PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

July 1st, 2020
COVID-19 Update
As the calendar roles over to July, we continue to increase our programming 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! 

For those of you that might not know, STRIVE Rocks is STRIVE's largest fundraiser of the year. Usually held in the Spring, STRIVE Rocks is a full weekend event at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. The event is split into two parts, STRIVE Rocks ALL DAY- a family friendly festival geared towards all ages, and STRIVE Rocks ALL NIGHT- an overnight dance marathon for young adults (STRIVE participants and local high school students). Since we're not able to hold the event in person this year, we are doing our ALL NIGHT portion of the event virtually!

The STRIVE events team has been hard at work making this year's STRIVE Rocks just as much fun (if not more) as the in-person event!

Are you ready to stay up all night??!

We hope you've heard by now that we're doing a virtual STRIVE Rocks ALL NIGHT! We have so many fun theme hours, activities, games, entertainment and more planned- and even some surprise guests! 

STRIVE Rocks will take place starting at Friday, July 17th, at 8pm until 8am, Saturday, July 18th ! 

To participate in STRIVE Rocks 2020, all you'll need to do is  fundraise a minimum of $20 to get the link to enter!

* Raise $25 or more and you'll get a T-Shirt!
* Raise $500 or more and you'll get a T-Shirt & Quarter Zip Sweatshirt
* Raise $1,000 or more and you'll get a T-Shirt, Quarter Zip Sweatshirt, and a Fleece Hoodie!
* Family rate (for families who have more than one person wanting to participate)- $50

To register or donate to the event, visit! Registration will stay open right up until the event begins! 

For those who registered before 06/15, we will be holding a drive-thru STRIVE Rocks t-shirt pick up! 

Even though this STRIVE Rocks may look a little different, our amazing sponsors are still involved! Thank you to our 2020 sponsors! 

Be sure to keep your eye out on our social media pages and your inboxes for more updates about the event! 

Questions or suggestions about any upcoming events? Contact STRIVE Program Director, Whitney Wildes at !


STRIVE WorldWIDE is offering an online Summer Extended Learning Program! This course will be focusing on Self-Advocacy, Boundaries, Time Management, Organization, and Social-Emotional learning. It will run from July 6 August 13 and will meet online from 12-2:30 PM Monday-Thursday. If you or someone you know is interested in our Extended School Year program, contact Anne Ryan at

If you or someone you know wants to be a part of our regular STRIVE WorldWIDE program,  register now  for our Social Skills & Healthy Relationships class which starts on July 6, 2020! Or for more information, reach out to Anne Ryan at


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.

We had a busy month of June on the STRIVECast! We emailed a lot of exciting and interesting guests, as well as had another sponsor for the show! Jeff,  Noel, and Susie sat down with new friends from the Greater Portland METRO, the National Auto Body Council, ASAP Taxi, Firstperson Services and NAMI Maine! NAMI Maine sponsored two of our episodes, to help spread the word about two of their new initiatives started during COVID-19.

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 !

Virtual STRIVE 25 continues to be a hit! We usually have 20+ participants join for each social. It's fun to check in with everyone to see what they've been up to while at home. A lot of us have been staying very active by riding bikes, going for walks, or running in our neighborhoods. After our check-ins, we always sing karaoke and play Bingo. It's nice to know that some of our favorite things about STRIVE 25 can still be done virtually (except for Judy's dinners!). 

Since our first STRIVE 25 back in March was a hit, we've decided to do them more frequently and have started to meet every other Thursday while we're all at home. Our July STRIVE 25 dates are Thursday, July 9th and 23rd, both from 6-8pm. To join in on the fun, contact Olivia at

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


STRIVE U started to welcome students back to campus in June. Several students have returned over the course of the month and are starting to learn how to navigate life in Portland as it now operates. The students have been learning proper apartment-sanitization protocol and have been learning new ways to socialize with family and friends. They have been learning about this in Learning Group as well. The students have started an Employment Group to keep their employment skills sharp during this time. This month also kicks off STRIVE U's first 3rd year of programming, which is offered to the current two cohort groups due to the shift in programming delivery right now. The students have shown amazing resiliency and flexibility and we are all excited to grow together for an additional year!
STRIVE U also wishes a HUGE congratulations to Ashley Bowers who has completed her coursework and progress through the program on June 20th. Ashley moved into her own apartment and is ready to take on her next adventure. We wish you well, Ashley, and congratulations on achieving your goals and putting in such hard work! 
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!!! What a couple of months we have had! We started off having our program on Zoom. It went very well- keeping our participants in touch with each other and helping to keep up with our Bayside goals.

We have now transitioned into two groups, one with Zoom chats each Monday through Friday morning , and our other group meeting at Central Office, where we have set up a classroom that permits social distancing yet still allows us to work on our goals.

This month we have been working on virtual tours of the East and West ends of Portland for our navigation goal. We have been focused on cooking with some history on where our food comes from and how it is made. We have looked into spices, honey, pasta, and various kinds of meat. We continued to address our Money and Budgeting goal with worksheets on  coins and their value. The participants have enjoyed looking up virtual videos on how things are made, as well as good news in the world discussing their chosen topics. And, of course, each Friday we have a virtual Adventure Day. We bring both groups together through Zoom and together we go on virtual tours of their choice. 

This definitely has been a learning experience for everyone, and we are so proud of our participants with how they are adapting to this new way of reaching their goals each week. A lesson we have all learned is that we can adapt and overcome obstacles. We must add a huge, THANK YOU, to the participants and to the supporting staff from STRIVE that enable us to keep quality programming for all.

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

What a month! Every June, the TOPS Program goes through its own transition; shifting from one group of students to the next. TOPS has now collaborated with 17 schools, worked with 60 students, completed 5 full school years and grown out of 3 classrooms!
Our TOPS Team wanted to send a special 'Thank you' to all our school contacts for the continuous support, meaningful collaboration and for allowing us to serve your students over the past 5 years.   It is because of all of you that our program has grown to be incredibly successful.

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.


Next STEP has continued to offer weekly virtual Zoom gatherings and plans to offer in-person programming beginning the middle of July. As a means to help participants to get a glimpse of our new and wonderful program space at STRIVE Studios, we recently took a virtual tour there. The space is light and airy and spacious! There is even a large room with garage-type doors that can be opened to provide an indoor/outdoor feel. PSL/STRIVE's Active program has been offering programming there since June 1st and it has gone exceptionally well.

As we have shared before, we are doing everything possible to provide a safe and enjoyable environment during this time of COVID-19. We are cleaning and sanitizing multiple times a day. Additionally, we are all wearing masks and providing ongoing education on hand washing and physical distancing. We have also all worked together as a collective staff of PSL/STRIVE to share ideas of activities that are fun as well as educational. We hope our current participants will consider returning and welcome new participants to join!


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.


June has been such a fun month for Virtual STRIVE Night's! This online socialization platform has been such a great way to watch so many participants come out of their shells. Many members who usually are shy to sing or dance in person have been belting tunes in karaoke and busting out dance moves each week! We have also been seeing consistent large numbers for our groups- averaging around 30 people each week! 

We've also had new members join who had never been to STRIVE Night in person before- and our first out-of-state participant, all the way from Arizona! While we certainly miss all getting to be together in person, we've been trying to look at the positives that our virtual option provides, too.

Want to join a Virtual STRIVE Night? Email Olivia at to get the link to join! We hope to see you online 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 have been having a great month of Tweens online! We've virtually visited the San Diego Zoo, created some drawing projects, did a fun scavenger hunt, and are looking forward to another fun month in July!

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

We're still having a great time doing virtual learning during our Wednesday Night Educational Series! We really enjoyed our last class which was all about nutrition and kitchen safety. We especially loved Chef Brad's knife skills demonstration and playing different trivia games on Kahoot! 

Our current class is about Awareness. We are learning and practicing different types of awareness like self awareness, emotional awareness, and learning to be aware of our surroundings. We have a bunch of fun activities planned to help us understand these topics better!

 At the end of July, we will be focusing on a new topic- Going Green! 

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

The first phase of re-opening the Active program has gone well this month. Participants are enjoying getting to see their peers and staff again in person. Some participants have had the opportunity to attend program at our new STRIVE Studios location and others are spending their time at our Central Office. Some highlights of the last few weeks have been going on walks outside, doing artwork, playing ukulele, learning about music culture, doing Qi Gong, yoga and joining our weekly dance group. While the transition to wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and frequent hand washing can be challenging, we are grateful that we can resume programming and get creative with our center-based activities.
Additionally, our ACTIVE Zoom-iverse is still alive and well. Since beginning with Zooms in late March, we have brought our daily Zoom group offerings from 2 groups per day up to about 8 per day! We have gotten very creative with groups like virtual tours of museums, National Parks, and zoos, as well as working on a short story in Writing Group. Not to mention Gardening Group, Budgeting Group, and Chair Yoga, just to name a few of our newest additions. We are still offering Zoom groups to participants who are attending on-site programming, as well as those remaining off-site. Thank you to our team and our participants for working so hard to keep everyone healthy!

For more information on PSL Services' Community Support Day Programs,
 Active & Waves, please contact Emily at

Just a reminder- With a heavy heart, the decision has been made that Camp STRIVE will not be offering programming for Summer 2020. After discussing all of the potential options of what Camp could look like, we didn't feel that we could, in good faith, offer the same enriching and beneficial Camp STRIVE experience, as well as ensure complete safety for campers and staff, with all of the limiting factors COVID-19 has thrown our way. We know this will be difficult news for many of our campers, and we want you to know we are here to support them in any way we can.

For any questions about Camp STRIVE, contact Olivia at We'll hope to see you for Summer 2021!

Happy Birthday to the following STRIVE Members!


To all who are celebrating birthdays in July- 
we hope you have a great day!
Elena Johnson
Jack Prato
Richard James Smith
Taylor Googins
Joanne Haibon
Carter Harnden
Nate Murray
Gabby Sloan
Darren Ingraham
Patrick Taylor
Olivia Lauren Sailor
Karrina Darling
Jakob McDonough
Nathan Ickes-Coon
Jack Christensen
Camden Ryan
Brady Fitzgerald
Kaj Ovady

Thank You to Our June Donors!


Glenn and Doris Meehan
Teri Berenson
Lori and Josephine McGillan - In Memory of Gladys Keegan
Donna Currie - In Memory of Gladys Keegan
Vincent and Katherine Bernier - In Memory of Gladys Keegan
Robyn McCalmon
Tracy Welsch
Katie Spotz

Also- a very special thank you to those contributing to our virtual STRIVE Rocks event! 

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 Olivia! Olivia has been a member of STRIVE Night and our Wednesday Night Educational series for several years now. On Friday's, you can usually find Olivia completing a puzzle in record time (she's a real puzzle-whiz!), dancing with friends to our weekly songs, or creating one of her famous drawings- she's a very talented artist! Olivia has also joined us every Friday for our Virtual STRIVE Night's, and we love having her as a part of those as well. Say hello to Olivia next time you see her around STRIVE, when we re-open!
STRIVE Volunteer Spotlight 

We want to extend a HUGE thank you to the entertainers and special guests who are volunteering their time and talents to make STRIVE Rocks- The Virtual Edition- possible! We are so grateful for your support and help in making STRIVE Rocks fun and exciting! Also, a special thanks to our local news and radio personalities for helping us spread the word about the event! We wouldn't be able to put this event on without the support of all of you - so on behalf of all of us at STRIVE - THANK YOU! We can't wait to ROCK with you on the 17th!


General Announcements

July 3rd:  CLOSED *please note we will not have Tweens and STRIVE Night*
July 9th and July 23rd: Virtual STRIVE 25 
July 17-July 18th: STRIVE Rocks-The Virtual Edition! 

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!