STRIVE News & Updates

February 1st, 2023


Monday, February 20th


Every Friday from 3:30-5:30pm

*in person*


Every Friday from 6-9pm

*in person and virtual options*


Thursday, February 2nd

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

STRIVE Rocks 2023 update!

We are so excited to begin planning for STRIVE Rocks 2023!

This year’s event will take place virtually 8pm, Friday, May 5th- 8am, Saturday, May 6th

Click the above video to learn more!

Some of you may be wondering why we are still hosting a virtual event. Here are a few of our reasons:


·       STRIVE Rocks on Zoom allows for more participants to attend. Participants that may not be able to stay up all night in person can come and go as they please during the virtual event. 


·       STRIVE Rocks on Zoom allows us to bring the fun of STRIVE Rocks to participants not just in Maine! For the past 3 years, we’ve had STRIVE Rocks participants join us from northern Maine and other parts of the country!


·       On Zoom, we are able to have acts from across the country join us. This year, we already have entertainment booked from New York, North Carolina, and more! 


·       Above all, STRIVE Rocks is a fundraiser. Doing the event virtually allows us to raise significantly more money for STRIVE programs!

We’ve also heard your concerns and have an easier fundraising platform to use this year!


It’s not too early to register and start your fundraising! 

Register Here!

To participate, all you'll need to do is fundraise a minimum of $40 to get the link to enter! We also have other incentives if you’d like to continue your fundraising!

• Raise $50 or more and you'll get a STRIVE Rocks T-Shirt!

• Raise $250, $500 or $1,000 (or more), to become a STRIVE Rocks All Star/VIP/MVP and get even more special STRIVE gear!

Questions about the event?

Contact STRIVE Program Director, Whitney, at [email protected]!

We want to keep STRIVE Rocks 2023 fresh, exciting, and fun! We have some new ideas, but we also want to hear from you, the ones who participate!


We are looking for local high school students and STRIVE members to be involved in a focus group Wednesday, February 15th at 8pm (on Zoom) to help us in our planning. Remember- you can receive service hours for participating! Interested in helping? Contact Casey at [email protected]!

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 February, 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 aren’t letting winter stop them from navigating around the community. They are always exploring and finding new areas in the great city they live in.  The Second years students recently tried a new restaurant and food cuisine near campus! It was a big hit!

The Spring semester at SMCC is underway. The students are enrolled in either a culinary class or a communications class. The students are looking forward to another great semester! 

ID: 3 STRIVE U students standing together inside and smiling. hey are wearing winter coats and gear.

ID: 5 STRIVE U students standing inside together and smiling. There are windows in the background and wearing winter gear.

ID: 4 STRIVE U students eating out at a restaurant. They sitting at a wooden table with bowls in front of them. There are bikes against the wall to the left of the group. There is also a neon sign/light above them with a bowl of noodles.

STRIVE U applications due TODAY, February 1st! The STRIVE U application deadline for the class of 2024 is here! All completed STRIVE U applications must be received in the admissions office by 4pm (EST) TODAY! Questions? Contact [email protected]!

ID: The STRIVE U logo is on the top. There is a cartoon image of stacked books with a graduation cap in the middle

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: flyer with STRIVE WorldWIDE logo along the top. There are alternating blue and yellow squares on the flyer

What Do We Mean By Accessible & Interactive? 


You may have heard us say before that our online classes are designed to be universally accessible and that the self-paced content is interactive. But have you ever wondered what we mean by that? Check out the interactive version of this picture/info sheet here


Well first, our classes have 2 parts: interactive self-paced homework and seminars that meet twice a week through Zoom. We’ve designed the classes so that reading and writing is not a requirement to be successful in our courses. 

  • Our self-paced work is narrated, closed captioned, and screen-reader enabled. When we ask you to do an activity in the class, you get to choose if you respond by typing, using speech-to-text, recording an audio message, recording a video message, attaching a file, or screencasting your device—all built into the class and able to use at a click of a button—no advanced tech skills required. 
  • Our seminars are live captioned and students can participate by using the chat, speaking, or using an AAC device to communicate. 


Still have questions or want to learn more about our classes? Contact Anne Ryan at [email protected]. And we hope you join us for our classes that start 2/20/23: Self-Advocacy & Boundaries and Personal Safety. 

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 and staff returned from break with renewed energy and excitement for the second half of the school year. Each Friday afternoon, our students receive a schedule for their week ahead. TOPS has a very flexible activity schedule because we support our students to work on their individualized goals. By having access to this schedule ahead of time, our students can be prepared.   

A key component in TOPS is to support student independence, however that looks for each student, across all settings.  As we get further along in the school year, and as our students are continuously expected to be prepared for their activities, the students gain awareness of our activities and their role in being prepared for them. This builds confidence and deeper engagement! 

ID: 10 TOPS students standing inside in from of a colorful world map

ID: three TOPS standing inside and posing for the camera

ID: action shot of a TOPS student playing squash o

ID: a TOPS student holding a long piece of French bread

ID: two TOPS students outside snowshoeing with poles

 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

Happy 2023 from Bayside! This month we have been exploring new places on the bus. Participants traveled to Rock Row in Westbrook, the Falmouth Shaw’s, and the Maine Mall in South Portland. As a fun way to work on improving budgeting and grocery shopping skills, the participants at Bayside took part in a scavenger hunt at Hannaford. The winner got to have their staff person do their chore for a week! That’s all for now…See you in February!

ID: three Bayside participants sitting on the bus

ID: three Bayside participants standing outside

ID: three Bayside participants sitting at a table with iPads in front of them

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: This year we finished up our sewing group at STRIVE Studios! At sewing group, we made lots of different and fun things. We made blankets, bags, wallets, quilts, squares and more. Sewing is a great way to reduce stress, increase hand-eye coordination, and it promotes sustainability. Thank you to Peggy for instructing sewing group each week! We really enjoyed it and were excited to be able to bring home so many fun and different projects! 

ID: participant holding up a quilt

WAVES: This year we did a lot of swimming at the South Portland Community Center Pool! There, we swim laps, lift pool weights, play pool games, and we get to relax in the hot tub afterwards. After we swim, we will sometimes spend time in the senior center next-door, where we play Wii and work on puzzles! \Swimming is a great way to keep our bodies healthy and can even help to reduce stress. Thank you to the South Portland Community Center for providing such a great space for us to socialize and get active! 

ID: particiapnt swimming in a swimming pool

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

In February, our Wednesday Night Ed Series will be learning all about social skills and the importance of communication! In this series we will discuss social cues and body language, reciprocal conversation, informal vs formal communication, and more! Students will have the option to join in-person or virtual, both from 6-8pm!

ID: blue background with a graphic of people chatting with speech bubbles above their heads on the bottom left. There are also two speech bubble on the middle 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 Camp STRIVE 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 have some fun things planned this month including cookie decorating, science experiments, yoga, shaving cream art and more! We hope to see you there! 

 ID: ID: pink background with a red heart and two lines on both the left and right side of the flyer. There are four hearts in the middle - blue, yellow, green, and pink - with dates and activities.

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

STRIVE Night will meet every Friday in February! Join for us for some fun games, the opportunity to hang out with friends new and old, and a special Valentine’s Day Theme Night on February 10th! Also, big congratulations to our newly elected STRIVE Night Advisory Board!

 ID: pink background with darker pink hearts. There are three pink color blocks in the middle with program information.

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 February! We’re looking forward to seeing everyone in-person on Thursday, February 2nd! We hope you’ll join us for some delicious food, great conversation, and the best rounds of bingo in town! Also, big congratulations to our newly elected STRIVE 25 Advisory Board!

 ID: pink background with red hearts clothes pinned to a rope along the top. There are two arrows with hearts in the middle near the bottom.

STRIVE 25 is a social event for folks 25 and older. It currently runs in-person on the first Thursday of every month from 6-8pm 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 started 2023 on a high note! We chatted with Erin Baumgartner - Founder of Family Dinner, Caro Woodard - Jesuit Volunteer at Cheverus High School, Heather Arvidson - Volunteer and Client Services Manager with MCHPP, and Brie Roche with the Osher Map Library! We hope you enjoyed listening to these conversations as much as we enjoyed having them! Do you have guest or segment ideas for upcoming shows? Let us know! 

ID: Screen shot of the STRIVECast Zoom recording. Includes the six STRIVECast team members 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 January Donors!

  • Andrew and Nancy Wickwire
  • Barry Dunlap- In Honor of Caleb Dunlap
  • Richard and Geraldine Prentice  
  • West Port Development LLC       
  • The Honorable John McKernan Jr. and Senator Olympia Snowe   
  • Cynthia and Lawrence Vaughan
  • The Flying Cow Inc.         
  • Regina Day - In Honor of the Pietras Family
  • Wendy Bush      
  • Aaron Chadbourne- In Honor of Lesley Kellett
  • Kathleen Johnson
  • Stephanie Jewett- In Memory of Dorothy R. Jones
  • Douglas Obenhaus- In Memory of Dorothy Jones
  • Wayne and Alice Newland- In Memory of Dorothy Jones
  • Samantha Leavitt 
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 February!

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."

Kevin Banks

Paris Nalevansky

Justin Browne

Sean Lewis

Nick Hubel

Andrew Deschambault

Nate Hall

Andrew Michaud

Zachary Khron 

Jessica Luciano 

Nick Cusano

Arianna Bulger

Caleb Hanmer

Lucy Pedersen

Chris Allegri

Zachary O'Brion

Brandon Pierce

Harrison Snyder

Dennis Dorey Jr.

Emma Campbell

Abe Gilmore

Member Spotlight

Meet Ethan! Ethan is a student in our TOPS program! Ethan's favorite thing about STRIVE is “well everything, of course! But if I had to pick one, it would be seeing everyone!”

ID: photo of member spotlight, Ethan posing outside

Staff Spotlight

ID: photo of staff spotlight, Miguel. He is wearing a suit and walking outside

Meet Miguel! Miguel works in our STRIVE Night social! He says “my favorite thing about STRIVE is knowing that I get to hang out with folks who genuinely welcome anyone. I enjoy learning the interest of others and creating an environment that encourages inclusion for everyone. I believe we all have the ability to communicate, have fun, and make new friends. I want to be that gateway personnel if individuals need support when doing so.” Thanks, Miguel – we’re grateful to have you! 

General Announcements

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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