PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

April 1st, 2020
COVID-19 Update: Due to federal guidelines, PSL Services/STRIVE Day Programs will remain closed until May 4th. Our Home Support, STRIVE U, and Mental Health Programs will continue to support clients and residents. We continue to facilitate virtual offerings in our ACTIVE, WAVES, Bayside, STRIVE U Community Support, STRIVE, and Home Support Programs. If you aren't currently involved in our virtual offerings, check in with your program's staff. 

Spring has sprung at STRIVE! 

We are so happy to welcome Spring and all that comes along with it! We know that times have been tough- so we are using this newsletter to look ahead at what we're most excited for in the coming months. From graduations, new apartments, new clients and staff, the start of outdoor activities and more, Spring is a time for new beginnings and we're so excited to welcome them. 

STRIVE programs continue to grow. STRIVE WorldWIDE  just celebrated it's one year anniversary in March. The program has grown from just a dream, to a fully functioning, online independent living skills program that has welcomed students from across the country and beyond (Canada!).  

Our second year STRIVE U students will be graduating and moving into their own apartments, and a new class of seven students will be starting in June. We're also thrilled about our new partnership with Southern Maine Community College that will begin at the end of the summer.  This new partnership allows STRIVE U students to take classes on the SMCC campus and also have access to all student spaces and activities!

Our TOPS program has had the largest class ever- with sixteen students, and the potential for over twenty students next year! A number of TOPS students will graduate later this Spring.

All of our programs are welcoming more and more participants. Our community supports program, Next STRIVE, STRIVE Night and Tweens, continue to grow on a weekly basis. It has been so nice watching our participants create new friendships. 

Our newest program, STRIVE Studios is set to open later this Spring! We can't wait to provide a creative outlet for our client, as well as create new partnerships with our community, local artists, and more! Are you, or someone you know, interested in teaching a class to our STRIVE participants? If so, contact Emily at

What are you looking forward to most this Spring? We can't wait for all that's to come!
STRIVE Rocks 2020

Due to ever-changing CDC guidelines during this unprecedented time, we have made the decision to postpone STRIVE Rocks 2020. We hope to schedule a new date for this fall. 

For those of you that have already started you fundraising- thanks! Everything that has been currently fundraised, can go toward our efforts this fall, unless your donors feel otherwise. All fundraising pages will be kept up and running until whenever our rescheduled date is.
We greatly appreciate everyone's involvement with STRIVE Rocks, and all that it means to our community, and we thank you for your understanding. If you have any questions or concerns don't hesitate to reach out. We will be sure to keep you up to date with any new event information!

 We can't wait to ROCK with you this fall!   

STRIVE WorldWIDE Turns One & the Whole World Goes Online!

April 1, 2020 marks the one year anniversary of STRIVE WorldWIDE's first course! In this last year, we've taught 8 courses to over 100 students across the United States and Canada. These numbers are rapidly increasing each week. Why? Well, beginning in mid-March, in an effort to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and practice social distancing, it seems like the whole world has gone online! And we've been happy to be able to help! In this short time, we've been able to get our STRIVE TOPS and STRIVE WorldWIDE programs up and running online using our STRIVE WorldWIDE curriculum, and we've been able to offer an online solution for high schools across the state of Maine. We were even able to offer up our seminar platform so that STRIVE Nights could continue virtually! STRIVE WorldWIDE Program Director, Dr. Anne Ryan, says, "It's been wonderful to be able to offer a solution to some of our STRIVE programs, as well as support our schools across the state. In a time of uncertainty, being able to provide a routine and some friendly faces makes a huge difference. It's been wonderful seeing the students engage in online learning--we've seen some students participate more than they might in a face-to-face environment. But even more important than the learning that is taking place, we've been able to offer the students time to connect with their peers. During this period of isolation, the importance of this social-emotional time cannot be overstated. In fact, we've made some modifications to our seminar schedule going forward to provide an optional 1.5 hour seminar that focuses on just that!"


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 207-879-0847.
In March, we had some really exciting interviews on the STRIVECast! We interviewed our friends Jason Lundy and Rose Parsons over at Bank of America, our new Ignation Volunteer David Hilleary, as well as our friend Erin Cannon from WEX! Erin joined us on our first ever Zoom recording of the show! We will be taping all of our upcoming shows via Zoom until we are able to be back in the studio again. This gives us a new opportunity for folks to see our host's faces, and WATCH the podcast unfold, rather than just listen! Our episode with Erin is up on our facebook page if you want to take a look-!

Do you have someone you'd like the hosts of The STRIVECast to interview? Let us know! Contact Pete, Whitney, or Olivia with your guest ideas! We can't believe it, but we are now on to Season 2 of The STRIVECast! Need to catch up on episodes? You can hear all of our episodes on our social media pages, our website, iTunes, Spotify, or wherever else you download your podcasts!

The STRIVECast is a podcast brought to you by the team at STRIVE in South Portland - 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, edited, and produced by people with disabilities! Like what you hear? Shoot us an email at !

We had so much fun during March's STRIVE 25. Our theme was everyone's favorite- the STRIVE 25 Talent Show! Our STRIVE 25 members are so talented and sang their hearts out. Everyone was a winner in our book! 

This month we're going to do a virtual STRIVE 25 on Thursday, April 2nd. Email Olivia at to get your link to join! We can't wait to be able to spend some time together and say hello!

STRIVE 25 is a social event for folks 25 and older, and happens here at STRIVE the first Thursday of each month. For more information on STRIVE 25, contact Caroline at


STRIVE U has been staying busy during these strange times! Most students are staying off campus and in the spirit of social distancing we've been holding class via zoom- and it's been going really well! We are checking in with all students daily and asking that they also check in with us in the form of a daily journal entry. We've loved hearing about what students are doing at home and seeing the pictures they've been sharing! Some students have made cookies and dinner while others have been cleaning and helping to stack wood! We know we will be together again soon, but appreciate all the students and families flexibility and patience!


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 Olivia Fraioli, STRIVE U Admissions Coordinator at  or call  (207) 774-6278.
After School
After School is so much fun! We try to incorporate fun as well as learning into what we do each day! One of the activities that we did last month blended both shopping, cooking and science. We planned out and shopped for the ingredients to make Glow-in-the Dark bouncy balls. Then we came back to the STRIVE Center and followed the directions to make our creations. We learned that too much moisture will make the balls gooey and runny, similar to how it would be if we were to add too much moisture to baking cookies. After we got the right texture, we went into the darkest room we could find in the building and turned on a black light to see our balls light up in the dark! Our balls did not bounce quite the way we had hoped they would, we discussed that not all science experiments turn out the way scientists hope either but they don't give up. It won't stop us from trying more experiments in the future!

After School is available Mondays through Fridays from 2-5:00 p.m.. Students may attend one to five days each week. School pick-ups are available within a 15-20 minute radius of STRIVE. Early release options are available with advance notice.
Please contact Betsy Morrison at 207-774-6278 or at  with questions or if you would like to schedule a visit.


It has been a busy month over at Bayside! With a holidays and snow days, we have had time to put our flexibility and adaptive skills to work. This month we spent our learning groups planning a movie night with a friend, and with that we were able to use our problem solving and executive functioning skills we have been working on for the past months. As a group, we were able to list all the factors that go into planning a successful movie trip such as prices, transportation, movie times, etc. After the details had been identified and we agreed on a movie, we moved into problem solving and seeing different perspectives of different situations one may find themselves in while planning or going to the cinema. After a fun month of planning, role playing, and sharpening independent skills; we look forward to moving on to practicing and implementing social skills next month!

This month we said see you later to Austin as he has completed his 2 year stay at Bayside. We had so much fun celebrating him and his success with his staff, peers, and family members. We look forward to seeing what is next for Austin and send a special Thank You for your hard work during your time here! While Austin is moving on to other things, we have a couple more participants who are in the admissions process for Strive U. Although it is bittersweet to see clients move on, the Bayside family has nothing but support for our peers as they strive to figure out the next stage in their life.

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

TOPS began March "business as usual", recognizing that our students were down to just 3 months before they graduated! Our PM students held a Battle of the Burgers competition; planning, budgeting, shopping, prepping, cooking and sharing their final product. Each student voted on their preferred burger and the "Cowboy Burger" won!

With school closures mid-month, TOPS transitioned into distance learning, offering online classes for all our students including two Live sessions every day. Our TOPS team linked up with STRIVE WorldWIDE to begin offering a Personal Safety course. TOPS had 10 students attend for the first full week and have since increased to have 12 of our 18 students actively participating in our Self-Advocacy and Boundaries course. For the second Live class, our students are working on social/emotional topics, allowing for discussions and much needed check-ins.

Interested in TOPS? 
TOPS (Transition Outcomes Program for Students) provides transition programming for high school students who are in their 13th and 14th school year from area school districts. This innovative program supports students to acquire additional independent living skills, provide opportunities to increase independence in the community, prepare students to transition to adult services, and offer experiences that promote social skills with students from other districts.
We are beginning to schedule visits for prospective students for the 2020-21 school year! For more information, please contact Betsy Morrison, 207-774-6278.


In Next STEP, we used this incredible time in our world history as a teachable opportunity. Although we always stress good personal hygiene in our program, we accentuated those concepts while we were still open. We conducted a thorough lesson in appropriate hand washing. It became very clear that 20 seconds of thorough hand washing seems like a long time but is so important to remember to do. We talked about different ways to count that time including singing Happy Birthday twice, singing "I will Survive" or using a timer. We also discussed distancing and measured with a tape measure what a distance of six feet looks and feels like. Additionally, we reviewed good practices such as staying home when we are sick, appropriate ways to sneeze or cough, and sanitizing the things we use at the program, at home or in the community. We will continue to use and build on those concepts going forward.

We currently have full and part-time openings in Next STEP! 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. 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.


Over the past few weeks, we've shifted STRIVE Night to be able to be done virtually! We've so far done 2 Virtual STRIVE Nights, which have both been big successes! During the first one, it was amazing to just be able to connect with our friends after several weeks of social distancing. Sharing smiles and laughs together made us realize how important social connection is - and how much it was really missed for our STRIVE Night participants. The following week, we had a big karaoke night, which was SO much fun! It felt like STRIVE Idol all over again, just from home. We will continue to offer virtual STRIVE Night's until we are able to open our doors again - to join us, contact Olivia to get the link to enter!


Friday Nights at    STRIVE , fondly refer red 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


During Tweens this month, we made glow in the dark bouncy balls! Not only was this a fun craft, but it seemed to double as a science experiment as as well! We can't wait to get back together and celebrate the start of Spring. We'll have our annual Spring Fling, make butterfly cupcakes, and hopefully be able to get to spend some time outside with a chalk drawing art show or lawn games (or both!). 

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, or Whitney at

Wednesday Night Educational Series

In March, we were able to complete two classes in our Money Management series! During our first week, we talked about money basics which included practice with counting and adding bills and change, discussions around wants vs. needs, and playing the 'bean game'. During the bean game, students were given 20 beans (income) and needed to decide how to spend their beans on circumstances (housing, food, transportation), values (personal care, recreation, communication), and goals (savings, etc.). Each item was worth a certain mount of beans. We then talked about why we spent our beans on the things we decided to. This was a great, tangible, way to discuss budgeting...and was pretty fun too! 

During our second class, Peter from Norway Savings Bank taught us about different ways to save money and interactions that we might encounter when going to the bank. Peter was so knowledgeable and a great teacher. Thank you for coming in!

When our Wednesday Night Classes are running again, we'd love to finish up our series on Money Management. A member of the STRIVE Team will reach out to all of our enrolled Money Management students when there are updates! 

The Wednesday Night Educational Series is held every Wednesday at STRIVE for participants 15-24 years old. Series are between 4 and 8 weeks and topics vary from month to month! For more information about the program or to sign up, contact Whitney at

Active & Waves

Participants are adjusting to being home during this time. They have enjoyed checking in with each other via Zoom this week, and having virtual meetings. They all want to say that they wish that everyone is well and they hope that everyone is doing what they need to do to stay healthy. Some Zoom highlights this week were, the virtual dance class, Qi Gong hand exercises, singing happy birthday to a fellow peer, and of course, getting to see friends on the computer!
Looking ahead, participants are looking forward to when we are all back together again. Some things they are looking forward to are, seeing each other, laughing together, fist bumps, playing soccer, walking, going to the pool and volunteering.
This weekend, participants will do art work and make cards for the doctors and nurses that are working hard to take care of everyone that is sick and helping everyone to be healthy again.


For more information on PSL Services' Community Support Day Programs, Active & Waves, please contact Emily at
Happy Birthday to the following STRIVE Members!


To all who are celebrating birthdays in April- 
we hope you have a great day!

Haley Bell
Jessi Berard
Andrew Bryant
Bridget Parker
Joshua Shaughnessy
Evan Riker
Catlyn Almodovar
Bridget Lally
Cole Simsarian
Megan Pelletier
Daniel Berenson
Bill Munny Vann
Trevor Morin
Rosalie Jones
Hannah Taylor

Thank You to Our March Donors!


Katie Spotz
Kristin Rowe
Tracy Welsch
Michael Ralston

Thank you for your generous support of STRIVE! With your support, we are able to continue our work each and every day.
STRIVE Member Spotlight 

We want to spotlight ALL OF YOU! Thank you for bearing with us during these unprecedented  times. These are uncharted waters, and we are so grateful for your support. 

Keep checking in with each other- by phone or virtual calls, emails, letters, and more. Keep smiling, laughing, joking, playing games, exercising, whatever you are doing to get you through these strange days. We can't wait to be all be together again!

STRIVE Staff Spotlight 

This month, we wanted to change our Volunteer Spotlight to 
"Staff  Spotlight" so we could say THANK YOU to our dedicated staff that continue to work in PSL Services/STRIVE programs every day. 

While our physical day program locations are currently closed, programs like STRIVE U, Home Supports and PSL Services' Mental Health programs are still up and running. These programs don't have the ability to fully close like some of our other programs. The staff that are continuing to work with our clients on a daily basis are rock stars, putting our clients' needs and well-being before their own. 

Also, a huge thank you to our staff who are working with our clients through virtual platforms. Currently, our we are teaching our TOPS students, running activities with our community supports participants, and holding virtual STRIVE 25 and STRIVE Nights, all remotely. We are hoping to move more activities online in the near future! Being able to keep our clients connected, as well as provide some normalcy during this time, is so important. 

To our staff- we are so grateful for you today and every day. Thank you! 


Below are some resources that may be helpful during these times.

Prepared Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services: 

Food Delivery Apps/Websites: 

Grocery/Home Needs Services:
Walmart- pickup and some delivery may be available (based on location) 
Targetpickup and some delivery may be available (based on location) 
Shaw'spickup and some delivery may be available (based on location) 
Rosemont Marketspickup and delivery may be available (based on location) 
Instacart- multiple store listed for delivery options (based on location) 

Pharmacy Services:
CVS- drive-thru and delivery options 
Walgreens- drive-thru
Hannaford Pharmacy - drive-thru

Laundry Services: 
Portland Dry Cleaners - drop off or delivery 

Online Fitness:
YogaWorks - free online yoga classes
Tula Studios- free online yoga, HIIT, and barre classes
Lisa East End Yoga- free online yoga classes
Portland Yoga Studio- free flows and yoga instructional videos
Hustle and Flow- free dance classes
Orange Theory- free 30 minute classes
Planet Fitness- free 20 minute workouts 

Misc. Resources: 

We know this is just a short list of all of the resources available. If you know of more, please send them to  so we can share them  with our PSL Services/STRIVE community! Thanks! 
Some friendly reminders...

...and please, stay home.

General Announcements

Keep your eye out for re-scheduled STRIVE events!

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!