STRIVE News & Updates
May 1st, 2021
Did you know that our top STRIVE Rocks fundraisers can win some amazing prizes and also have their name engraved on the coveted STRIVE Rocks trophy? Check out the prize options for our Top 10 Fundraisers. Also, become a STRIVE Rocks MVP or VIP by raising $500 or $1,000 and receive more STRIVE Rocks swag!
Need some help with your fundraising efforts? Take a look at some fundraising tips that we think are helpful. Remember, it's important to thank everyone who donates to your STRIVE Rocks page!
Be sure to check out and our social media pages
for event information and updates!

Questions about the big night? Contact STRIVE Program Director, Whitney, at
Are you, or is someone you know in the market for a new job? We're hiring! We have full time, part time, and per diem opportunities available, and during the month of May, we're offering a $500 sign on bonus 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 or at 207-879-0847 x207.
COVID-19 VACCINE CLINIC -- Sturday, May 15th!
Good news! We have set a date with DHHS and Northern Light Health Care to host a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at our office. The clinic will be held on Saturday, May 15th, from 8:30am-12:30pm at 28 Foden Road. Shots will be given inside, but can be given to people in their car if there is a need for that.

As of now, based on availability, we will have both the Johnson and Johnson Vaccine and the Pfizer Vaccine. This means people age 16 and up will be able to get the vaccine that day. If people get a vaccine that needs a 2nd dose, that will be also given at a 2nd clinic at Foden Rd.

This clinic is open to everyone -- You will need to sign up for a slot, but there should be plenty of availability.  More details and Sign up information will be available early next week- but please help us spread the word! Feel free to share this information to anyone who may be interested!
Here's what's happening in our programs!
Spring is such an exciting time at STRIVE U – we accept new students, start signing leases with graduating students and begin the move out process. This Spring it is especially exciting because we’re really starting to go back to a more ‘normal’ Strive U experience. Students have begun the process of finding employment and starting jobs. So far we have someone working at Dimillos, Home Depot and Avita of Stroudwater with lots of other students actively looking for employment.
We’re able to do some more things in the community like go for long walks, visit family, go into the bank and grab ice cream!
In addition to more movement in the community our graduating students have begun touring potential apartments and solidifying plans for what their post- grad life will look like. Next students will begin signing leases and moving out!
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 virtual tour, or get an application, please contact Olivia Fraioli, STRIVE U Admissions Coordinator at or call (207) 774-6278.
Last month, Dr. Anne Ryan and Sara Brown of STRIVE WorldWIDE were asked the be the key presenters at Presbyterian College's 7th Annual Charles Chadwell Special Education Institute! Below is what Presbyterian College had to say about it.

"Education Department Hosts Seventh Annual Charles Chadwell Special Education Institute
On Saturday April 17th, 2021, the Education Department hosted the 7th Annual Charles Chadwell Special Education Institute, which was attended by 50 teachers, principals, special education administrators, education professors, preservice educators, school psychologists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and other professionals who work with individuals with disabilities. The event is normally held in person, but this year, it was held virtually, which enabled people from around the state to attend, including students and faculty from the Citadel, MUSC, USC, Winthrop, Bob Jones, Furman, and Lander. Rachel Ranly, a special education teacher at Newberry High School commented that the event was “by far the
best virtual PD I have attended yet.”
The workshop presenters provided a variety of activities designed to enhance students’ executive functioning. Rochelle Reid-Bispham, a special education teacher at Laurens High School, shared that, “There was so much variety which promoted my 110% engagement during the whole time. This was creative, motivating and fun!” Alexis Jirowetz, a senior Human Development and Family studies major from Winthrop University remarked that she looks forward to implementing the activities with with young children in play- and art-based classrooms because “each of the games and activities showed me how fun and different games can be but the underlying factor is that they are learning and using their brains to really think deeply.”
The workshop presenters, Dr. Anne Ryan and Sara Brown work for a nonprofit organization, STRIVE, in Portland, Maine, which is an organization with 30 years of experience in program design and curriculum for individuals with developmental disabilities. One of the programs they offer is a 2-year residential college program where students live in apartments and work on independent living skills while attending classes at a local university. Dr. Ryan was the campus president of Purdue University Global, where STRIVE U students were attending at the time. She is now the program director of STRIVE WorldWIDE, a first of its kind online program that teaches independent living skills to individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism. Her co-presenter, Sara Brown, instructs students in a transitional high school program.
The Charles Chadwell Endowment for Special Education was established in 1984 as a gift from Francis E. Cothran and his wife Jean Syminton Cothran, whose son Billy Cothran was a resident of Whitten Center in Clinton, SC, when Dr. Charles Chadwell was superintendent. Dr. Chadwell worked for 30 years to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities in South Carolina. The endowment was established in his name to provide workshops, seminars, and lectures to promote an understanding of the lives of people with disabilities and their families. The annual institute at PC fulfills this purpose as people from around the state come together to learn about how to better serve students with disabilities.
At this year’s institute, Dr. Chadwell’s daughter, Ann-Chadwell Humphries, author of almost 230 poems and essays, read a poem, “An Eclipse and A Butcher” from her new book of poetry of the same name. As an adult, Ann gradually lost her sight from a genetic disorder and she now composes her work using assistive technology. While reciting her poem, she was accompanied on guitar by Arden Wing, a graduate of the residential STRIVE U program. Wing taught herself to play the guitar.
 Dr. Julia Wilkins, organizer of the annual Charles Chadwell Special Education Institute, describes Saturday’s event as a huge success. She also commented that having such a good turnout for a Zoom event on a Saturday morning is a testament to the commitment of education professionals in South Carolina and their dedication to improving the lives of students with disabilities. Many of the attendees were regular participants at the annual institute. Several former PC education majors who are now teachers in Laurens District 56 attended the event and reported that they always look forward to the opportunity to learn new strategies and interactive activities that they can implement in their classrooms."
STRIVE WorldWIDE is STRIVE's online program that teaching independent living skills. For more information about STRIVE WorldWIDE, contact Dr. Anne Ryan at or at
Witnessing our students’ growth in maturity, confidence, and self-advocacy since they began in the program in September is certainly the highlight in the TOPS program at this time in the school year. The level of independence for each student is measurable to both them and those around them.
As several of the students prepare to graduate from TOPS in June, all students are writing speeches about their time in TOPS and are practicing public speaking. The TOPS graduation is scheduled for Wednesday, June 2nd at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom. Please contact Betsy Morrison for more information or if you are interested in attending.  
Interested in TOPS? TOPS (Transition Outcomes Program for Students) provides transition programming for high school students from area school districts who are typically in their 13th & 14th school year. For more information, please contact Betsy Morrison, or by phone at 207-879-0847.
STRIVE Bayside
Spring is officially here! Even though we had that one typical Maine surprise snow day, we are ready for the warm sun and new beginnings. Bayside has been very busy in the mornings and in the afternoons. In the mornings we have been using store fliers to continue to learn how to menu plan and budget. We have been planning out a daily and weekly menu, then put our math skills to work to figure out how much things will cost by giving them a dollar amount to budget from. For our virtual navigation, the Bayside group have been visiting areas in their community that they would normally go to if they were out. They have come up with at least 43 places that they may need to go to like the hospital, pet store campgrounds, town hall, and many more. We are using Google Map to find these places near them.

In the afternoons, the participants from Bayside join us on Zoom for more fun. Just a few things that are offered during the afternoon hours are Fun Facts about History, virtual Science projects, and virtual travel to other countries to learn about other cultures. Participants also have a story writing hour by using their own imaginations. We have also been trying out yoga, Art, and have even had a fun time learning how to say some words in French! We here at Bayside are finding fun and new ways to learn each week. We'd would like to thank all those that keep this program running and keeping it interesting!
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
Although Next STEP is currently on a hiatus due to the impact of COVID-19, please contact Betsy Morrison with questions or for more information about the program. Betsy can be reached at or 207-879-0847. 
We are very excited to welcome spring here at Foden Road. With the warmer weather we’ve been able to go on more walks, play basketball and outdoor games- we look forward to starting some gardening soon too! Participants have also enjoyed doing volunteer work remotely for some of our community partners by making pillow heart decorations for the Dempsey Center and cards for the residents at the Ronald McDonald House. Groups are also helping to plan for the 2020/2021 yearbook. Participants are looking forward to STRIVE Rocks 2021 and have worked hard helping to promote the event by making awesome posters!

In other news, participants have been reflecting on the past year and how we have been able to stay connected for one whole year thanks to Zoom! Participants have taken the Spring cleaning opportunity to review and refresh their Zoom guidelines. This month, we also explored our partnership with the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) by participating in an art class and a guided virtual tour on the museum up in Rockland, Maine! At home, folks are starting to plan their annual gardens, going for lots of walks in their respective communities, helping out with yardwork, and, of course, Spring cleaning! Participants’ favorite Zoom groups of this month include navigation, national parks, and world cultures. Here’s a sneak peak to what they’ve been exploring (and where they’ve been going – virtually, of course!)    “
For more information on PSL Services/STRIVE's Community Support Day Programs, Active & Waves, please contact Emily at
Wednesday Night Educational Series
We just wrapped up a great class about Independent Living! We focused on some topics we don't always spend a lot of time on when we usually talk about this subject. Some topics included, safety while in our apartments (emergency contacts and more) and internet safety (we talked about scams and other important online safety topics).

In May, we will spend some time learning about Healthy Relationships. We will discuss different types of relationships, the human body, dating and more. Our friends from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England will also help facilitate class! Just a reminder, we will be covering some delicate topics, so please be prepared if you would like to attend this series.
The Wednesday Night Educational Series is held every Wednesday at STRIVE (but are currently virtual) 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. Contact Olivia at for your link to join class.
We are so excited to be offering Camp STRIVE in-person for Summer 2021! Due to the ongoing pandemic, though, Camp will look fairly different this year. Since we have several other PSL Services/STRIVE programs that share our space, and due to the CDC limits on how many people can be in our building, Camp will be held outside under a large tent this summer. We will be center-based for both the morning and afternoon sessions, so we will not be taking trips into the community as we normally would. The tent has removable walls - so we can zip them on during inclement weather, and take them off on hotter and sunnier days. We will have outdoor restrooms (including an accessible option) provided for our campers and staff. Both campers and staff will need to be wearing masks for the full day, other than when eating lunch, and during designated "mask breaks" which we will implement throughout the day. 
We will be following all CDC and DHHS guidelines to ensure the safest experience possible, and will certainly adapt Camp's structure and programming as the summer progresses as those guidelines change throughout the summer.

We're asking that all campers register and make their deposit by Friday, May 14th.
Camp STRIVE runs during all school vacations as well as for the full summer. Camp STRIVE offers half and full day offerings and is for campers between the ages of 11-24. For more information about Camp STRIVE contact Olivia at
After School
Although STRIVE's After School program is currently on a hiatus due to the impact of COVID-19, please contact Betsy Morrison with questions or for more information about the program. Betsy can be reached at or 207-879-0847. 
We had such a fun month of Tweens during April, and welcomed several new Tweens to our Friday group! We're excited to start adding some more structured activities to our Fridays -- check out our schedule below and join in the fun!
To get the link to join, contact Olivia at!
Tweens is a safe and fun environment to build new friendships and learn new skills for folks 11-14 years old. Structured in our Teen Center, 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 Olivia at
April was such a fun month for STRIVE Night's! We were able to welcome two new members to the group, who have now joined us consistently each Friday. We're so glad to be able to connect with even more people via this virtual format. Know someone who could use a fun social outlet on their Friday evenings? Contact Olivia at the email below to receive the link to join STRIVE Night!
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 every Friday from  6-9pm, with at least one special "theme" night happening each month.  For more information, contact Olivia at
We were lucky enough to meet 3 times for STRIVE 25 during the month of April, which allowed for 3 times the laughs and fun! We continue to welcome new members each time we meet. We have made so many new friends while we've been virtual, from Maine and away! We hope you'll join us this month for all of the STRIVE 25 excitement!
STRIVE 25 is a social event for folks 25 and older, and typically happens here at STRIVE the first Thursday of each month (currently running bi-weekly online during COVID-19). For more information on STRIVE 25, Olivia at
April was a great month for the team at the STRIVECast! We interviewed some awesome guests, like Kelly and Kurt Stokes from Dirigo Treasures Maine, Daniel Westhoven from Greely High School, Dave Aceto from Arcadia National Bar, and more! In May we're looking forward to interviewing our friend Jeff Shaw from Maine Academy of Modern Music, and more!

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!
Thank you to our April Donors!
Barbara Washburn- In Memory of Russell Leo
Peggy and Rocco Leo- In Memory of Russell Leo
Monica Fischbach
Friend of STRIVE
Cynthia and Lawrence Vaughan
Barry Dunlap- In honor of Caleb Dunlap
Patricia Kurowski
Joel Spadinger
Jessica Blanchard
Glenn and Doris Meehan
Erin O'Rourke
Shaheen & Gordon, PA

And a big thank you to the hundreds of donors that have supported STRIVE Rocks! We are so grateful for all of 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 May!
Taneka Burwell
 Alexandra Agostino 
Jack Rosenblum
Zachary Sprague
Ryan Dufour
Jaydon Leighton
Melissa Goodman 
Blake Waterhouse
James Raymond
Mary Burke
Caitlyn Welsch
Nick Watkins
Aphrodite Makrides
Alli Brooking
Member Spotlight
Meet Nathan! Nathan has been coming to STRIVE for several years now, and attends both our weekly Friday Night socials and our Wednesday Night Educational Series! Nathan says his favorite part about coming to STRIVE is "Friday night Strive and seeing all my friends, and I enjoy the Wednesday night classes, I learn a lot from them." We are honored to support Nathan and are lucky to have him in the STRIVE family!
Staff Spotlight
Meet Ashley! Ashley has been working for STRIVE since summer of 2019, where she started her first role with us working in Camp STRIVE. Over the past few years, Ashley has remained on board with us, working in various roles in different STRIVE programs! Ashley currently helps run our weekly STRIVE Night's, teaches our Wednesday Night Educational Series, and helps in our Tweens program as well! We're so excited that Ashley will be back on board with us for Summer Camp 2021. Thank you for all you do, Ashley - we're so lucky to have you here at STRIVE!
*Photo taken prior to COVID-19*
General Announcements
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 ( or Whitney ( for more information about the group and your link to join!
Don't forget, STRIVE has a new 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!