PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

February 1st, 2021
February Vacation Camp!

We're so excited to be offering a week of Virtual Camp STRIVE during February Vacation this month! Re-connect with your Camp friends, and add some structure to your week with some virtual fun! We'll be offering two sessions per day - one from 10am-12pm, and another in the afternoon from 1pm-3pm. Check out our schedule below and see what you'd like to join us for!

Virtual Camp will cost $50 for the week, or $10 per session. Please note for both the Caravan Beads and Anthony's Pizza activities, campers will need to pick up their materials ahead of time.

To register, please email Olivia at and let her know which sessions you would like to attend! We're excited to re-connect our Camp STRIVE family and spend some time together!

New year, new habits! We are wrapping up our first month of 2021 (how did that happen already?!?) When the new year rolls around, you hear all about New Year's Resolutions. But I'm not a fan of setting resolutions. I'm a fan of setting new habits or intentions. What's the difference you ask? A resolution is a hard and fast rule: I will do this. Or I won't do that. That can set us up pretty quickly to feel like we are not meeting our resolutions and to just give up. But if we commit to creating new habits, it's a gradual process and the path to getting there does not require perfection. And let's face it, perfection of anything is not realistic (especially in a global pandemic).

If you want to learn about new habits and work towards a healthy mind, body, and spirit, join us for our Healthy You class, which begins 2/15/21. To sign up, click here. If you are a new student, you will need to create an account. If you are a returning student, log in to register.

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 has started off strong in 2021! January brought us a whole host of fun guests, including the Mayor of Portland, Kate Snyder! We also had fun conversations with our friends Anna and Sophia of Summertime Gallery in Brooklyn - an art studio for artists with and without disabilities, chatted with Cumberland County Commissioner Jim Cloutier,  and more! Thanks to all who joined us this month - we're looking forward to an exciting lineup of guests in February!


Do you have guest suggestions, ideas for fun games we could play, or want to participate in the Ask Jeff segment? Shoot us an email at! We'd love to hear from you. The Ask Jeff hotline is still up and running, too - you can leave Jeff 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!


As always, we've had such a great month of STRIVE 25 socials and have welcomed many new members who have quickly become friends! It's been nice getting to know everyone more when we ask our fun opening ice breaker question, and we have so many great performers when it comes to karaoke! Of course, it wouldn't be STRIVE 25 without a competitive game (or two) of bingo! Would you like to join in on the fun? Contact Olivia for your link to join this month! 

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

We've all transitioned back to campus life after visiting family for the holidays. We did have to quarantine for 10 days again but having fun quarantine activities (like a virtual field trip to Disney!) made the time fly by. We've started our Spring Semester courses with SMCC; Financial Literacy and Intro to Communications. It is so exciting to get back into the class schedule and start learning some new material.

In Learning Group the third year students who will be graduating in June have started learning about what life after STRIVE U looks like. They're learning about apartments, services like community and home support and talking about which areas they want to live in.

We're looking forward to interviewing the applicants for the next STRIVE U class and the exciting process of current students finding their off-campus apartments!

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.

WOW!! We are already at the end of January. The Bayside participants have been doing such a great job participating on Zoom Monday through Friday.

We start every day with a morning exercise. We choose very low impact exercises that can be done in our chairs. This month, we finished a segment on Computer Media. We looked at how much time we as a community, use social media every day and how they can control their intake. A large focus was Computer Safety and being aware of who you are interacting with while online. We also learned how important it is to have good passwords while using their computers.

We also completed our lesson on Healthy Breakfasts. The participants were challenged to make pancakes or eggs and send in a picture. We discussed how important it is to have a good breakfast and what is considered as a good breakfast. They also created a cereal box cover by describing what they thought it should contain for information. One of the staff took their ideas and drew it out, so they could see how it looked.    
The Bayside participants really enjoyed Library Day as they watched, "Colossal Mysteries - What is Really Going on at Area 51." We discussed if they thought it to be true, that aliens really landed in Roswell NM. It was a lively conversation and good fun listening to their opinions! 

We want to remind folks that we have an afternoon program for Bayside participants that runs from Monday through Friday 1-2pm, 2-3pm and 3-4pm. Each hour offers something different every day.

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 started the second half of the school year for the TOPS students. With that came a big milestone; our 1000th video was posted on FlipGrid, a website our students use to record their daily reflections. Using videos to reflect on their day has allowed students to interact with each other virtually, and for our virtual students to share more of their personalities with students and staff.

Our TOPS students continue to dive deeper into the curriculum, becoming more independent each day. This month, the students have worked on new fix-it stations, navigated further into the community (with respect to COVID protocols) and started exploring their rights and responsibilities as adults and community members.

Interested in TOPS? TOPS (Transition Outcomes Program for Students) provides transition programming 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 207-879-0847.

Although Next STEP is currently on a hiatus due to the impact of COVID-19, please contact Betsy Morrison with questions or for more information about the program. Betsy can be reached at or 207-879-0847. 


January was a super fun month for STRIVE Night - as we welcomed a few new members (one from California, even!) and continued to have a blast together keeping up with our friends, and singing our hearts out during karaoke. Do you, or does someone you know want to join our fun Friday night bunch? Contact Olivia at to get the link to join the fun!


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 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

January was such a fun month for Tweens! It's been so great to continue to work on our conversational skills over Zoom, while still of course having so much fun together. Do you know an 11-14 year old looking for a fun virtual social outlet? Contact Olivia at to join the Tweens fun!

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

We are excited to be spending the next two months learning about Food Safety and Nutrition! We will spend the first half of the series focusing on nutrition, healthy alternatives and safety (with one of our favorite special guests- Chef Brad!). The second half of class will be full of cooking demos with the five major food groups! Class is each Wednesday at 6pm on Zoom and will be $30 for the full series. We hope you'll join us as we learn about a fun and valuable topic! 

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! The price per series is $20-$30, depending on the series' length. Contact Olivia at for your link to join class. 
Active & Waves

With a new schedule in action and new year's resolutions all around, some of our ACTIVE participants shared some special things that they've have been adding to their personal routines to make it unique. Here are some fun examples:

"I make sure to stay open to learning a lot and challenging myself. It is all good, even in these hard times."

"I try to shut my phone off over the weekend for a few hours a day. I step away and get away from my screen."

"I've been doing puzzles."
"I've been watching my favorite TV show This is Us."
"I actually mix up my routine sometimes, and I like to read my book at night."
 "It kind of depends on the weather, but I feel like I have more time to help my dad with projects now that I am home a lot."
 "I watch Dr. Shah every day."
  " I watch movies on the weekends."
  "Doing dancing."


These are just a few ways our ACTIVE participants are keeping things interesting away from Zoom, although we like to keep this fun and fresh on Zoom! This month on Zoom, we have kick-started our participant-led Zoom schedule, offering participants the opportunity to create lesson plans to lead their peers in an activity. We have also been able to explore the Presumpscot River Preserve in Portland, Smiling Hill Farm in Scarborough, and Old Orchard Beach via our virtual Field Trip Friday program. Add those to the list of future extended day trips!

For more information on PSL Services/STRIVE's 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!

Kevin Banks
Paris Nalevansky
Justin Browne
Sean Lewis
Nick Hubel
Andrew Deschambault
Nate Hall
Andrew Michaud
Zachary Khron 
Jessica Luciano 
Nick Cusano
Arianna Bulger
Caleb Hanmer
Lucy Pedersen

Happy Birthday! 
Thank You to Our January Donors!

Gail and Peter Cinelli - In Honor of Noel Thompson
Seafax, Inc. 
Harry Pringle
Karen Stray-Gunderson and Jane Begert
Alexander Beal - In Honor of James Cloutier
Rachel Morin
John Dooley 
Hilleary Family Fund
Carol Niles
Samantha Leavitt 

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 Mary! Mary has been coming to STRIVE since she was just a Tween, and has joined us for Camp STRIVE for several summers now, as well as being a regular member of our weekly STRIVE Night's and Wednesday Night Educational Classes! Mary says her favorite part of coming to STRIVE is "Strive Night because she gets to see her friends, play games and sing karaoke. Starting this summer Mary is excited to start attending Strive TOPS!"

We are so honored to support Mary and love seeing her smiling face on Zoom, and can't wait to see her in person again in the future! 

STRIVE Staff Spotlight 

Meet Carley! Carley is the Transition Coordinator at STRIVE U. Carley support the students with the transition in and out of the program. While students are in the program, she works on all things benefits related with them. Carley says her favorite part of the job is "when the students graduate and you see them successfully settled into their new apartments becoming active community members!" 

We're so lucky to have Carley in the STRIVE family - thanks for all you do, Carley! 
General Announcements

We are excited to announce the date for STRIVE Rocks 2021! We hope you'll join us Friday, May 7th to Saturday, May 8th on Zoom for our second STRIVE Rocks-The Virtual Edition! Keep checking our website- and our social media pages for updates on the event as the date gets closer!

We are in the early planning stages- do you have ideas to make this event great? Share your ideas with STRIVE Program Director, Whitney Wildes, at, or join our committee! We are also looking for new event sponsors! Is your business, or a business you know, interested in supporting the event? Be sure to check out our sponsorship opportunities HERE!

Community Members Wanted! 

Did you know that STRIVE hosts a monthly, free, networking group for those in our local community? The STRIVE Business to Business Networking Group is just one way that we try to be a mutually beneficial partner, with the hope of expanding the networks of our partners and local businesses. 

2021 kicks off the 10th year of the group and we are looking to grow! The group meets at noon on the last Wednesday of each month (right now we are meeting virtually). Are you or someone you know interested in joining? Contact Pete ( or Whitney ( for more information about the group  and your link to join!

Don't forget, STRIVE has a new store! We've launched an online store to purchase all your STRIVE swag needs! Take a look at all the shop has to offer HERE! There are so many items to choose from AND you can customize any item by choosing the color and STRIVE logo that you want. Happy shopping! 


Monday, February 15th
Virtual Tweens: Every Friday from 3:30-5:30pm
Virtual STRIVE Night: Every Friday from 6-9pm
Virtual STRIVE 25: Thursday, February 4th and 18th from 6-8pm

Don't forget! STRIVE U Applications Due TODAY (February 1st)!

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!