PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

July 1, 2017
Congratulations Graduates!

June at STRIVE is one of our busiest times of the year, as many of our programs hold their annual graduation ceremonies. With students graduating from STRIVE U, TOPS, and Bayside this month, June truly exemplified STRIVE program's goals of transition and independence.

STRIVE U had it's 12th graduation ceremony at The Portland Players in South Portland. The six graduating second-year students have each moved into their own apartments in the community, and celebrated their accomplishments with a crowd of over 100 people.

TOPS boasted thirteen graduates this year from six school districts, and each of them spoke here in our STRIVE center about their year (or two!) preparing to transition out of high school and into adulthood.

Bayside had three graduates this year, and each has already started at STRIVE U! The graduates each gave speeches and celebrated their individual and cumulative success.

STRIVE congratulates the 2017 graduates- we could not be more proud!
Foden Road 5K Race- Saturday September 9th!
We're gearing up for our 6th Annual Foden Road 5K Road Race! The is an accessible course suitable for all ability levels, great for veteran and novice runners alike. This is a timed race and all participants will receive a t-shirt and medal! Following the race is a block party with family-friendly activities, live music, food, and more!  Registration is $25 in advance, save $5 online with the code "EARLYBIRD." Registration is $30 day-of. Kids run free with participating adult! 
To sign up, or to arrange for a free booth for your business at our block party:

TOPS Program

Our 2 nd school year has come to a close with 13 students successfully graduating!  This June we are preparing for the 2017-2018 TOPS school year.  TOPS offers an Extended School Year (ESY) program for the 2 nd which provides student's time to get to know one another and ease into the structure of TOPS. TOPS ESY will run from July 10 th -August 17 th from 8am-12pm. 

This summer, we welcome Whitney Scales, an intern from SMCC. She plans to take in every experience she gets, gain essential skills working with participants and will fully embrace the community that is STRIVE. Whitney will shadow many programs throughout her internship but will primarily work with TOPS. Please help us welcome her into our amazing community! 

TOPS (Transition Outcomes Program for Students) is a transition program for current high school students in their 
post-graduate years.  Partnered with 15 schools in Southern Maine. TOPS is a leader in transition preparation for students as they work toward independence. 
For more info. contact Kelly Frey .



The beginning of summer is an exciting time of year at STRIVE U. The second year students are preparing for graduation and the next chapter of their lives. STRIVE U Graduation was held on June 24th  at the Portland Players in South Portland. By the time of graduation, all of the second year students had settled into their new apartments and made their post-graduation plans. Many students plan to work, volunteer, and enjoy their new life in their apartments!

The second year students took a well-deserved break from graduation preparation to enjoy their "Second Year Trip" to Boston, Massachusetts. The trip is held every year to celebrate the second year students successes in the program.
The trip gave the students an opportunity to relax and socialize with their peers before graduating. They enjoyed taking the train to and from Boston and went to the New England Aquarium, took a Duck Tour around the city, and ate a delicious lunch at the Hard Rock Café. They finished off the day by walking around Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall.

Meanwhile, the incoming students moved into their new apartments on campus on June 25th. Following move-in day, the incoming students will benefit from two weeks of STRIVE U orientation, where they will enjoy many fun outings and learn all about campus life.
Congratulations to the class of 2017! We are so excited for what the future holds for you.

If you would like to watch the video of the 2017 STRIVE U graduation in it's entirety, please visit
June was another month of changes at STRIVE Bayside! We said goodbye to three Baysiders who are all going to STRIVE U! We are so excited, happy and proud of them for taking the next step in their independence. While STRIVE Bayside isn't meant to prepare individuals for STRIVE U, it is a great way to learn some really valuable independent living skills and prepare you for whatever your next step in independence may be! We have also welcomed some new participants to STRIVE Bayside, Emily has started after graduating from TOPS, and Matt is coming to us part time from our ACTIVE day program. Welcome Emily and Matt! We can't wait to see what the summer has in store.

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. We currently have openings in our morning and afternoon sessions, space is limited to 8 participants in each session. If you would like more information about our program, or to schedule a tour please contact:
Caroline Cole at 774-6278 or
Next Step

This past month, Next STEP has been all about being outside!  Next STEP enjoyed a beautiful  morning in June taking the ferry and enjoying some time at Peaks Island. They explored the island and got to have lunch on the beach.  Also, Next STEP spent one afternoon exploring the Old Port! We walked all around,  did some window shopping and stopped at Dunkin Donuts where they met some awesome Fire Fighters and got a picture in front of their truck!  It's so wonderful to explore all that Portland has to offer!

This past month we have also welcomed two new Next STEPpers.  We would like to welcome Elena and Bridget to the program!

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.  Contact Betsy Morrison at or 207-774-6278 if you would like more information.
Tweens continues to be STRIVE's fastest-growing program, with 11-14 year olds coming each Friday to create and maintain friendships, play games, learn new things, and of course have a blast. This spring we enjoyed events like taking the South Portland Bus, making mod-podge art projects, learning about honey bees, hanging with a police officer and more!

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



STRIVE Night's this spring have been so much fun, with theme nights from Beach Bash to Hawaiin Luau! During our Luau, we had a special guest artist Mia B. come in and facilitate a paint night for us! This really gave many participants a chance to express their artistic side, and we were so impressed with the paintings they made!

Spring also brought the annual election of our Advisory Board, and we're thrilled to announce our 2017-2018 members!
President: Josh
Vice President: Eben
Treasurer: Emma
Secretary: Consta
Inclusion Officers: Michael, Caleb, Bridget

Our upcoming theme nights are:
Friday, July 7th- Independence Day Celebration!
Friday, July 28th- Ballpark Night!

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 welcome, and your first night is free!  For more information, contact Olivia at
Wednesday Night Educational Series

June's "Love Maine" series has been such an adventure, exploring the environment right in our own backyard. We've delved into topics of the oceans, mountains, and forests. We expanded our nature vocabulary- ask any one of our students what an estuary is, and they can tell you! Thanks to Michaela from USM for teaching this series.

In July, Wednesday Ed will jump into our Art of Storytelling series! Students will engage in the different storytelling methods, culminating in a coffee-shop style performance! Cost of the class is $20. For more information, contact Michaila at

After School

After School just wrapped up our final week! We had such a fun time heading to places that the students chose themselves, allowing them to just enjoy the company of their peers and the warm weather!
It has been so amazing to watch the skillset of our After School students grow over the year, from cooking to community navigation, the confidence in our students shows and we are so proud of them.
After School will begin again August 30th! Contact Olivia for more information at 

Camp STRIVE   

Camp STRIVE just got underway, with our first week numbers hitting over ten campers every day! Our first week was so much fun, with trips to  LL Bean, Get Air, mini golfing and more. We have three counselors this summer, with Emily returning from last year! It's been awesome this week to watch new friendships form and to bring our campers to all the amazing places Southern Maine has to offer. We're so excited to be running for ten weeks this summer and can't wait for all the fun trips and events we have planned!

Camp STRIVE provides tween, 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.                              
Aktion Club 
Aktion Club held a great wash two weeks ago, and raised over $95! The members did a great job working together and making sure every car got squeaky claen.
Aktion Club's next car wash will be Wednesday, July 19th! See you there!

STRIVE and Aktion Club would like to thank Judy Sarapas for volunteering with us!

Interested in joining Aktion Club? Come to our next meeting! All meetings are at 3:15pm in the big conference room at STRIVE. 

Staff Spotlight

STRIVE would like to say a giant thank you and farewell to our 2016-2017 Jesuit Volunteer Michaila! Michaila began with us in the summer of 2016 and took STRIVE by storm, taking over our Tweens, Wednesday Ed, and Aktion Club programs. In addition to all of that, she also helped supervise STRIVE Night every Friday, and had a huge role played a huge role in all of our fundraising events!

Michaila, who hailed proudly from the state and University of Michigan, will be heading to Atlanta with her fiancée to begin graduate school at Emory University- Rollins School of Public Health! We will miss her very much and we know so many participants will as well.  If you see Michaila before her last day on July 28th give her an enormous thank you!

Michaila, you've been incredible- Thank you for all you've done for STRIVE.

Member Spotlight

Meet Thomas! Thomas is a weekly STRIVE Night attendant, and also is part of our PSL day program. Last year, Thomas graduated from our TOPS program, and loves to see his friends and former TOPS classmates here every day. Thomas says his favorite part about STRIVE is "cooking, dancing, and volunteering." We love having Thomas here; he brightens up our day with his knowledge of U.S. presidents, MLB players (current and retired), and other athletes! Say hello to Thomas next time you see him around!

Happy Birthday to the following STRIVE Members!

Amanda Lee Byars
Alec Hudson
Ashley Christy
James Belanger
Dan Pietroskil
Wellyn Pinkerton
Elena Johnson
Jack Prato
Brady Fitzgerald
Kaj Ovady
Taylor Googins
Carter Harnden
Nathan Murray
Gabrielle (Gabby) Sloan
Darren Ingraham
Patrick Taylor
Olivia Lauren Sailor
Karrina (KiKi) Darling
Jakob (Jake) McDonough
Matthew Poland
Wellyn Pinkerton
Nolan Dorrance
Tyler Carr
Emily Wight
Camden Ryan
Jack Christensen

We hope you have a great day!
Thank You to Our Donors

-           Lisa Gorman
-           Robert  & Erin Rowan
-           Heather McGeough
-           Allan McHale
-           Esther & Paul Pappas
-           Charles & Robin Buckley
-           Richard & Barbara Wigton
-           Carl Bradford
-           Esther & Brian Yardumain-Smith
-           Veronica & David Emery
-           Paul & Peggy Maniscalco

Thank you for your contributions to STRIVE!
General Announcements

-PSL Services/STRIVE will be closed Tuesday, July 4th.


Foden Road 5K Race-   Saturday, September 9th
STRIVE Auction-  Wednesday, November 8th

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!