PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

February 1st, 2020
Celebrating 20 Years of STRIVE!

L ast weekend, STRIVE celebrated it's 20th anniversary at the Portland Sheraton at Sable Oaks! The night was full of fun! We had a delicious meal, excellent speeches from Eben and Charlie,  inducted our inaugural group of volunteers into our new Volunteer Hall of Fame, a Q&A session with former Boston Red Sox player Chris Howard, danced the night away with music from Wavelength and even surprised PSL/STRIVE's Associate Director, Peter Brown, with a surprise award! 

We can't thank everyone who helped celebrate 20 years of STRIVE with us -- from our tireless event volunteers, to the event sponsors, our Host Committee, Planning Committee, and over 400 guests who celebrated with us all night long. THANK YOU to everyone involved! 

We hope you had just as much fun as we did! Here's to 20 (plus!) more years!

                                    STRIVE U Alum '18 Table                                                                               

 STRIVE's first members of the Volunteer Hall of Fame 

                                                                                 Olivia, Pete and Whitney 

                                              Pete's surprise speeches!                                          Pete's surprise award!

                                                                   Eben R.                                                   Charlie S.  

                                Pete and our emcees, NewsCenter Maine's                                    Hitting the dance floor! 
Lee Goldberg and Shannon Moss 

Congratulations to our 2019 Award Winners 

Volunteer(s) of the Year: The Cloutier Family 
Business/Organization of the Year: Bangor Savings Bank 
Participant Volunteer of the Year: Robert Mendillo 
Volunteered of the Year: Anna Wildes 

5 Year Awards
Distinguished Service Award (Individual): Donna Roggenthien
Distinguished Service Award (Organization): The Lunder Foundation 


Save the date! STRIVE Rocks 2020!

STRIVE Rocks 2020 is on it's way! This year, STRIVE Rocks 2020 will be held May 2nd and 3rd  at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

STRIVE Rocks is broken into two parts, STRIVE Rocks ALL DAY (10a-6p, May 2nd) and STRIVE Rocks ALL NIGHT (8p, May 2nd to    8am, May 3rd). STRIVE Rocks ALL DAY is a family friendly festival. STRIVE Rocks ALL NIGHT is held immediately after STRIVE Rocks ALL DAY and is an opportunity for young adults of all ability levels to socialize together. 

During both portions of the event, the Cross Insurance Arena is filled with music, inflatable bounce houses and games, interactive activities, main stage performances by local artists, and more!

More information on the event to come soon! Keep checking HERE for more information about fundraising and the event! 

Are you or your business/organization interested in participating in the event? We have many sponsorship opportunities available. Check them out  HERE or contact STRIVE Program Director, Whitney Wildes at  for more information! 

We are looking for high school students to participate in STRIVE Rocks ALL NIGHT. Contact Whitney at  to find out how to get your school group or team involved!

STRIVE Night at the Maine Mariners! 

Cheer on your favorite hockey team while supporting STRIVE at the same time!

The Maine Mariners and STRIVE are teaming up for a game benefiting STRIVE!

TODAY, SATURDAY, February 1st
vs. the Adirondack Thunder

A portion of ticket sales will go back to STRIVE.
CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets TODAY (tickets must be purchased using this link in order for proceeds to go to STRIVE)!


STRIVE WorldWIDE just wrapped up our series on "Healthy You!". We had 10 students participate in class from around the country, and Canada! We're excited to get started on our next series, "Personal Safety".  

STRIVE WorldWIDE's next online course in Personal Safety starts 3/2/20, but seats are limited, so register now! Online seminars meet Tuesday & Thursday evenings from 7-8 PM EST.  CLICK HERE to register today! 


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 so much fun during the month of January and highlighted many STRIVE programs. To kick off the year, the STRIVECast did our annual New Year's episode where we discussed how 2019 was and our new goals for 2020! Throughout the month, we had guests from our ACTIVE, WAVES, and Bayside programs. We have some exciting upcoming guests planned for February! Happy listening! 


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 !

STRIVE 25 took the month of January off! We can't wait to see you Thursday, February 6th for our Valentine's Day party! 

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've had a busy month with all the holidays and are happy to be back to our typical routines (with the exception of the 20th Anniversary Party which we loved getting dressed up for)! Here are some exciting updates on what is happening in the employment and education components of our program:
Employment: STRIVEU would like to celebrate our students working at the Coke distribution center in South Portland.  Matt, Michael, and Patrick have been working at Coke since October learning about the warehouse and recycling operations.  As of now we anticipate all three students working here for a long time to come. The team at Coke has created a wonderful family atmosphere and we appreciate their support of our students!
Education: Since the start of the new semester the students have been having Planned Parenthood as a weekly guest speaker. Every Tuesday a representative from Planned Parenthood comes to Learning Group to teach about healthy relationships and sex education. It is helpful to have so many community resources or draw from for guest speakers to help educate our students! On Thursdays students are learning about decision making and problem solving.


STRIVE U Applications due 

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
For those of you who are unfamiliar with our After School program, we wanted to use this issue to further explain this program. After School provides an opportunity for students in the afternoons to gain skills beyond the classroom. Students between the ages of eleven through high school work with STRIVE staff on goals such as homework, community safety, cooking and more while reinforcing social and independent skills.


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. During school vacations, students are invited to attend Camp STRIVE instead for fun-filled days!
Please contact Betsy Morrison at 207-774-6278 or at  with questions or if you would like to schedule a visit.


Happy New Year from the Bayside Family! After problem solving our way through the holiday's, and a couple of snow days, we are excited to finally be back on our regular schedule. We have been building on our time management skills in learning groups by working with timed schedules such as the local bus schedule. This has been beneficial for everyone over at Bayside because our learning groups have been dedicated to planning some of our Fun Friday's! We are also spending time practicing and planning appointments, while also exploring the benefits of keeping weekly planners. We are now moving into a new lesson plan which will work with our problem-solving skills and continue striving for independence!

We have a birthday within our Bayside Family this month. Happy Birthday to Mariah.. Thank you for all your hard work! (: Our adventure days this month have been geared towards fulfilling our appetite. We took a trip to the mall to eat lunch in the food court; Panda Express was a popular choice amongst the bayside crew. Participants dedicated their time during learning group to plan a bus navigation for our Adventure Day trip to Burger King in Westbrook. Our final adventure day was spent navigating the streets of Portland to indulge in Dunkin Donuts! Chapter 1 of 12 in 2020 has been sweet and we are hopeful that it will just get sweeter!

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

January flew by as students returned from their holiday break and jumped right back into their routines here in TOPS!  Our students are demonstrating a significant increase in independence as they problem solve various situations, navigate the community and during every day situations at STRIVE. 

Each student is beginning to narrow down their transition plan as the year turns the corner to the finish line.  The program has welcomed many guest students this month who are looking to attend TOPS next year! 
Interested in TOPS? Come visit our open house on February 12th from 3pm-5pm. 


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.


One of our ongoing goals for the Next STEP program is to promote health and wellness. This past month, we have been putting an extra focus on nutrition. We have been discussing what is healthy to eat and the importance of portion control and well balanced meals . Once a week, Next STEP cooks a group lunch together. During that entire process from budgeting, menu planning, food purchase and preparation, we have discussed healthy eating habits on a limited budget.

Next STEP continues to work out a couple times a week in our effort to lead a healthy lifestyle! The different exercises we have been doing include circuit workout, HITT workouts (a continuous workout session) and Yoga. We also have a trainer come every other week from Momentum Performance and Wellness to guide us through low impact exercises. He makes that workout fun!

We have also been learning about how to read our bodies and know when it's time to relax. After we work out, we listen to a meditation video to calm our bodies!


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.


STRIVE Night has been so busy during the month of January! During our first Friday of the month, we celebrated the start of 2020! We've seen many new faces walk in through our doors on Friday nights this month. We're excited to be able to support our participants to make lasting friendships!

We hope you'll join us Friday, February 14th, for our Valentine's Day Dance! 

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 just wrapped up an exciting January in Tweens! We did everything from winter bingo to freeze dance and even made New Year's resolutions! We've also welcomed some new Tween members this month and can't wait to make even more new friends in February! 

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 January, we started off the year on the right foot by learning about different types of exercise and what they do to our bodies. We even got to practice some yoga, zumba, circuit training, gym workouts and more. We already feel healthier and hope that we practice what we've learned this month throughout the year. 

In February, STRIVE's Wednesday Night Educational Series will focus on employment! We will have a presentation from Portland Vocational Rehabilitation, will work with STRIVE's employment coordinator to learn how to look for the right job for us, have a resume workshop, practice interview skills with the USM Career Center, and more! 

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 at ACTIVE, we have been taking advantage of the snow to participate in some winter sports, such as snow tubing! And when the weather isn't the best for being outside, our participants are enjoying staying active by visiting The Point to play basketball and the South Portland Rec Center to go swimming. Coming up later this month, ACTIVE participants will be going to Spare Time to play a couple games of laser tag, and then heading over to the USM Planetarium to attend a show about coral reefs! Needless to say, we are not letting the winter weather keep us from being ACTIVE.
A January update from WAVES consists of a wonderful day in the Portland neighborhood to visit the Portland Museum of Art. From the desk of David Blessing:
On January 9th consumers in the Waves group enjoyed a truly wonderful day. They began the day with a YouTube chair yoga session presented by Sherry Zak Morris, certified yoga therapist. They stretched, danced, sang and moved to the rhythm of a popular song.

 Consumers then moved on to visit the Portland Museum of Art. Along with the famous paintings of Renoir and sculptures of Degas, they viewed the main attraction; paintings and illustrations by N.C. Wyeth. The exhibit was the first major showing of almost all his work in a generation.  Some of the illustrations that nearly everyone will remember are from novels such as "Treasure Island" and "The Last of the Mohicans," "Island Funeral" and "The Lobsterman" were among his many famous paintings exhibited.

After a trip to the giftshop, consumers then enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the "The Black Tie Company" café. Consumers found it a real treat to choose from a menu featuring locally sourced food and drinks, hearty salads, artisanal sandwiches and wraps, and a variety of fresh baked goods and desserts.
Returning to Foden Road, staff and consumers worked with newly acquired puzzles, games and art projects from the sensory stimulation kits. Mr. Rogers would have been proud!

All activities were made possible by a generous grant from the Jonah and Elizabeth Dyer Charitable Corporation.          

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 February- we hope you have a great day!

Andrew Scott Ryan Deschambault
Nate Hall
Andrew Michaud
Jessica Luciano 
Nick Cusano 
Zack Krohn
Arianna Bulger
Austin Rice
Caleb Hanmer

Thank You to Our January Donors!

Debra & Roger Caron
John & Denise Palmer
Corey Green & Briana Gervias
Wendy Bush
Susan Saffer
Deborah Ward
MaryAnn Schwanda & Glenn Sutton 
Thomas & Hillary Egan
Rebecca Schroeder
Jean Ricciardelli
Karen Jannace
The Larch Foundation
   Paul Campbell
   Art & Connie Batson
Gordon & Laurie Oliver
Marjorie Twombly
John & Denise Palmer
Gregory & Patricia Rolfson
Jane O'Rourke & Frank O'Hara
Bill Taplin & Emily Taplin-Lacy
UNUM Group
Chris Berry
Shoresh Foundation - In Memory of Jake Shapell
Jane Gallivan
Rachel Morin - In Honor of Emma Campbell
Michael & Theresa Haggett
Barry Dunlap
Pater & Mary Hess - In Honor of the Cloutiers
Jeannine Bergeron
Kathleen & Michael Bouchard
Faith Comstock Trust - In Honor Raszmann Sawyer
James Kilkenny - In Memory of Michael Furey
Judy Watson
Alonzo Fake - In memory of Mary Jean Fake
Nola & Sean Fennessy
James Moran III - In Memory of James Moran, Jr.
Debra Cooper - In Memory of Henry Bouchard 
Richard & Martha Swanson - In Memory of Henry Bouchard 
Teresa & Jace Trickey - In Memory of Henry Bouchard 
Joan Bouchard - In Memory of Henry Bouchard 
 Katie Spotz

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 Bridgette! Bridgette has just started in our Next STEP program! 

When asked what she likes about STRIVE, Bridgette said "everything!". One thing in particular that Bridgette likes, especially in the Next STEP program, is practicing her cooking skills. 

The next time you are at STRIVE, be sure to say hello to Bridgette!

STRIVE Volunteer Spotlight 

We'd like to congratulate our very first members of the STRIVE Hall of Fame, which we unveiled at our 20th Anniversary Celebration! 
Judy Sarapas- who is always, always, there when we need her. Judy often comes by Foden Road on the weekends to weed our gardens and water our plants, provide bake goods for events, and stay up all night running the kitchen at STRIVE Rocks.
Chris Cameron, from the Portland Sea Dogs. Chris has been on STRIVE's Steering Committee for over 10 years, and is always a great resource for us. Dedication like his makes a huge difference in our programs.
Dave Thompson, who has volunteered with us almost since the beginning. He's a long time Steering Committee member, former Board Member, volunteered on both Capital Campaigns, and a host of other things.
Charlie Mercer, who, with his friend Bennett Agnew, combine to raise over $25,000 for STRIVE Rocks every year- a huge task and undertaking, which clearly makes a difference in our community.
Kevin "On the Roof" Fitzpatrick- who this fall will climb up on a roof for the 8th time- and stay there until he raises some crazy amount of money. 
We are creating our own "ring of honor" similar to a football stadium, where we will be posting your names around the STRIVE Center- to publicly recognize your support and dedication to STRIVE. Thank you all for your incredible work over the past 20 years! 

Congrats to the initial class of STRIVE Volunteer Hall-of-Famers!

    Kevin Fitzpatrick, Judy Sarapas, Chris Cameron, Dave Thompson, Bennett Agnew, Charlie Mercer                                                                              

General Announcements

Mark your calendars for these upcoming STRIVE events!

February 1st:  STRIVE Night at the Maine Mariners
February 3rd: STRIVE U Application Deadline
February 17th: PSL/STRIVE CLOSED 
February 18th-21st: Camp STRIVE
April 20th-24th: Camp STRIVE
May 2nd and 3rd: STRIVE Rocks Weekend! 

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!