PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

December 1st, 2019
Save the Date! January 25th, 2020- STRIVE's 20th Anniversary!

December is here, and that means we're getting closer to our big Anniversary Celebration! We will be holding a large celebratory gala for STRIVE's 20th Anniversary at the Sheraton Sable Oaks in South Portland on  January 25th, 2020.   Tickets are on sale now at -- with tickets costing just $10 for STRIVE Staff and STRIVE participants!

The gala includes dinner, live music from the band Wavelength (so bring your dancing shoes!), awards for our distinguished volunteers and community partners, as well as several guest speakers. We hope to see you there!

Want to be a part of the event's Host Committee?  Your donation of $125 will assist in offsetting this event's expenses and will also help make this night as affordable as possible for our STRIVE members and community. As a member of the host committee, you will receive 2 tickets to the event (an $80 value), 10 raffle tickets (a $20 value) and recognition on all printed materials and at the event. We also have rates available for businesses and organizations as well! If you are interested in this once-in-every-five-years opportunity, contact Whitney Wildes, STRIVE Program Manager, at!

Maine Mariners Tickets!

Recognize this guy? You might not, since he's not wearing his goalie mask! This is Tom McCollum, goaltender for the Maine Mariners. Through the "Goalies Who Give" program, Tom has generously selected STRIVE as the recipient of his season tickets! It is Tom's hope to be able to get STRIVE participants to each and every home game. Not only did this amazing opportunity come with four tickets, but it also comes with the chance to meet Tom and all of the Mariners players and staff in the locker room after the game! Below is a photo of STRIVE member Thomas with Tom after the game he attended last month. 

We still have many games with tickets available, so STRIVE members and families, please reach out to Whitney at to claim tickets! We'd love to be able to fulfill Tom's wish and have folks at every game. 

Go Mariners!

Share the Love with STRIVE at Patriot Subaru!

Are you or is someone you know in the market for a new vehicle? The Subaru  #ShareTheLove  campaign is happening NOW at Patriot Subaru in Saco! Until January 2nd, for every car sold there, customers will have the chance to select STRIVE as their charity to "Share the Love" with -- meaning recieve a $250 donation from Subaru of America! Patriot themselves will then add an extra $50 to the donation, giving STRIVE a total of $300 per car! We are so grateful to Patriot for selecting STRIVE for a fourth year in a row for this incredible event. Spread the word to help #ShareTheLove with STRIVE!

STRIVE WorldWIDE Open House

Have you heard all about STRIVE WorldWIDE but aren't sure if online learning is for you? Now you can experience for yourself what an online seminar is like! We will be holding 3 informational, online, open houses on December 17 at: 1 PM, 6PM, and 9PM, Eastern Standard Time. Click  here  to register for a session!
Registration for our next class, Healthy You, is now open! The course begins on January 6. Start the year off right by focusing on having a healthy mind, body, and spirit! Click here to learn how to register.
If you refer a friend, both you and the friend will get 15% of this course by using code FRIEND!

We had a great month of episodes here at the STRIVECast in November! Jeff and Noel interviewed some really incredible people, like the Animal Refuge League's Executive Director Patsy Murphy, Portland Housing Authority's Executive Director Cheryl Sessions, STRIVE U alumni and local artist Caleb, and had a fun Thanksgiving episode where we talked a lot about gratitude, and what we're thankful for this year.


This month, we also started a new segment for our "Ask Noel" segment! We have an Ask Noel hotline, where listeners call in and leave Noel a voicemail with a question they have that they'd like some advice on! We've already gotten some great questions and are excited for more. Do you have a question for Noel? Leave him a voicemail at 207-774-6278 ext. 352!

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! Episodes can be found on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts, as well as on our website and Facebook page. Like what you hear? Shoot us an email at !

This month for STRIVE 25, we're looking forward to our annual Holiday Party! We'll be celebrating everyone's favorite winter holidays with a big holiday dinner, and as always, will be hosting our monthly bin go game! We hope to see you there this Thursday, December 5th!

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

We're so excited that it's finally time for a school vacation- which means time for Winter Camp STRIVE! Join us Thursday 12/26-Tuesday 12/31  for a few days of camp fun! The schedule will be released as we get closer to the first day. If you'd like to register for Winter Vacation Camp, contact Olivia at


On Wednesday, November 20th we celebrated Thanksgiving in style at STRIVE U in the form of a progressive dinner! A progressive dinner is a party where different courses are in different homes. We invite all the STRIVE U alumni and staff to enjoy appetizers, dinner and dessert together for a night of fun! Each student prepares something to share with the group, we had everything from green bean casserole and oreo pie to punch and Heath macaroni and cheese (for those not in the know- Heath mac and cheese is one of our students favorite family recipes and now a favorite recipe amongst everyone at STRIVE U!)

We owe a special thanks to a few people for making Progressive extra special:
Lucas and Patrick for hosting apps!
Bridget and Clare for hosting dessert!
ResCo (residence counsel) for coming up with fun games and activities for everyone to enjoy!
Staff who helped make decorations, games, photo booth props, food, with set up, with cleanup, and with helping students organize their apartments for a crowd!
All alumni who came to STRIVE U to visit!
All students who prepared something for everyone to enjoy- we loved everything that you made!


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 Bill Hughes, STRIVE U Admissions Coordinator at or call
(207) 774-6278.
After School

After School has had a great month of November. We've been having fun out in the community bowling, visiting the local animal shelter, and of course working on our cooking here at STRIVE. This month, After School students decided to use our program money to go to good use, and spent some money purchasing non-perishable food items for our friends at Patriot Subaru's Food Drive! We were surprised with how much we were able to get, even on a small budget, and feel good to be able to help out our community members in need. All of the donations are going to the Biddeford Food Bank!

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 After School, contact Olivia at!

Over at Bayside, we dedicated ourselves to learning lnternet Safety for the month of November!  Our first lesson discussed the difference between personal and private information, and when it is  appropriate to share either type of information. As the month progressed, we shifted our focus to the  many different circumstances that being on the internet can bring and the best way to handle  potentially uncomfortable situations. Since technology is a huge part of todar/s society, everyone had  valuable input which led to some interestihg discussi ons! We plan to wrap up the month of November  with discussing cyberbullying.

It hasn't been all work over at Bayside this month. Although our learning groups and daily goals  are always at the top of our to-do list, we still managed to find time to have some fun. This past month  we indulged in some Adventure Day activities by taking a bus trip to Westbrook to satisfy our KFC  cravings. Our other Adventure Day involved some of us taking an adventure to Bull Moose, while others  chose between Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. Since November is the month of Thanksgiving, all month  long we have been looking forward to the Thanksgiving Feast at Foden Road so it is no surprise that  when it came time to make our contribution, everyone was more than happy to pitch in a helping hand.  November is just the start of the Holiday season and we are welcoming December with open arms!

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

The TOPS Students have very different activities every week, allowing them to develop flexibility within their daily routine. The students are sent a newsletter each Friday afternoon that includes pictures from that week and the upcoming week's schedule. Each student is expected to look over the schedule in order to be prepared for the week ahead. Some days the students need gym clothes, sneakers, extra layers for outside or even swim suits. Without checking their email, they wouldn't be prepared for the fun activities. The newsletter is also a way to share information with families and school teachers to encourage the transfer of skills across settings. Due to this expectation, the students are increasing their use of technology in order to access their schedule and are using common apps for reminders and time management.


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. For more information, please contact Betsy Morrison, 207-774-6278.


During our curriculum time this past month we have been spending our time discussing internet safety. We began by discussing the pros and cons with social media. Social Media is a big part in our society today, so it's good to know how to be safe and what to share and not share on the internet. We learned that social media has a lot of good tools like looking for a job, making friends and connecting with people that we know.

Next STEP also works out every week. A new idea that one of the participants suggested was to have one of us research and lead everyone through a workout session. This has been a great experience in terms of leadership skill development as well working together as a group. The group has responded so well to having a peer lead the workout and have like to exercises picked even better than when a staff picks the activities!                    

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.


November was such a fun month for STRIVE Night's! Although it crept over into the wrong month, we held our annual Halloween STRIVE Night on November 1st, which is always our biggest night of the year. We had well over 60 participants show up, show off their costumes, and spend time celebrating together. Congratulations to member Caleb who won the costume contest as "Sporky" from Toy Story 3!

In November we also got into the Thanksgiving spirit with our annual Harvest Fest! We love this time of year because there's so much to celebrate- and we love any reason to throw a theme night!

In December, we're looking forward to even more theme night fun with our annual Holiday Party! Our holiday party is catered each year from our friends at Anthony's Italian Kitchen -- so come hungry and bring your friends! Rumor has it there may even be a special visitor joining join us to find out who it is!

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

Tweens had such a fun month of November. We had a visit from a very fun therapy dog, and did tons of Thanksgiving-themed games and activities! In December, we'll be looking forward to seeing our friends from Portland Youth Dance again, as well as celebrating our annual Holiday Party! See you in December!

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 

Wednesday Night Educational Series

Wednesday Night Ed has had a busy and informative month of November! This month was the first half of our Healthy Relationships series -- a two part class that is being taught to us by Olivia Lonemann, the Education Program Manager at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England! We are so glad to be able to offer this in-depth course for our students and have it be taught by a true professional in this field. We are excited for all that December will bring!

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

This month ACTIVE and WAVES took an extended day trip to Thompson's Orchard in New Gloucester for a day of apple picking and hay rides! Mike, the owner of the orchard, even gave us a tour of the cider mill they have on site! In light of the cloudy and rainy weather, we used the rest of the day to bake apple pies and crisps from our harvest. We had so many apples that we made enough pies for the Thanksgiving Feast here at Foden Road.

And to keep the "winter woes" away, we have been attending Family Ice Center in Falmouth for their Opportunity Skate sessions once a week! Our groups been thoroughly enjoying this wonderful (and free!) activity! In addition, we have just started a new volunteer opportunity at MSSPA in Wyndam. MSSPA is an animal shelter for horses, and our group that volunteers there gets to help keep the stables and barns nice and clean for the horses. So far, volunteering at MSSPA has been a success!

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 December- we hope you have a great day!

Ashley Bowers
Jacob Hill
Shaina Smith
Ivan Sheloske
Vitaliy Chan
Kaleb Divney
Victoria Felt
John Mancini
Alex York
Thank You to Our November Donors!


-        Paul & Beverly Mattathall - in Honor of Caleb Dunlap
-        Clyde Dyar
-        Kathleen & Michael Bouchard
-        Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
-        J. Clarence & Rita Madore
-        Russell Phillips
-        Susan deGozzaldi

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

Mark your calendars for these upcoming STRIVE events!

STRIVE 25 Holiday Party- December 5th, 2019
STRIVE Night Holiday Party- December 20th, 2019
Share the Love @ Patriot Subaru- Now Through-January 1st, 2020
STRIVE CLOSED - December 24th AND December 25th 2019 
STRIVE's 20th Anniversary Gala- January 25th, 2020 @ Sheraton Sable Oaks

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!