PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

June 1st, 2020
COVID-19 Update

Since March, our teams have been working nearly around the clock to move and conduct successful programming remotely.  For some that is via Zoom, others FaceTime or Skype, or others over the phone.  Our residential programs also still have people remaining in their apartments, so we have continued to support them throughout this.  As we head into June, we are slowly beginning to bring back some of our programs on the ground.  Our Day Programs, ACTIVE, Next STEP, and Bayside will all be holding soft openings starting on June 1st.  Staff of these programs have been working closely with CDC and OADS guidelines as a minimum for our participants and employees safety.  Starting with our opening in June, we will be using three different locations for programming, and have committed to have no more than 10 people in each building at one time.  By keeping our numbers low, this allows us to give increased attention to each participant.  Everyone will be required to wear a mask, undergo temperature and oxygen level checks, and frequently wash hands thoroughly. We have also shortened the duration of these schedules, giving our team additional time to clean and disinfect between sessions.  Much, much, more is planned- if you have questions or would like further information, please reach out to our Community Services Director, Veerle Pottie at or (207) 774-6278.

At the same time, we understand that not everyone is ready to come back to program.  This is a very individualized choice for each family.  Also starting in June, we have added many additional remote opportunities, including groups that are offered in the evening and on weekends.  This will supplement the already excellent programming that our team has been offering via Zoom for the past 11+ weeks!  We're excited about being able to offer more and keep everyone connected.  If you would like more information, please contact Veerle or Emily Wirght at

These are just a few of our programs, and we continue to find new and innovative ways to be there and stay connected with our STRIVE Community.  We have lots of great things planned for the summer and beyond- and while they may look a little different, you'll still see the STRIVE difference in each of them!  As always, please reach out with your questions, suggestions, and ideas.

The future of STRIVE events! 

Hello STRIVE Community! The STRIVE events team has been hard at work by thinking of creative ideas for our usual events. We wanted to give you an update on our plans for your some of your favorite annual STRIVE events! 

Since we had to postpone our in-person STRIVE Rocks 2020, we're trying to think of some way to still be able to have a STRIVE Rocks-esque event! We are in the very early stages of planning, but want to do an STRIVE Rocks ALL NIGHT event over Zoom! Join us from 8pm to 8am for all you love about STRIVE Rocks, only with a virtual twist. For only $20, you can join us for 12 hours (or as long as you'd like!) of fun. We'll have bands, special guests, games, prizes, and more! Sorry, you'll have provide your own all-you-can-eat food :) A minimum of $25 will get you a special STRIVE Rocks T-shirt! 

Still want to fundraise for STRIVE Rocks? You'll be able to do so through MobileCause. See if people will "sponsor" you for each hour you are staying awake in support of STRIVE. Share on your social media pages to get more people involved, pledge to do a shout out to each person who donates, or more! For information on how to set up a fundraising page, visit our STRIVE Rocks website HERE

We are planning our virtual STRIVE Rocks for Friday, July 17th. Keep your eye on our social media pages and your inboxes for more details! 

STRIVE's annual auction, usually held in October, might look a little different this year. Since we aren't sure what our world will look like come fall, we've decided to hold the auction virtually! We will be using an online auction site called Bidding For Good, where you can bid on items from the comfort of your own home using a computer or mobile device! 

We'll still have the same great categories, with the addition of our newest category- "Flea Market Flip"!  W e're looking to our community to re-furbish or create some things in their home , and send them our way! Have some jewelry, art, or other things that might be good for this event? Are you handy and can do some woodworking, reupholster an old chair, make a bookcase out of a ladder? Not crafty and already did your Spring cleaning? If you have the means, boost our local community by purchasing a gift certificate from your favorite business and donate that! The possibilities are endless! We'd love to auction off what you have or can create! If you have something you'd like to include in the auction, contact Whitney at


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


STRIVE WorldWIDE is offering an online Extended School Year Program! This offering will be separate from what will be offered to those students who will be attending the TOPS program this summer and fall. The program is for high school students who qualify for ESY. 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 Betsy Morrison

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.

May was a great month for the STRIVECast, as we continued our Zoom recordings! We've been loving getting to create the STRIVECast as both a visual and audio show, and hope you all have been enjoying watching and listening! The video aspect gives us all a chance to work on social skills - both in terms of "Zoom etiquette," but also in terms of connecting virtually with our guests and our listeners! This month we had a bunch of fun guests in our lineup! Jeff and Noel interviewed Jeff Taylor (Ryan's brother!), who creates amazing mosaic art, Roy Gerstenberger, who runs an organization similar to STRIVE in Vermont, and more! We even interviewed our very own Program Director and Producer, Whitney! Whitney explained how our Auction is now going to be online this year, and what that will look like.

Do you have guest suggestions, ideas for fun games we could play, or want to participate 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 !

We been having so much fun during STRIVE 25! It is so nice to check in with friends that we aren't able to see in person. We've also had a number of new friends join us! Even though we're not at the STRIVE Center and miss Judy's delicious dinners, we are still having fun signing karaoke and playing Bingo. 

Since our first STRIVE 25 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 next STRIVE 25 is scheduled for Thursday, June 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 has had a busy month while we support students virtually and on campus! We have been working hard with students over zoom. We have been learning through classes like Purdue Global, Learning Group, Employment Class, Art Group, Exercise class and more! We've still been working on meal prep, cleaning, budgeting and organizational independent living skills over zoom, too. 

One highlight of the month was the Second Year Presentations. The Purdue Global team did a fantastic job with the website that highlighted each student's individual presentation. There was even a live event online that kicked off the students presentations. The live event was enjoyed by all who attended!


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
Although our After School program concluded its year earlier than expected, those who attended had a great year of learning, socializing and accessing the community. We look forward to offering this program again in the fall. Here are some highlights from our year.

After School is an enrichment program designed to complement a student's school day. 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, based on availability. 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  for more information.


Well, another month has gone by and everyone at Bayside has been getting comfortable with using our Zoom chat every morning. I want to thank all of you that participate, including parents, that show their support for this new way of learning. 

We have gotten into a nice routine for each day. On Mondays we do navigation skills by using Google Map.  The group picks a location and we travel there virtually.  We have gone to some familiar places, like Hannaford and the bank.  We also took a trip down  Commercial Street and searched for landmarks that our Bayside participants could identify, like DiMillos Restaurant and Marina as well as many other buildings along the way.  On Tuesdays,  we are still working on Cooking Skills by seeking out recipes that we can do at home, like  Chocolate Chip Cookies and yummy Cereal Bars. After selecting the recipe, we go over every aspect of it. Wednesdays have been dedicated to money skills, by using money math sheets we are working on real life scenarios of planning how much money we present to a business and how much change we would expect to get back. We have been having some great fun on Thursdays with the weekly "Topic of Interest".  We all have to look up our favorite songs and movies and write about them, followed by a presentation to the group. Since we cannot get out for our regular "Fun Day," Fridays have been interesting. We are still having fun by  doing a virtual tours.  This month we have visited Outer Space and a Horse Farm, as well as playing some group games on Zoom. 

Thank you Bayside for a wonderful and successful month in keeping up with your goals.

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

TOPS is celebrating two significant events this month; the completion of their 5th school year and the graduation of our biggest class yet!   On May 27th, TOPS held a virtual graduation, celebrating all 16 students from 9 respective high schools.   Throughout the month, the students prepared and recorded their speeches, solidified plans for after graduation with all things considered and reminisced on their year together.

As TOPS transitions into their next school year, they will be welcoming 16 new students and 3 returning students, joining us from 7 respective high schools. TOPS has hosted virtual Meet and Greet events for the students to get to know each other. This summer, TOPS will be holding their 6-week Extended School Year Program virtually.


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.

While we have been home, Next STEP has met twice a week via Zoom. One of the activities that we have been practicing has been effective ways to socialize with one another while on video conferences. Rather than staff initiating conversations, Next STEP participants have been taking turns checking in during our Zoom meetings by asking each other questions like "How are you?" "Did you have a good night?" "What did you do this weekend?". Practicing conversational skills virtually will carry over to initiating conversations in-person.

We have also continued to reinforce our independent skills while at home. We have been watching videos on topics such as good dusting techniques and how to keep our spaces clean and then have been given a "chore challenge". Participants have been encouraged to practice the skills in between Zoom sessions that we discussed, take a picture of themselves doing those chores and then reporting back to the group.

We have also had some fun during our meetings. We've used some great drawing videos and together we've drawn pictures of things like a T-Rex and a Sea Lion. Doing this together has produced not only fun pictures but lots of laughs and comradery!

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.


We've had another great month of Virtual STRIVE Nights! We've really gotten the hang of our Friday Night routine, and it's been really fun to see people who are typically fairly shy in person be able to flourish in this online setting. One new thing we added this past month was starting a peer-to-peer check in, rather than a staff check-in. This means, instead of our staff calling on each person to check in, our participants are responsible for choosing who they'd like to check in with, and coming up with the questions to ask them! Some of the most popular check-in questions have been "what has been the best part of your week?", and, "what are you up to this weekend?". This new method has not only been helpful for our social skills, but it also helps our participants to connect with their friends in a more direct way. 

We've still, of course, been having a weekly Karaoke Hour, and have been enjoying new games like virtual Bingo, and charades!

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 had a fun month of Virtual Tweens! It was really great to be able to watch two tweens who usually only see each other during this program in-person be able to re-connect, as well as establish other methods of communicating with each other so they can keep in touch outside of the program! A few weeks ago, we had both of these participants draw each other, and then themselves as a fun art activity. We think they both came out amazingly! Check out their self-portraits below!

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

Virtual classes have been going great for the Wednesday Night Ed crew! Since our lat newsletter, we wrapped up classes on stress relievers. During class, we practiced different types of stress relieving activities, like yoga, breathing exercises, writing  and more! 

We're now learning about kitchen safety and nutrition. During our first class we learned about the different elements of food (calories, carbs, fat) and portions using the "My Plate" template". We've also practiced reading nutrition labels and did an at-home scavenger hunt! We're really looking forward to a knife safety demo with Chef Brad in a few weeks! 

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

Everyone who is a part of ACTIVE has become an expert at Zoom these last two months. Some people spend up to 5 hours a day on Zoom chats!!! While we haven't been able to do all of the same things and activities that we are used to doing, we have been staying busy with classes like writing group, reading group, music group, meditation, online yoga with Emily W., Wednesday Dance with April, Qi Gong with David B., exploring maps, aquariums, and zoos with Kevin, movement group with Seacoast United, art with the STRIVE Studios team, and of course Newsletter Group, just to name a few! And let's not forget about our daily 11am and 3pm check-ins with staff and peers where we joke and play games like Ask Around and Virtual Hangman.

 Needless to say, while we are missing each other and biting at the bit to get back to Foden Road, we are making the best with what we've got to stick together.

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

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 June- 
we hope you have a great day!

Morgan Adams
Alexander Doyer
Greta Anderson
Courney Houde
Emily Bell
Roberta Anderson
Danielle Doherty
Charlie Saffian
Andy Le
Mary Leahy
Joshua Small
Stephanie Elsman
Samantha Gauthier
Caleb Dunlap
Kyle Sargent

Thank You to Our May Donors!


Katie Spotz
Robyn McCalmon
Richard Caron
Laurie Norton Moffatt

Thank you for your generous support of STRIVE! With your support, we are able to continue our work each and every day.

Also- a very special thank you to STRIVE Rocks participant Gabby, and her mom Joanna, who are making face masks with all proceeds going toward Gabby's STRIVE Rocks page! Would you like one? Check out our Facebook page to order a few today! 

STRIVE Member Spotlight 

Meet Mary! Mary has been coming to STRIVE since she was a Tween, back in 2014! Mary has also attended Camp STRIVE for many summers, and also is now a regular STRIVE Night member! We have loved getting to watch Mary grow over the past few years- she has really come out of her shell. She's gone from being one of our more shy and quiet campers to just last Friday participating in karaoke for the first time during virtual STRIVE Night! Next time you see Mary in a program, say hello!

STRIVE Volunteer Spotlight 

Meet Peggy! Peggy is one of our long time volunteers and friend of STRIVE. Peggy does SO MUCH for our programs and also serves on our auction committee. Peggy and her family were awarded "Volunteers of the Year" at our 20th Anniversary Gala. 

While we've been home in quarantine, Peggy has been hard at work making face masks for our participants to wear once we are back at program. Pictured below is her hard work. How many masks do you think she has made already? 

Thank you for putting in so much time and effort to make sure we are safe when we can all be back together again.  We are so grateful for all you do for STRIVE, Peggy! 



Below are some resources that may be helpful during these times.

Prepared Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services: 

Food Delivery Apps/Websites: 

Grocery/Home Needs Services:
Walmart- pickup and some delivery may be available (based on location) 
Targetpickup and some delivery may be available (based on location) 
Shaw'spickup and some delivery may be available (based on location) 
Rosemont Marketspickup and delivery may be available (based on location) 
Instacart- multiple store listed for delivery options (based on location) 

Pharmacy Services:
CVS- drive-thru and delivery options 
Walgreens- drive-thru
Hannaford Pharmacy - drive-thru

Laundry Services: 
Portland Dry Cleaners - drop off or delivery 

Online Fitness:
YogaWorks - free online yoga classes
Tula Studios- free online yoga, HIIT, and barre classes
Lisa East End Yoga- free online yoga classes
Portland Yoga Studio- free flows and yoga instructional videos
Hustle and Flow- free dance classes
Orange Theory- free 30 minute classes
Planet Fitness- free 20 minute workouts 

Misc. Resources: 

Our friends at Yelp Maine have also complied some great lists of resources throughout the state. Check them out below! Thanks, Yelp!! 

We know this is just a short list of all of the resources available. If you know of more, please send them to  so we can share them  with our PSL Services/STRIVE community! Thanks! 
Some friendly reminders...

...and please, stay home if you aren't feeling well.

General Announcements

Keep your eye out for re-scheduled STRIVE events!

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!