedule but did not attend camp this year, please contact Olivia at 

After School

After School has had a jam-packed month, and is now in the groove of making sure to spend time at a variety of different places in the community. We've visited several local libraries, walked at the South Portland Community Center's indoor track, hung out at Books A Million and honed our cooking skills as well.

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


Tweens, like STRIVE Night, had a short but fun month! We enjoyed making our Thanksgiving paper turkey, and, as always, having fun with our friends. Check out what we've got going on this month! 

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 .

Aktion Club 

Aktion Club had a great time helping out with the coat check at the STRIVE Auction! Thanks for everyone who said hello and chatted with us. 

We are very excited to sponsor a family for the Holiday Season in the month of December. We had a very successful year, fundraising over 600 dollars to spend on a family in need! We also participated in the Ronald McDonald House Soda-Tab drive, and brought a few thousand soda tabs to help out their organization.

This past week, we participated in the Westbrook Festival of Trees, decorating our tree with a fun beach theme! We've been keeping very busy this month and having a great time together.

The next two Aktion Club meetings will be:
Wednesday, December 6th
Wednesday, December 20th

For more info, drop by one of our upcoming meetings! They begin at 3:15pm in the big conference room here at STRIVE.

Happy Birthday to the following STRIVE Members!

We hope you have a great day!

Raymond Rolls 
Carmen LaPointe 
Michael Gregoire 
Sophie Jacobs 
Joshua Curran 
Jeremy Martin 
Lissette Rodriquez 
Kimberly Rosenbloom 
Erica Lawton 
Kristoffer Constantine 
Alex York 
John Mancini 
Ashley Bowers 
Jacob Hill 
Shania Smith 
Vitali Chan 
Kaleb Divney 
Xavier Blow 
River Lee Cummings
Thank You to Our Donors

-          Cynthia & Lawrence Vaughan
-          Ellen McMonagle
-          Digpro Excavation & Utility
-          Deborah Ward
-          Jean Ricciardelli
-          John & Carol Ann Cagle
-          Harold Osher
-          Robert Sellin & Natalie West
-          Gregory & Lorraine Cyr
-          J.E. Britton in honor of Dr. Russel Britton

Thank you for your generous support of STRIVE!

General Announcements

-We're Hiring! Check out our open positions: .
-STRIVE will be CLOSED Monday, December 25th for Christmas.
-STRIVE will be CLOSED Monday, January 1st for New Years.
-Keep us in mind while you do your holiday shopping via Amazon Smile! When you choose PSL Services via Amazon Smile, STRIVE receives a portion of your sale. Visit to get started!

Camp STRIVE- December 26th-29th
STRIVE U Application Deadline- February 1, 2018
STRIVE Rocks 2018- March 23 & 24 2018

Has your Mailing Address changed recently?
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!