STRIVE News & Updates

January 1st, 2023


Monday, January 2nd

Monday, January 16th


Every Friday from 3:30-5:30pm

*in person*


Every Friday from 6-9pm

*in person and virtual options*


Thursday, January 5th

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

Congratulations to our annual

STRIVE award recipients!

Each December, STRIVE gives out annual awards to individuals who go above and beyond in our STRIVE community! We'd like to take a minute to recognize our 2021-2022 Volunteer of the Year (Nola Fennessy), Business/Community Partner of the Year (Atlantic Companies and Portland Sea Dogs) , New Community Partner of the Year (Sea Change Yoga and Center for Maine Contemporary Art), and STRIVE Alumni Volunteer of the Year (Caleb Dunlap). Congratulations and thank you for all you do for STRIVE!

2021-2022 Volunteer of the Year

Nola Fennessy

2021-2022 Business/Community Partner

of the Year

Atlantic Companies & The Portland Sea Dogs

2021-2022 New Community Partner

of the Year

Sea Change Yoga &

Center for Maine Contemporary Art

2021-2022 STRIVE Alumni Volunteer

of the Year

Caleb Dunlap

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 January, 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 celebrated the end of the SMCC semester by taking a trip to Freeport! It was a perfect sunny day for traveling on the breeze bus up to freeport. The students had a blast enjoying everything L.L. Bean has to offer, like seeing the train display and ice skating outside. They left recharged and ready to take on the new year! 

ID: three students and one staff outside the L.L. Bean boot

ID: six STRIVE U students posing outside

ID: student standing and smiling in front of the train display

ID: four students wearing ice skates on a skating rink

ID: two students standing inside the L.L. Bean snowglobe

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 an upcoming Open House on January 12th on Zoom! Please reach out to [email protected] to RSVP to the open house, if you have questions, or would like to request an application! We can also schedule individual tours and informational sessions for interested students, teachers, case managers, or families!

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

Intention & Goal Setting 


January is that time of year when people start thinking about new year’s resolutions. But resolutions can be tricky because they tend to be all or nothing—a resolution quite literally means a firm decision to do (or not do) something. That doesn’t leave much room for mistakes or growth! A different way to approach this same idea can be through intention setting and goal setting. Intention setting is saying what you want to have happen. What does your best self look like? These should be positive statements of what you want to have happen, rather than negative statements of what you don’t want to have happen. For example: 

·       Positive statement: I will be present in the moment 

·       Negative statement: I will not be distracted 

Because these are intentions or something you are aiming for, making a mistake or setback is expected. You just set a new intention and try again.  


Goal setting is similar, but it includes more of a plan. Sara and Anne talk about SMART Goal Setting during our 12/30/22 Fun Fact Friday (which you can watch here). SMART stands for 

Specific, which means be clear what your goal is 

Measurable, which means how will you know if you are successful? 

Attainable & 

Realistic, which means are you able to do it? 

Time-oriented, which means when will you accomplish your goal 


When you think about your goals in this way, it sets you up to succeed. Let’s take a look at an example for a STRIVE WorldWIDE goal.  


I want to have STRIVE WorldWIDE students in all 16 Maine counties by the end of 2023 

Is it... 

Specific? ✔  Students in all 16 counties 

Measurable? ✔  I can track where our students are from 

Attainable & 

Realistic? ✔  We have students in 8 counties right now! 

Time-oriented? ✔  By the end of 2023 


It is indeed a SMART goal! If you would like to help us to achieve this SMART goal, refer your friends from all over the state to join us at STRIVE WorldWIDE. In particular, if you know anyone in Aroostock, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, or Waldo counties, refer them to Anne Ryan at [email protected]. Happy new year! 


ID: An image of Portland Headlight with "SMART" goals described.

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 learned so many skills this month, hidden in fun and festive activities! The students were tasked with finding a cookie recipe with a group of peers to make for our cookie swap. They needed to compromise on a recipe, make a grocery list, shop for ingredients, and ultimately bake the cookies together. 

In addition to the cookie swap, our students had a present swap. To do that, students needed to purchase gifts for each other which allowed them to practice thinking outside of themselves. For the last week of classes before break, the students wrapped their gifts and exchanged them. Later, we discussed empathy as it relates to the movie The Grinch.  The growth in our students after completing these activities was clear to see.  

ID: TOPS student unwrapping a gift.

ID: TOPS student placing cooking dough (on a cookie sheet) in a convection oven.

ID: TOPS student sitting at a table holding up two crafts they made.

 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 has been a busy month here at Bayside! From decorating the tree, to working on our cooking skills by doing some holiday baking for the staff who work in the Bayside building, and volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House, we have been doing our best to spread some holiday cheer. We also had a new participant join us a couple of weeks ago- Cameron! He is a great addition to our morning group. We also had a graduation to celebrate. Congratulations to Nate M.- our newest Bayside graduate! Happy Holidays from all of us at Bayside

ID: Bayside participant standing and smiling

ID: Bayside participant holding his graduation certificate standing next to a staff member

ID: eight Bayside participants sitting in front of a Christmas tree

ID: four Bayside participants sitting in front of a Christmas tree

ID: four Bayside participants and two staff standing behind a cake

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

It was a busy month in ACTIVE and WAVES with lots of excitement surrounding the holidays. This year, the program was able to return to it's annual holiday party, which included a pasta dinner and secret Santa gift exchange! Each participant drew the name of another participant and purchased a gift that they think they'd enjoy. Everyone did a great job picking out the perfect gift for one another!

ID: ACTIVE participant smiling and holding a stuffed animal.

ID: ACTIVE participant smiling and holding up a stuffed frog.

ID: ACTIVE participant wearing a Santa hat and headphones. They are also holding up both hands giving the "rock on" symbol.

ID: ACTICE participant smiling and holding a box with a toy car on the front.

ID: ACTICE participant smiling and holding up a bead kit.

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’re starting 2023 off on the right foot with a focus on time management and organization in our Wednesday Night Ed Series! In this series we will discuss prioritizing, goal setting, and helpful tools we can use to stay organized and on track! Students will have the option to join in-person or virtual, both from 6-8pm!

     ID : blue background with two lighter blue squiggly lines on either side and light blue semi circle on the bottom.

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

We held Camp STRIVE during winter school vacation this year and we had a great time! We went bowling, played squash, and did a scavenger hunt all over the STRIVE building! We also went to the Cross Insurance Arena and got to watch the Maine Mariners play! It was so much fun and thanks to everyone who joined us this week!

  ID: three campers sitting and smiling at the Maine Mariners hockey game

  ID: three campers standing with squash raquets

  ID: four campers playing squash

  ID: one camper standing with a squash racquet

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 are kicking off the new year with some hot chocolate dippers, winter crafts, and a fun winter science experiment! We will also learn all about Maps with a special guest from the Osher Map Library! 

 ID: light teal flyer with two white squares around the program information. On the top is a red ribbon with a white poler bear, gingerbread man, and bell. There are white sparkles all over the flyer.

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 New Year from STRIVE Night! We’re excited for what 2023 will bring us and we look forward to meeting every Friday in January! Stay tuned for some more information on our January theme night – coming soon! We will also be electing a new STRIVE Night Advisory Board for 2023! 

 ID: white background with blue snowflakes in the top right and bottom left. There are blue clouds in the top left and bottom right.

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 New Year from STRIVE 25! In 2023, STRIVE 25 will go back to meeting once a month in person! We look forward to seeing everyone on January 5th! We are also looking forward to starting a STRIVE 25 advisory board who will help plan theme nights! Elections will be help during our in-person social on January 5th!

     ID: teal flyer with white trees along the bottom. There are snowflakes and snowballs around the outside

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 closed out 2022 with some great guests and interviews! We chatted with Mary Zwolinski - Executive Director of Wayside Food Programs, Tara Balch - Communications Director at Maine Needs, and Sean McElwee - t-shirt designer! We also got together as a STRIVECast team and talked about our highlights from the past year and our resolutions for 2023! 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 December Donors!

Leo and Laurie Soucy- In Memory of Don Johnson

Patrick and Catherine McGuinness

Charon Curtis    

Detmer Charitable Fund - In Memory of Don Johnson

Barry Dunlap- In Honor of Caleb Dunlap

Ronald and Gaye Blumenthal      

Charles and Harriet Vaughan      

Hartley and Benson Webster

John Palmer

Teamsters Local Union No. 340 

Lesley Kellett     

Daniel and Nancy Ravin 

Sherman Family Foundation       

Susan Bouton- In Memory of Sally Bouton

Jeffrey and Althea Day  

Caitlin and William Damon          

The Soresh Foundation  

Constance Ostis

Elizabeth Mahoney- In Honor of Brendan Young

Joanne and Lou Scianna- In Memory of Helen Taylor

Catherine Mayall- In Honor of Charlie Saffian

Keith Taylor- In Memory of Helen Taylor

Kayla Mirabella- In Memory of Lindsay Allard

Elizabeth Allaben- In Honor of Lucas Houk

Patricia Rolfson- In Honor of Kate and Tom Rolfson

Shoshana Bannett- In Memory of Jacob Shapell

Art and Connie Batson

John Dooley

Michael and Mary Beaudoin

Michael Yako

Ryan Watson- In Memory of William "Bill" Hughes


Jeff and Susie Saffer

Janet Francis- In Honor of Sally Alexander

James Moran- In Memory of James A. Moran Jr.

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 January!

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."

Emily Murray

Brittany Bean

Owen Wolterbeck

Jordan Young

Sumner Ellis

Nicholas Cataldo

Nathaniel Rines

Peter Tarling

Leeann Brionez

Marshall Noyes

Kelly Mberaba

Jacob Benvie

Thomas Hartnott

Samantha Mueller

Lindsey Foster

Destiny Lemine

Ryan O'Donovan

Cera Ann Lane

Kayla Haggett

Benjamin Beisswanger 

Lisa DeFreitas

Timothy Kerr

Charlie Gilbert

Abby Healy

Gary Burton

Member Spotlight

Meet Mataya! Mataya attended Camp STRIVE this summer and just joined us again for our winter break Camp STRIVE! Her favorite thing about STRIVE is "going bowling!"

ID: photo of member spotlight, Mataya. She is standing up and smiling at the camera

Staff Spotlight

ID: photo of staff spotlight, Mikaela. She is smiling and there are two STRIVE participants next to her.

Meet Mikaela! Mikaela has worked in many STRIVE programs including ACTIVE, STRIVE U, STRIVE Night, and STRIVE 25. She has recently moved over to our TOPS program as an Ed Tech. Mikaela's favorite part about STRIVE is "giving back by volunteering in the community and going on nature walks" Thanks, Mikaela! 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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