PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

March 1st, 2018
STRIVE Rocks 2018

STRIVE Rocks 2018 is just around the corner!  STRIVE Rocks Weekend is our biggest fundraiser of the year. Held at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, this 24+ hour event helps raise money to fund our programs for an entire year. We're hoping to make this year our best and biggest yet, and raise $100,000! STRIVE Rocks will be March 24th-25th, with STRIVE Rocks All Day running 10am-6pm and All Night from 8pm-8am. 

Get your school group on board! The grand prize for the highest fundraising school group is a private pizza party at Get Air Trampoline Park in Portland! Contact Olivia at  [email protected] for more info on school group participation.

Don't forget- the more money you raise, the more swag you get! Check out prize packages below!


For more information on this two-part event, or to register yourself or your team, visit, or follow our facebook pages for more updates:
STRIVE Rocks All Day: Click Here!
STRIVE Rocks All Night:  Click Here!


STRIVE 25 is having it's March event TONIGHT! 6-8pm in the STRIVE Center. Tonight will be a "Hollywood" theme night- we'll roll out the red carpet, watch Grease, and enjoy some homemade nachos. We're so excited for next month's STRIVE 25- stay tuned for the theme!

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 [email protected] (or at 207-774-6278) with any questions or for more information.

This month, TOPS students hosted a Transition Fair to provide resources to other school aged individuals with disabilities as they transition out of high school, their families and community members.  The fair was very successful both in the planning and the day of as the students were able to network, gather resources and ultimately gain many new skills. 
In addition to planning for the Transition Fair, the students began planning their last few months before they graduate.  Students are working on identifying their goals, needs and wants with programming in order to be successful, independent adults.   Some planning includes identifying areas such as specific money management skills, trying new foods and learning more about different cultures.

STRIVE TOPS serves students from school districts in the southern Maine area who are in their 13th or 14th year of school. We will be hosting an Open House for prospective TOPS students and their team members on Tuesday, March 6th from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at STRIVE, 28 Foden Road, South Portland. (snowdate: Thursday, March 8th) If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Betsy Morrison at (207)-774-6278 or [email protected].

Next Step

It's Community Safety month in Next STEP. All month long Next STEP will be discussing and researching  how to be safe in the community. We will discuss what to do if we, or anyone we  know, is in an unsafe situation. We will talk about who to call to get help. We also hope to get a tour of the South Portland Police Department, where we can get some more ideas on how to be safe in the community and also discuss how to avoid unsafe situations.
Then, as we always do, we will be practicing what we learn when we are in the community. We will reinforce the need to be aware and safe no matter where we are in the community, whether we are shopping at LL Bean, on the Metro or walking in the community. Although we have done this curriculum unit in the past, it is always good to refresh our minds and focus on the skills and strategies that we have identified!


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. Here are some comments from a parent and participant of Next STEP. From a parent: " I can't thank you enough for everything you have done for her. She adores STRIVE. She has really come out of her shell and that has a lot to do with Next STEP."   From a participant: "Next STEP is a safe place and a place to be stable and have friends. I have felt so much better since I have been coming."

Please contact Betsy Morrison at [email protected] 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.  

During this past month, Bayside's participants worked hard on learning new goals as well as welcoming new participants into our program. We transitioned from learning about winter safety to a unit all about personal safety online and in the community. Learning group was dedicated to learning about the difference between private and personal information, and being aware of what is safe to share on the internet as well as with people in our community. We continued to clean out the fridge every Friday in order to get rid of things that had gone bad or we weren't eating anymore. One Friday, we created our own version of the Food Network show Chopped by making a meal as a group from the food we already had in the fridge! This activity taught us that we don't always have to go to the grocery store in order to make a yummy meal. The Bayside participants also took a trip to a new place in the community; the Southworth Planetarium to learn about other planets as well as dinosaurs. Although February brought some of the coldest temperatures of the year, we were determined to make it feel like summer by tie-dying t-shirts and listening to music as one of our Adventure Days!


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 [email protected]

STRIVE U will begin to host prospective students during an overnight experience throughout the month of March. This is an integral part of the STRIVE U application process. The campus plans to host eight or nine individuals who hope to attend STRIVE U and become the class of 2020. Each week the staff and current students will meet two prospective students. One prospective student arrives on a Monday afternoon and another arrives on a Wednesday afternoon. When these individuals arrive on campus, they will complete several "Mock Goals." These "Mock Goals" include creating a menu plan and grocery list, budgeting a sum of money, grocery shopping and creating a meal with STRIVE U staff. They are encouraged to engage in a social activity in the student lounge with current students during the evening, and then the student spends the night in a currents student's apartment. The following morning, they attend a class at Kaplan University. This is a wonderful opportunity for the prospective students to gain a perspective of what life on campus is like. Both STRIVE U staff and students are very eager and excited to meet the prospective students! We can't wait to see who will become the class of 2020.

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  [email protected]  or call  (207) 774-6278 .


February was a great night for STRIVE Nights! We had TWO theme nights- a Super Bowl party and our annual Valentine's Day Dance! Both were super festive and were such a great time. This month we're looking forward to our St. Patrick's Day celebration! Join us on Friday, March 16th from 6-9pm. Make sure to wear some green!


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 


Tweens had a very fun month of February! We particularly enjoyed decorating mugs and making Valentine's Day cards. This month we plan on enjoying the company of Portland Youth dance, The Children's Museum, and more. Check out our schedule for the month of March!

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 the Wednesday Night Educational Series is going well. We had a great presentation from the brothers of the pre-pharmacy Fraternity at the University or New England and our very own Kelly Frey helped with our introduction to independence and independent living skills! The series will continue in March and we look forward to learning more skills to help us be more independent. 

We had such a great week of February Vacation Camp! We went on so many fun trips, like touring Wilbur's Chocolate Factory in Freeport (where we had to wear funny hair nets, pictured below!), toured the Park Ranger Station at Bradbury Mountain State Park, and went to the live animal show at Maine Audobon! It was only a short four days but we packed as much fun in there as we could. We are looking forward to April vacation camp soon! For more info on Camp STRIVE, please contact Olivia at [email protected].

After School

After School has had a busy month of February! We've done some really fun clay & paint art projects, worked on our fitness at the South Portland Community Center, and had some fun playing soccer and basketball at The Point. We also cooked some awesome meals together and have been getting really great at dividing up various cooking tasks. Each After Schooler has been assigned a classroom job, helping to pick up around the room and keep it clean. We've been having a lot of fun learning new cleaning skills!

We're excited to help out this month with STRIVE Rocks- often After School helps picking up/dropping off banners, posters, coupons and more! Say hi to us if you see us around town.

After School is also excited to announce that we have a new staff member- Dawn! Dawn has over 15 years of experience working in the field and is really excited to be working here at STRIVE.

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 [email protected].

Aktion Club
Aktion club had a great February. Our Valentine's Day Bake Sale was a huge hit. Big thanks to Judy on making so many delicious treats for STRIVE! Through the month of March we will be having our clothing drive, so bring all your forgotten winter wear so we can find it a new home. We will be delivering our collection on March 21st. The time is ticking!

STRIVE Rocks Committee

STRIVE Rocks is just a few weeks away, and we couldn't be more excited. This event doesn't just come together because of the team at STRIVE, though. We have a committee with STRIVE staff, volunteers, high school students and STRIVE members who all come together to help plan exactly what the event should look like! We're excited to introduce a virtual option to be a part of the committee- if you can't make it in person, we will be able to video conference you in via Google Hangouts - as well as document our ideas via a Google Doc that you can share and edit. Are you and your friends excited about STRIVE Rocks and want to have a voice in how the event gets shaped? We'd love to have you- contact Whitney at [email protected] to sign up. Our final meeting will be next Wednesday, March 7th!

TOPS Open House

Happy Birthday to the following STRIVE Members!

We hope you have a great day!

ZiHao Huang
Edward Wickwire
Forest Leavitt
Andrew Tanguay
Carley Chapman
Cory Hutchins
Austin Pietras
Tyler Smith
Andrew Jenkins
Devon Federico
Jordan Curtis
Taylor Geiger
Kaitlyn (Kati) Patterson
Nava Aryan
Glorimari Machicote
Marie Christie
Michael Giasson
Michael Laughlin
Bradley Parker
Ethan Aube
Bridget Kusturin
Shamus Colson

Thank You to Our Donors
  • Stephanie Jaynes
  • Anonymous
  • Libra Foundation
  • Fraternity Lodge #6 IOOF
  • Faith Comstock
  • Angela Varipatis
  • Martha Baum
  • Karen & Peter Jannace
  • Dawn Hubert - in Honor of Nate DiBiase
  • Anonymous
  • Corinne Pickett - in Memory of Michael Furey
  • Jack McPhillips Memorial Fund - in Memory of Michael Furey
  • Mary Turner
  • James Kilkenny
  • Helen Meyer
  • Gary Berenson

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 [email protected].

STRIVE 25- TONIGHT, March 1, 6-8pm
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 [email protected] 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!