PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

August 1st, 2020
COVID-19 Update
As the summer continues, we continue to increase our programming with both online and some in-person, on-ground programming.  The STRIVE team has worked very hard to provide high quality programming both virtually and in-person, while placing our major emphasis on keeping everyone safe.  We are working with each individual program and following guidance from the Maine CDC, OADS, and the State of Maine to make sure that we can go above and beyond the minimum requirements to keep people safe.  If you have questions about your programming options, please contact your Program Manager. 

This is certainly been a challenge, and if you have thoughts or suggestions for either programming ideas, or safety recommendations, please feel free to reach out to Pete Brown at .  Please note that things change quickly during this time and we are working hard to be able to accommodate and plan for these changes. Thank you for your continued support of STRIVE and our mission!

STRIVE Rocks 2020-The Virtual Edition! 

A HUGE thank you to our STRIVE community for making STRIVE Rocks 2020-The Virtual Edition- such a successful event. With your help, and donations still coming in, we raised over  $88,000 for STRIVE!  Every single dollar raised goes directly back into our STRIVE programs, which support over 1,000 young adults with intellectual disabilities.

During the event, we stayed up ALL NIGHT LONG during an evening jam-packed with activities. We had celebrity guest visits from people like Dr. Nirav Shah of the Maine CDC and Katie Sampson of WGME, recorded greetings from local public figures and politicians, music from our favorite bands who recorded sets just for us, fun and games, and of course, DANCING!

While we wished we could have spent the night all together at the Cross Insurance Arena like we always do, we were amazed at how communal this event was able to feel - it really was like we were all there together, all night long. We had over 150 people registered, from current and former STRIVE participants to program volunteers, staff, sponsors and friends all joining together to support our agency. It was incredible to see so many individuals from our community come together to celebrate STRIVE.

Whether you donated funds, stayed up all night, helped spread the word, lent time and talents, and more, we are so grateful for all of YOU!  THANK YOU!

 We can't wait to see you at STRIVE Rocks 2021!

A special thank you to this year's STRIVE Rocks sponsors! Without them, we wouldn't have had such a successful event. Thank you!

We will be holding a second drive-thru STRIVE swag pick up
Wednesday, August 19th from 6-8pm. The following items will be available for pick up: 

-Prizes for our top fundraisers
-Prizes won throughout the night (for theme hours, etc.) 
-VIP and MVP swag (for those that raised over $500) 
-Finishers medals for all that stayed up all night
-STRIVE Rocks t-shirts for those that were not able to pick up before the event

Do you have questions about anything STRIVE Rocks? Contact Whitney at!


Although we are enjoying the summer months and don't want them to rush by, we are also starting to think about next year (gulp)! We have released the STRIVE WorldWIDE schedule for online courses for 2021 (and there's still time to register for our 2020 courses). Let us know what you think!

Given the uncertain times and the need for social distancing, we are really excited about the first course of the year, Social Connections Using Technology. Stay tuned for a free introductory seminar leading into this course in the coming months!

Click here   to view our course catalog. For questions about registration, email Dr. Anne Ryan .

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.
The STRIVECast had an AWESOME month of July! We interviewed some really awesome people, like our friend Hayley from Hot Radio Maine, AND our very own Pete and Noel to talk about sixteen years of STRIVE Rocks events. Ryan, our Sound and Video Engineer, has been doing a great job of putting together the shows so you can watch them, as well as listen! Visual episodes are available over on our facebook and youtube pages. Check them out!

Do you have guest suggestions, ideas for fun games we could play, or want to particip ate in the Ask Noel segment? Shoot us an email at! We'd love to hear from you. The Ask Noel hotline is still up and running, too - you can leave Noel a voicemail asking him your life advice question at 207-774-6278, ext. 352!

Thanks, as always, for listening!

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 !

STRIVE 25 has continued to have so much fun during our bi-weekly virtual meetings! We all are loving spending the first full hour checking in with our friends and peers, hearing what we've all been up to while staying safe at home. And of course, karaoke and bingo is still on the agenda! We are so glad we can continue to have this time together every other week to keep our social connections strong. If you'd like to join in a STRIVE 25, email Olivia at for your link to join! 

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, contact Caroline (for the in-person event) at or Olivia (for the virtual event) at


STRIVE U has had a busy and fun July! We have been working hard on goals both in person and virtually.

We are proud of throwing a socially distanced fourth of July party with food, water balloon fights, dancing and more! We're continuing to learn about our "new normal" and how to be independent and safe. We've added art and exercise groups to our schedule (art group is a hit!). We're looking forward to our "Pandemic Orientation" which will begin in one week and will be an opportunity to check out some places in the community where we can visit and be safely socially distanced from others. As students go through the orientation they'll discover some new activities they can do alone or with friends. Things sure are different around here, but everyone has done a fantastic job of making the best of it!

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.

Bayside has made it through its second month at the Central Office while continuing our Zoom chats daily for those that are not able to be with us in person. Our daily programs are going very well, and although our participants are looking forward to getting back to Cumberland Ave, they are doing great in adapting to all the new changes. We are keeping up on our goals and have been working with different types of maps and learning street safety by virtual tours of the city and doing worksheets for our navigation group. 

For our cooking goals, we work on deciding which are the best foods to eat using the GO SLOW or WHOA worksheets, to help improve health. We have been having a great time playing Kahoot, a game where we have to guess the correct answer on iPads. This game flows right into what we are teaching with the GO SLOW - WHOA model. Math days are very busy for the Bayside participants. They have been working on worksheets that deal with money using real coins some of the worksheets have been focusing on how to make up different denominations. We also have been coming up with some really great topics for our Topic of Interest goals focusing on good news in the world. Participants write a short story about it and then share it with their peers. Adventure day on Fridays are fun as we connect with our peers on Zoom to play Online Jeopardy putting the Bayside Zoom against Bayside Central. We also like the competition in identifying songs and the artist who sings it (It amazes me how many we all know!).

Congratulations are due for Graeme, as he graduated on June 26th to Strive U.   We saw a lot of growth by Graeme while at Bayside. He learned a lot, and added much to the program and his peers. While we will miss him here, we are equally proud and confident in the road he will now travel.

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 our ESY program in July, offering virtual programming 4-days per week. TOPS is currently collaborating with 6 districts, serving 13 students this summer!

Each week is a new topic, covering personal safety, health and wellness, self-advocacy and team building. The students have quickly adapted to virtual education, completing daily reflection videos using FlipGrid, attending class on Zoom and finding new tools to interact using the technology they have available. Virtual home scavenger hunts have been a hit- searching for items related to emergencies and even finding specific items relating to nutrition!

Interested in TOPS? TOPS (Transition Outcomes Program for Students) provides transition programing for high school students from area school districts who are typically in their 13th and 14th school year. For more information, please contact Betsy Morrison,  or by phone at 207-289-7961.


We are so excited to announce that Next STEP has resumed in-person programming! We have settled into our new bright and spacious program space on Warren Avenue. It did not take long for the participants to learn the new safety protocols related to COVID-19 and by the second day, everyone had built those into their routines.

We have also been busy making up for lost time in our activities. Our first week back to in-person programming, we learned about how to make and properly wear a face mask, we did a Zumba workout session, a low impact exercise routine, created a "stand still painting", practiced our typing skills with a typing test (one of our participants can type 33 word per minute!) and ended one of our days with a yoga session which really relaxed us. It feels great to be back!

We are accepting new participants. Please contact Betsy Morrison for more information at  or 207-289-7961. Next STEP is PSL/STRIVE's unique private pay program that offers a high-quality curriculum and social connections at an affordable rate. It is a great option 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.


We've continued to have so much fun during our Virtual STRIVE Night's! Getting to see our friends every Friday has been such a bright spot during COVID-19, and having a place to just relax and have fun together is so important! We've been having some incredible karaoke performances, as well as heated bingo games, and hilarious rounds of charades! If you'd like to join in the fun, email Olivia for your link to join a STRIVE Night soon!

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

We've been having so much fun during Tweens this month! We've been working on our conversational skills, as well as watching some adorable animal videos on youtube and playing some fun games. We're so glad we get to continue to see our friends virtually during this time!

Do you know someone 11-14 years old looking for a fun social outlet? Contact Olivia to join Virtual Tweens and get your link to join!

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

Our Wednesday Night Education Series on "Going Green!" just wrapped up. We learned all about the importance of adding some "green" skills to our daily lives, including information on composting and recycling. Trying to add more earth friendly activities to our routines is actually easier than we thought! We also learned some gardening skills which we can't wait to try at our own homes. 

In August, our newest Wednesday Night Educational Series will kick-off. "Independent Living Skills and Safety" will begin the first Wednesday in August (08/05) at 6pm and will run each Wednesday during the month. We will discuss different apartment safety skills, including internet safety as well as the important of scheduling and organization. Interested in attending, contact Olivia at for your link to join! We hope to see you there! 

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! For more information about the program or to sign up, contact Whitney at
Active & Waves

Things are always changing here at ACTIVE these days! While some participants have started to head back on site, our ACTIVE Zoom-iverse has maintained popularity among all of our ACTIVE team. Attending zooms is important because it allows participants and staff to continue to see and connect with members of our community. In particular, our check-in zooms are a lot of fun because we typically play games there like name that tune, hangman, and our original check-in game, "Ask Around." Zoom Check-Ins have definitely become our most attended zoom group because it has created a space for everyone to touch base with each other in a fun and inclusive way. Additionally, our Virtual Community Events have also been a huge hit! These evening and weekend Zoom gatherings, although in the same Zoom-iverse, seem to have a different vibe. Kim, Kayla, and Rachael bring some fun and exciting topics to explore such as vintage cars, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Name that Tune, just to name a few. Over time, we have also found Zoom groups to give staff the opportunity to express interests of their own and to share their personal knowledge of skills and interests. In this way, our Zoom groups have definitely become a place for everybody.

It is hard to believe that the on-site Active programming has been back up and running for almost two months! We have welcomed some of our WAVES participants back to program as well. Everyone is enjoying getting to see their peers and participate in fun activities both in the buildings and outside. Staff and participants have been getting creative with the activities that we can do while being socially distant. Everyone has been patient as we all navigate this new stage! "Guest" staff have been coming on site to each location to lead groups for our participants outdoors. Birding, scavenger hunts, meditation, science, Zumba, and art groups outside have been some participant favorites. We are gradually welcoming more participants back to program, as safely as we can. If you have any questions, please reach out to Happy summer!

For more information on PSL Services/STRIVE's Community Support Day Programs,  Active & Waves, please contact Emily at .
Events Update! 

STRIVE for 5K and Kevin On The Roof 2020

Though many events look a little different this year, one event is able to stay the same- Kevin On The Roof! Save the date- Kevin will be heading atop the roof of Patriot Subaru starting  Friday, September 18th ! Kevin has yet to pick his fundraising goal. How much do you think it will be? How long will he be on the roof this year?! Keep your eye out for updates about this special event!

Have you been wondering how the STRIVE for 5K will work this year? Well you are in luck- we have an answer! This year, we are combining the 5K and Kevin on the Roof. How, you ask? See the details below! *please note, there will be no block party this year* 

The STRIVE for 5K will be virtual this year! You might be wondering how a virtual event works. It's easy!  All participants have the ability to make their own 5K course- whether that's walking in your neighborhood, running a certain trail or previous race course, or using a treadmill at your own home or the gym. 

We're asking you to participate in honor of STRIVE and Kevin over the Kevin On The Roof kick-off weekend of September 18th. You will have the choice to complete the race in your own time on September 18th, 19th, or 20th- whatever works best for you! All race participants that complete the 5K during the weekend will receive a race t-shirt and collectors item finisher's medal after the event. We will mail shirts and medals, so be sure to share with your friends "from away" as well! Since this is a virtual race, anyone can run from anywhere! We will also be giving out prizes for; the runner/walker who is furthest away, best costume, and more!

Registration for the event is only $30 (kids 12 and under are free!)  and is open through the event day (will close at 11:59p on 09/20). You can register at ! Registration is now open! Register now, using the code EARLYBIRD for $2 off your registration fee at checkout (this offer is valid until August 20th). All PSL/STRIVE employees are able to register for free (contact Whitney at  for your special code). 

 Be sure to post your own pictures from the event, using hashtag #VirtualSTRIVEfor5, so we recognize all that are participating! All funds raised from the race will go towards Kevin's 2020 roof total. Kevin has even agreed to complete the 5K on the roof! 

For more information about either event, please contact STRIVE Program Director, Whitney, at
Happy Birthday to the following STRIVE Members!


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

Linda Murray
Tiffany Farides
Ashley Gore
Dave Gardner
Lidia Woofenden
Anthony Giftos
Lucas Bonica
Cole Igneri
Chloe Britton
Alannah Barrasso
Noah Sullivan
James Raymond
Anthony Mains
Thatcher Kent
Tyra Gnade
Yasmine Ben Malek
Benjamin Trimble-Smith
Darren Robinson
Alli Brooking
Bre Parentaeu
Andrew Hall
Andrew Giannotti

Happy Birthday! 
Thank You to Our July Donors!


Sam Leavitt 
Katie Spotz
Kimberly Johnson

Also- A very special thank you to those who contributed to our virtual STRIVE Rocks event! YOU helped us raise over $88,000 for STRIVE programs! 

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 

Meet Bridget! Bridget is a STRIVE Tweens and Camp STRIVE participant, who, if you've ever been to STRIVE when she is there, you've certainly met! Bridget has a bright and friendly personality and loves to make new friends. Bridget joins us for virtual Tweens every week, so we are so glad we are able to still see her while we're all still at home!

Recently, Bridget was in the South Portland area, and missing her friends at STRIVE, so she and her mom decided to stop by our office and take a quick picture! Thanks for sending it along, Bridget!

STRIVE Volunteer Spotlight 

This month, we'd like to give a special thank you to all of our friends who volunteered their time, energy, and talents to help make Virtual STRIVE Rocks a success! We had celebrity guest visits like our friend Katie Sampson from WGME, Dr. Nirav Shah from the Maine CDC, and more...we also had bands who put together recorded concerts just for this event - like our friends Peaked In High School, Wavelength, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, B.Aull, and more! THANK YOU all so much for helping make our virtual event so fun and engaging- we couldn't have done it without you!

Also, we'd like to do a special shout-out to two very important STRIVE Rocks participants- the dynamic duo- Charlie and Bennett! Each year, Charlie and Bennett go above and beyond in their fundraising efforts for STRIVE. From reaching out personally to friends and family, to fundraisers of their own (when we are able to do them in person), these partners in crime are unstoppable! This year, they were able to raise over $25,000 for STRIVE Rocks. Truly unbelievable. Thank you for all you do, Charlie and Bennett! 

General Announcements

Virtual Tweens: Every Friday from 3:30-5:30pm
Virtual STRIVE Night: Every Friday from 6-9pm
Virtual STRIVE 25: Thursday, August 6th and 20th from 6-8pm
Virtual STRIVE for 5K: September 18th, 19th, and 20th
Kevin On The Roof 2020: Friday, September 18th

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!