PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

January 1st, 2019
2018 In Review

What a great year we've had at STRIVE! 2018 brought us a big year of fun, new faces, new programs, a podcast, and so much more! Here are a few highlights of our year.

Our annual STRIVE Rocks fundraiser 
raised over $100,000 for the first time 
in STRIVE history!

The STRIVE U Class of 2018 graduated!

Emerge, a 3-week summer program, began in August!

STRIVE U welcomed the class of 2020!

Our friend and volunteer Kevin raised over $40,000 for STRIVE during our annual Kevin on the Roof event!

We started our very own podcast - the STRIVECast! We've interviewed Senator Angus King, Olympian Clare Egan, and more! 

STRIVE's 14th annual live & silent Auction was an enormous success, raising over $95,000 for STRIVE programs!

STRIVE celebrated it's 14th anniversary in December, and honored four distinct volunteers of 2018!

We can't wait to see all that 2019 will bring us! Thank you for being a part of the STRIVE family. We wish you a happy and healthy New Year!
STRIVE Rocks 2019!

Another year is beginning, which means we are gearing up for our annual STRIVE Rocks Weekend! For those who don't know, STRIVE Rocks is STRIVE's largest fundraiser of the year. Spanning over 24 straight hours at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, STRIVE Rocks is split into two events- STRIVE Rocks All Day & STRIVE Rocks All Night. During the daytime, STRIVE Rocks All Day is a family-friendly festival with live music performances, a petting zoo, tons of bounce castles, magic shows, face painting, and so much more. When the sun goes down, we begin STRIVE Rocks All Night- our overnight Dance Marathon! STRIVE members, high schoolers, college students, and friends of STRIVE all raise money and come together to stay up all night! With all-you-can-eat food, laser tag, an escape room, live bands, theme hours, STRIVE Rocks All Night is an incredible evening of endless fun and entertainment. Our planning committee, consisting of STRIVE members, local high schoolers, and STRIVE volunteers, have been hard at work planning to make this our biggest and best year yet!

Interested in having a group from your school or community involved in STRIVE Rocks? Get in touch with us by contacting Whitney at!

December was a big month here at the STRIVECast! Jeff & Noel interviewed some incredible guests, like Senator Angus King and Olympic Biathalete Clare Egan! We also had STRIVE U Admissions Coordinator Bill Hughes, and coming out today is a special New Year's Episode! Thanks to all of our special guests for coming on our show and being a part of what we do.

The STRIVECast is hosted by  Jeff, Noel, Pete & Olivia and each week we have a special guest that Jeff  & Noel interview! The STRIVECast is full of laughs and is great company on your commute, your daily walk/run, or whenever you listen to your podcasts or radio shows. 
If you have suggestions for the STRIVECast, or ideas for our next guest interview, please send us an email at Happy listening!
STRIVE U Applications

STRIVE U Applications are available now!

If you would like more information on STRIVE U and/or would like to schedule a campus tour, please contact Bill Hughes at (207) 774-6278 ext. 310 or e-mail

Applications are due back at STRIVE U on or before February 1, 2019.

It has been another exciting month for us here at Bayside! In learning group, we have been going over community and at-home safety as well as what to do in emergency situations. We began the month with community safety. We discussed the importance of dressing appropriately during winter and making sure we have extra articles of clothing in case the weather is particularly bad. Next we discussed using safe practices while walking around Portland making sure we are using crosswalks, looking out for cars, and watching for slippery surfaces especially now that it is getting darker earlier.
After that, we moved into fire safety in the home. We discussed common household items that can cause fires like kitchen appliances, wood stoves, and even Christmas trees. The participants made lists of these items and took turns explaining how they could cause fires. We also discussed the dangers of carbon monoxide and the importance of having working detectors in our homes. We transitioned into what to do in case of a fire. The participants came up with some good procedures to follow if there is a fire such as getting yourself to safety and calling 911. This brought us into how to make a 911 call and what to say to the operator so they have all the information they need.

For adventure days this month, the Bayside participants got to go to the South Portland mall to explore shops for Christmas gift ideas and have lunch at the food court. The next week we used our adventure day to shop for our Bayside Christmas party and the gift swap. The participants got to pick out a small gift for this and learned how to wrap it. For our Christmas party, the participants got to help make holiday themed treats, play fun/educational games, and take part in a scavenger hunt throughout Back Bay Tower.

We have had another fantastic month at Bayside filled with lots of holiday cheer. As 2018 comes to a close, we look back on all the amazing moments and memories from the year and all the progress our participants have made. We look forward to the New Year and all the positive things it will bring with it! 

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, 9:00-1:00and 1:00- 5:00. We offer full time (Monday- Friday) and part time (Tuesday, Thursday -or- Monday, Wednesday, Friday) options. 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: Caroline Cole at 774-6278 or 
STRIVE U has had a fun month! We had our Holiday Party on campus, went to the Purdue Global campus in Lewiston for a Holiday Party and finished our classes! The Purdue Global party was great, we had a gingerbread house decorating contest, played pin the tail on the reindeer (much harder than you think!) and had lunch! Since we're all done with classes we used some free time this Tuesday to do a scavenger hunt through Portland and time Thursday to bake cookies and watch some movies. We're looking forward to having a slower schedule around here the next few weeks and starting classes back up on January 15th. See you next year!


STRIVE  U is a comprehensive two-year residential,  post-secondary educational opportunity. To learn more about the program, schedule a tour or get an application, please contact Bill Hughes,  STRIVE  U Admissions Coordinator at  or call 


TOPS students are gaining more confidence and increased independence each and every day. Our students are increasing their cooking skills by trying new recipes, working in the kitchen as a team and making sure to have each food group in the meals they cook. One of our students started making crockpot meals for her lunch while she attends TOPS. So far, she has made teriyaki chicken with carrots and white rice and chicken cacciatore.
Our students continue to explore new places in the community and are slowly getting used to walking on the ice/snow! The importance of weather appropriate layers and shoes is more apparent than ever, with students finding the need to bundle up routinely.

Interested in TOPS? TOPS (Transition Outcomes Program for Students) provides transition programing for high school students in their 13th and 14th school year from area school districts. For more information, please contact Betsy Morrison, 207-774-6278.
Next Step

One of the ongoing goal areas that Next STEP has is to continue to grow and develop in our cooking skills. What we have learned is that it is not just about cooking. This skill includes healthy living, budgeting, comparison shopping and community safety.   Each week we have a Food Lab and a Snack Lab. We start by researching on the internet to look up healthy recipes that we can make. Then we look in our refrigerator and cabinets to see if we have any of the ingredients that we need so we don't have to buy them. After that we make a grocery list and then we budget to see how much money it costs. If it is over our allotted budget, we need to readjust either our quantity or look for something more affordable. Then we go shopping, often walking to our local Hannaford for some exercise and fresh air. Many of the participants have reached their goal of shopping independently at the store for some of the items while others pair up with someone to buy what we need.  We have also gotten quite proficient at the self-checkout! After that, we come back to STRIVE and work together to create a wonderful, well-balanced meal or snack and enjoy eating together. Last but not least, we all pitch in to clean up the kitchen!

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. Part-time and full-time options are available.


We had a great week of Winter Vacation Camp! We saw a show at the USM Planetarium, saw a movie at Cinemagic together, and went to a Red Claws game! Continuing our friendships that we developed during summer camp, as well as through STRIVE Night's and other STRIVE programs, we had a great week together taking some time off from school. We are already looking forward to February Vacation Camp!

Camp STRIVE provides tweens, 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, games and 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.

December was such a fun month for STRIVE Nights! We had back-to-back theme nights this month, with our annual Holiday party on the 21st and our New Year's Celebration on the 28th! Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus paid us a visit on the 21st, and we all got our photos taken with them! We also enjoyed an amazing meal from our friends at Anthony's Italian Kitchen. To celebrate the New Year, we counted down with a ball drop and watched some fireworks on our big projector screen! It felt great to ring in the new year all together.
In January, we're looking forward to Board Game Night! This will be Friday, January 25th. Members are encouraged to bring their favorite board games from home to share and play with friends!

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 welcome, and your first night is free!  STRIVE  Night is every Friday from  6-9pm.  For more information, contact Olivia at 


Tweens had a great month of December! We celebrated STRIVE's birthday, made gingerbread houses and decorated mugs and ornaments that we could use for holiday gifts! More fun will be had in January as we work on New Year's resolutions, complete in Tweens Olympics and dance with Portland Youth Dance!

Tweens is a safe and fun environment to build new skills and friendships for 11-14 year olds with disabilities. For more information, contact Whitney at

Wednesday Night E ducational Series

December's Wednesday Night Educational Series was all about Career Exploration! We took some fun career quizzes to explore what jobs we might be interested in, practiced interviewing skills, learned about resumes and had guests from Vocational Rehabilitation come to talk about their services and ways that we can find employment. We're looking forward to January's series, which is all about stress relievers! We'll practice different stress relieving techniques in the areas of exercise, art, baking and more!

The Wednesday Night Educational Series is held every Wednesday at STRIVE for participants 11-24. 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

After School

After school had a busy month of December and it seemed like a favorite activity was cooking! Our students made a lot of holiday themed snacks including these Grinch fruit kabobs and reindeer sugar cookies. We've also had fun visiting the Animal Refuge League, being active outside on days that it isn't too cold and getting to know new students that have joined the after school program in the past few months!
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, as well as spending time socializing with peers in a relaxed environment. 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  
Happy Birthday to the following STRIVE Members!


We hope you have a great day!

Cole Shiers
Billy Petroska
Lindsay Roberge
Lindsey Foster
Emily Murray
Brittany Bean
Ryan O'Donovan
Owen Wolterbeek
Jordan Young
Sumner Ellis
Nicholas Cataldo
Nathaniel Rines
Peter Tarling
Thomas Hartnott
Leeann Brionez
Marshall Noyes
Jacob Benvie


Thank You to Our Donors

-Matt & Laurie Oliver
-Peter & Mary Hess - In Memory of Andrew John Cloutier
-Beth Allaben - In Honor of Lucas Houk
-Thomas Ahlers
-Hartley & Benson Webster
-Sherman Family Foundation
-Jack & Laura Emack
-Portland Water District
-Rachel Morin - In Honor of Emma Campbell
-Patricia Vierra
Alonzo Fake - In Memory of Mary Jean Fake
-John & Denise Palmer
-David & Fela Shapell Family Foundation
-J. Clarence & Rita Madore
-David Crockett
-Kris Way Truck Leasing, Inc.
-Robert Benoit
-Shoshana and Jeremy Bannett
-Paul McGrath
-Christopher Lynch
-Brian Scanlon

Thank you for your generous support of STRIVE!
General Announcements




STRIVE 25- January 3rd, 2019
Board Game STRIVE Night- January 25th, 2019
STRIVE Rocks- March 16th & 17th, 2019

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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!