PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

April 1, 2017
 STRIVE Rocks 2017 Raises over $87,000!

We cannot believe that STRIVE Rocks Weekend 2017 has already come and gone! We had an amazing time bouncing on inflatables, petting baby goats, hanging out with Disney Princesses, and dancing the night away all while raising money for STRIVE. We would like to extend our most sincere gratitude to all of our donors; whether it was time, money, goods, services, talents or food donated, we could not have done this without your incredibly generous support.


This year, our grand total was $86,326 at the time of our grand reveal Sunday morning, setting a new fundraising record. The support continued well into the following week, and we have reached nearly $88,000!

Some of the highlights from this years event included Casino hour, where we had everything from Texas Hold 'Em to Roulette set up for all of our participants to enjoy, as well as Beach Party hour, where a few of our participants had a contest to see who could wear the most inflatable tubes at once. We had an incredible time, and we have already met once with our committee about STRIVE Rocks 2018- stay tuned for updates! Thank you again to all who contributed in making this event so successful.
    STRIVE U Alumni Gets the Gold

Lucas Houk, an alumni of our STRIVE U program, has just returned home from Austria after winning a gold medal in the cross-country skiing event in the Special Olympics. Lucas is a dedicated STRIVE Member, and showed his dedication by coming out to STRIVE Rocks All Night the night before he flew out to Austria. We are so lucky to have his support.
About his big trip, Lucas said "I had a good time in Austria, and I enjoyed watching the other cross-country skiers." Way to go, Lucas!
Practicing Independence Through Next Step

Next STEP participants have been learning what it takes to become more independent.  In learning to be more independent, the Next STEPpers are budgeting and shopping as independently as possible. When they are at the grocery store,  they go off on their own or in pairs (with staff following at a distance when necessary) and get the groceries that they need. They then check-out independently as well and then go to a meeting place they had predetermined and meet the staff there.  They have been doing this for a few weeks and they are doing great!! Each participant is working on his/her own independent skills.  Next Step's budget has also neared the "next step" -  participants have been saving their program money each week in order to do a fun activity. The Friday before STRIVE Rocks,  Next STEP took advantage of the start of an exciting weekend  by using the money that they had saved and went bowling at Vacationland in Saco and went to Starbucks and got drinks of their choosing. They had a blast!! It was definitely a great way to start off the fun filled weekend as well as a great way to celebrate our money saving skills!

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.  Contact Betsy
Morrison at or 207-774-6278 if you would like more information.
Moving Through STRIVE U
We are in the midst of a very busy transition season! The second year students have started the process of looking for affordable, high quality apartments as they are preparing to graduate from STRIVE U. They have finished up submitting waitlist applications with AVESTA housing, which manages many safe and well-maintained properties in the Portland area. AVESTA, however, is not the only option -  what's great about the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher that our students receive after graduation is that they have many options from which to choose in the community of their choice. In the next two months these students will be signing leases, paying deposits and moving into their own apartment - such an important step toward independence! The goal is for STRIVE U 
students to move into their new apartments four or so weeks before graduation in June. This allows for our STRIVE U residential and community staff to support the students in their new apartments and to transfer the skills that they have acquired while at STRIVE U in their new home. There might be a new bus route for them to learn, a different stove to operate then what they are accustomed to, a new bank or grocery store to use. Staff will support each student to become confident and familiar with all of these exciting changes so that by the time they graduate they will have successfully and smoothly transitioned.

For more information about STRIVE U or to schedule a tour, please contact Bill Hughes, STRIVE U Admissions Coordinator, at 207-774-6278 or


TOPS Students Preparing for Graduation

The TOPS students started the first draft of their graduation speech this month!  With only two months until graduation, students are feeling the pressure to confirm their post-graduate plans, choosing between different programs like STRIVE U, Bayside, PSL Active and Next Step.  Students are also considering employment options, volunteer opportunities and new ways to be in involved in the community. 
Over the past month, students have been reinforcing important topics, such as street sign identification, problem solving skills in relation to
conflict resolution, and social skills.  The groups have also worked on increasing their independence in the grocery store, navigating and purchasing items without staff assistance. 
If you would like to see what TOPS is up to every week and read a little more about TOPS, please email Kelly Frey to be added to the Weekly TOPS Newsletter,
STRIVE TOPS serves students from school districts in the Greater Portland Area who are in their 13 th or 14 th year of school. If you have questions or would like more information about TOPS, please contact Betsy Morrison at 207-774-6278 or

Big Goals at Bayside

Over the last month at  Bayside, participants have been working on setting personal goals. While they do work on SO many group activities at Bayside, it is always nice to have time to work on individual goals. Participants discussed what a goal could be, how attainable that goal is and the timeframe needed. Goals ranged from "try out for the golf team" to "practice counting change more". Staff have encouraged each participant to work on these goals as independently as possible, STRIVE is so happy with how hard everyone has been working!
Bayside are also excited to announce an open house at STRIVE Bayside on Thursday, April 13! They will have two time sessions, 9am-11am AND 4pm-6pm. This is open to ANYONE (parent, teacher, case manager, participant) who wants a chance to see the Bayside apartment and check out the great program. At Bayside we work on goals to increase independent living skills, by meeting participants where they are at and remembering that independence is different for every person.
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. Programming runs five days a week, Monday through Friday and have two daily sessions, 9:00-1:00 and 1:00- 5:00. There are full time (Monday- Friday) and part time (Tuesday, Thursday -or- Monday, Wednesday, Friday) options. Bayside operates 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 of Bayside please contact: Caroline Cole at 774-6278 or .
Wednesday Night Educational Series

Wednesday Night classes have been delving into some important and relevant topics! They recently finished up our Independent Living Series, which was one of the longest sessions we've done! Participants learned their options for guardianship, self-defense, how to take care of an apartment and more.
Coming up is a Computer and Internet Skills series. This class aims to teach  internet safety and culture, basic Google programs (including Google calendar), and Microsoft programs in the context of school and work. The class will culminate in a class project where the students will pick a topic of their choosing and demonstrate one of the programs they learned to use. Cost of the class is $20. For more information, contact Michaila at
Tweens Corner 
11-14 year olds have been having a great time at the STRIVE center every Friday from 3-5pm in Tweens, with tons of friendship building happening as the weeks go on and familiar faces continue to return. We've done everything from learning to play new instruments to doing science experiments, with the help of our many volunteers who enable such a diversified range of programming.  Tweens also, of course, make use of all of the fun games in the STRIVE center, like pool, ping-pong and air hockey!

Tweens have also started their very own tradition in Tweens- dancing every week to "Uptown Funk" by Bruno Mars! It started with one participant wanting to hear the song each week, and it grew to become a weekly group dance party! STRIVE has been referring to it as the Tweens Anthem.
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 Michaila McCloskey at  

STRIVE Nights have been such a blast, including some pretty memorable theme nights! From St. Patrick's Day to Hollywood night, young adults ages 15-24 of all ability levels been dancing up a storm and enjoying Friday Nights together.
For STRIVE Nights, April brings annual Advisory Board elections! An amazing board of STRIVE members are elected every year and meet to plan theme nights and to discuss how STRIVE can continue to improve STRIVE Nights for everyone. STRIVE will announce the results of the election soon!

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! Sliding scales also available. For more information,                                                                                    contact Olivia at
                                                                             or 207-774-6278.

After School

Students have been busy here in After School, learning to cook tons of different types of meals, and making craft projects! Our After School staff Hope and our participants also made a ton of these incredible signs as a project together! We have been able to see progress in a variety of different skills in our After School students, and we love seeing them here every afternoon!
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. After School runs Monday through Friday from 2pm-5pm during each student's respective school district schedule.
For more information on our After School program, please contact Kelly Frey at or call 207-774-6278.

Camp STRIVE   
Need a place for a student in your family to go when school is out?
We are offering Camp STRIVE for April Break- April 17th-21st! Our summer camp session will be beginning June 26th.
Camp STRIVE provides tween, teens and young adults, ages 11-24, with a supportive, safe, and active program during school vacations and throughout the summer. During each camp session, campers participate in activities including cooking, community trips, arts and crafts, physical fitness and of course social time! Campers are supported at all times by professional staff who have completed PSL's full training and are certified Direct Support Professionals .
For more information about Camp STRIVE, please contact Kelly Frey at or 207-774-6278. 
Member Spotlight
Meet Noel- a graduate of the first ever class of STRIVE U. Noel is not only one of the happiest and wisest people we know, he also has more STRIVE Pride than just about anyone we can think of! He raised over $2000 for STRIVE Rocks 2017, and was one of our top fundraisers. Noel also volunteers every Friday at STRIVE Night, and is an enormous help  each week. We posted this photo and a blurb about Noel on our Facebook on March 21st, World Down Syndrome Day, and our post gathered over 200 likes, over 20 comments and tons of shares! Noel is an incredibly loved and popular guy, and we are so lucky to know him!



Bayside Open House


Staff Spotlight
Meet Hope! Hope has been working with STRIVE since September of 2016, and works in a few of our STRIVE Programs.  You can find her in our PSL Day Program, our After School Program, and beginning this month she will be working in Next Step! She also helps out during STRIVE Nights when she can.
Hope is an incredibly hard worker, and she is always willing to pitch in wherever someone is needed! We appreciate Hope's flexibility, and she is an incredible staff to all STRIVE participants. In addition to all of this,  Hope also fundraised for and participated in STRIVE Rocks 2017, and stayed the entire weekend! Thank you for all you do!

Happy Birthday to the following STRIVE Members!

Alex Doten
Catlyn Almodovar
Philip Austin
Tyler Bals
Hayley Bell
Jessie Berard
Daniel Berenson
Adam Boudreau
Thomas Bourdeaux
McKensy   Brown
Kevin Brown
Andrew Bryant
Bridget Lally
Bradley LaPointe
Stephanie Merrill
Bridget Parker
Josh Parks
Megan Pelletier
Nate Provencher
Gus Recknagel
Evan Riker
Joshua Shaughnessy
Munny Bill Vann
Calvin (Cal) Mahoney
Bradley Parker
Thank You to Our Donors

Anne Ryan
Bill Goody Koontz in honor of Glenn Johnson
Texas Instruments Foundation
Michelle Allard
Robert Bastey
Debbie Bolen-Morin
David Bradford
David Camara III
Charles Card
Mark Carey
Richard Demers
Doborah Edes
Shawn Findlay
Elaine Gervais
Danny Griffin
Mark Guptill
Ken Hamilton
Karen Holcomb
Richard Hoyt
William Keith
Ed Kennerly
Eric Kirmes
Rene Lafond
Alex Lorello
Kent MacDonald
Jeffrey Manchester
Jolene McNally
Charles Moss
Joseph Munchmore
  Kyle Nealey
Sean Neelon
Phillip Norton III
Scott Olsen
Joshua Pelletier
Steve and Peggy Prato
Michael Rich
Kenneth Shaw
Michael Simpson
Mark Sivik
Stephanie Smith
Daniel Tanguay
Michelle Tyne
Scott Waldron
Lauren Wallace
Daniel Walsh
Chuck Whitlock
George Whynot III
Michael Simpson
General Announcements

Bayside Open House- Thursday, April 13th
Foden Road 5K Race- Saturday, September 9th
STRIVE Auction- Wednesday, November 8th 

We have a limited number of bibs available for the Beach To Beacon Road Race! To register, please visit For more information, please contact Olivia at

Our TOPS program is enrolled in the CLYNK Maine Recycles Championship! Help us win the $500 prize! If you have bottles and cans that you are willing to donate, please pick up a CLYNK bag at the front desk with Chadd or give us a call at 207-774-6278. F or those of you who use CLYNK at home, you can donate a portion of your balance to our account. Just go to  and login to your account, click "Donate" and search "PSL".  The challenge ends April 24th- thank you for your help!

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!