PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

March 1st, 2019
It's finally March, and here at STRIVE that means one thing...STRIVE Rocks Weekend! STRIVE Rocks is our largest-scale fundraiser of the year, and this year it's Saturday, March 16th - Sunday March 17th at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. Spanning th e entire weekend, STRIVE Rocks is an incredible event that connects STRIVE with the amazing community around us. During STRIVE Rocks All Day, we open the arena up to the public, and have a family-friendly festival running from 10AM-6PM! We'll have tons of bounce castles, laser tag, an Escape Room, a petting zoo, face painting, Disney Princesses, Stormtroopers, tie dye and more! Admission tickets can be purchased at the door, or in advance at  by clicking on "Buy Tickets !" Check out the STRIVE Rocks All Day facebook event, which has scheduling and activity information as well, by clicking here!

As night falls, we transition into STRIVE Rocks All Night - a fifteen year tradition of staying up all night long dancing the night away, as we raise money and awareness for STRIVE programs. Hundreds of local high schoolers, college students, and STRIVE members will fill the arena, and dance to local bands, DJs, enjoy all you can eat food, games, and more. It's never too late to sign up -- if you'd like to join us for this unforgettable evening, you can sign up at by clicking on "Get Started!" Check out the STRIVE Rocks All Night Facebook event, which has all the details of what to look forward to all night long by clicking  here! 

There is still time to get involved as a sponsor or volunteer as well! If you or your business would like to partner with us for this event, contact Whitney at!

Thank you for your support in helping make this year's STRIVE Rocks biggest and best yet. See you at the arena!
Hannaford Helps!

We have some very exciting news!  The Hannaford Supermarket located on Philbrook Avenue in the Maine Mall plaza  has chosen STRIVE  as a beneficiary of the Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag Program!

This means for the entire month of March, every time a Community Bag is purchased  at the Philbrook Avenue location,  we receive $1!
This is a wonderful opportunity for us, and an easy way for you to show your support for STRIVE, as well as help eliminate paper/plastic use in our community!

To participate, find the reusable bag rack (usually located at checkout), and purchase as many bags as you'd like! Thank you so much to Hannaford for selecting us as the beneficiary for this wonderful program.

3 Points for STRIVE

Remember- the 3 Points for STRIVE campaign is still happening now! Each time the Maine Red Claws score a three-pointer at a home game, Hammond Lumber Company donates $50 to STRIVE! You can be a part of the campaign, too, by pledging any amount per three-point shot! To make your pledge, contact Whitney at 
Go Red Claws!

Calling All Artists!

2019 marks STRIVE's 20th anniversary! To celebrate, we will be having several small-scale celebratory events to commemorate 20 years of success, before having a formal gala in January 2020. Our first event will be an Art Show, happening at the end of April, featuring creations from a number of STRIVE participants! These works will be available for purchase at the show. Interested in submitting a piece, or being involved with this event? Contact Whitney at! We ask that all pieces be submitted by April 18th. Stay tuned for more information!


Join us Thursday, March 7th for STRIVE 25's Mardi Gras Party! STRIVE 25 is a social event for folks 25 and older, and includes a sit down meal. For more information on STRIVE 25, contact Caroline at


The STRIVECast had such an exciting month of February, interviewing two groups of prominent radio hosts back-to-back! We sat down with Eva Matteson of Blake & Eva on Coast 93.1, as well as the morning show gang from Q97.9, Lori, Jeff and Lou! We learned a lot from these seasoned radio veterans and are ready to take what we've learned into an another exciting month of interviews. We also sat down with STRIVE receptionist Chadd Taplin, to begin our series of episodes that will be celebrating 20 years of STRIVE. Chadd has been with STRIVE since the very beginning, and we think he spoke really well about his experience with us after all this time. Earlier in the month, we sat down with Portland City Manager Jon Jennings, who chatted with us all about his career in politics AND in basketball!

The STRIVECast is still seeking sponsors to take us on the radio! If your business would like to advertise on the STRIVECast, contact us at Happy 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 AND edited by people with disabilities! Episodes can be found on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts, as well as on our website and Facebook page. Like what you hear? Shoot us an email at !

February has been an exciting month at Bayside! In learning group, we have been focusing on nutrition. We have been reviewing the food groups, discussing portion sizes, and we have even tried some new foods! So far we have tried mango, kiwi, and brussel sprouts. The kiwi is the most liked food so far! Up next we will be trying zucchini, chickpeas, and purple carrots...we can't wait to see who likes what!

At the beginning of the year, everyone made a new year's resolution and everyone has been working really hard on improving on their skills to reach the goals they have set for themselves.

An exciting new addition to our regular adventure day schedule has been the addition of scavenger hunts once a month. We had our first one at the beginning of February and it was a ton of fun! The scavenger hunt gave us clues to different locations in the community and we used our navigation skills to locate a variety of spots, ending at a café where we got a hot drink and a snack! Next month we will be doing a scavenger hunt at the grocery store to help wrap up our nutrition unit.

As always we are working on staying safe in the community and dressing appropriately for the weather. We have had a few snow days this month, as well as some very cold days. We still have to get our goals accomplished so we make sure to bundle up!

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: Kate McGovern at 774-6278 x309 or


This past month at STRIVE U our social events club hosted a Valentine's Day party, complete with decorations and a fun "pin the diaper on cupid" game! Social events club happens every Saturday and is a chance for current students and alumni to get together. Sometimes we stay on campus but sometimes we go out into the community! If you're a STRIVE U alumni and looking to join please reach out to us for more information - we'd love to see you!
The STRIVE U application process is in full swing! We are currently hosting students for overnight visits. This is when prospective students visit STRIVE U for a night to get a 'feel' for the program. Each overnight student completes on-campus 'goals,' goes to class, socializes with other students and they stay the night in a student apartment! The first overnight student made mac and cheese for dinner, cereal for breakfast, and took the bus to class and back with staff support! This is a great opportunity for prospective students to truly understand all the hard work that goes into being a STRIVE U student. We'll have a total of 10 prospective students visiting us for overnights. The current students have been very eager and excited to show them around STRIVE U and host them for the evenings. We can't wait to see who will be the class of 2021!

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 Bill Hughes, STRIVE U Admissions Coordinator at or call (207) 774-6278.


TOPS has enjoyed a quick February with a few snow days and a relaxing February break! This month, a few of our students in the afternoon group teamed up with STRIVE's Next STEP program to participate in a healthy relationships-focused Women's and Men's Group. The Women's group included 5 participants and discussed relationships, personal image, sexual health and boundaries. The Men's group also had 5 participants and they started off getting to know each other while cooking and then learned how to play a new Wii game together. The goal is to create groups that allow our participants to build connections in a safe and supportive environment.

Our students have also worked on technology skills to increase their independence. One afternoon, all of our students used their cell phones to track when our METRO bus would be arriving. We've explored the pros and cons of social media and even took a shot at recording our own Podcast! The impromptu recording session proved to be an exciting new way to introduce public speaking to our students. While recording, our students had moments of excitement, nervousness, self-reflection and ultimately success.


Interested in TOPS? TOPS (Transition Outcomes Program for Students) provides transition programming 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 learning opportunities in Next STEP is navigating the community safely. At least weekly, Next STEP accesses our activities in the community via the Metro. There are many things to keep track of when utilizing the city's bus system: remembering to have money or a Metro card each time, being careful on the steps of the bus when entering, being aware of strangers, and knowing when to pull the cord at the right stop are just a few things that are important to remember.

As participants grow more familiar and comfortable with this mode of transportation, we encourage them to move toward being as independent as possible and to try different routes on the Metro. Recently, the group decided that they wanted to take the Metro to a different grocery store to buy their items for their food lab rather than walk to the nearby Hannaford as they usually do. They worked together as a team to find out what store was near a bus route and what time they had to be at the bus stop. Not only did that give the participants a different bus route to try but it also gave them a chance to transfer their grocery shopping skills to a new store. Lots of learning all the way around!

Next STEP also continues to look for ways to have inexpensive fun during the winter months. To keep things fun and active during the winter Next STEP has gone snow tubing and will be trying snow shoeing this month!

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 so much fun during February Vacation camp- from seeing the stars at the USM Planetarium to snowshoeing at the Eastern Prom, we had a blast spending time with friends and enjoying time off from school. Our last vacation camp before summer will be during April Vacation -- we'll be running Monday, April 15th - Friday April 19th. The schedule for the week will be released two weeks prior to Camp beginning. For more questions, or to register your camper, contact Olivia at! 

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. 

We had some amazing Friday evenings in February, and welcomed several new members who have now become familiar faces! We had a really fun Valentine's Day dance, and have had some new volunteers join us to make our evenings even more exciting. This month, we're looking forward to our St. Patrick's day theme night! Join us on Friday, March 8th in your greenest outfit. Can't wait to see you there! 

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, with at least one special "theme" night happening each month.  For more information, contact Olivia at 


Tweens had so much fun this past month, and especially enjoyed a visit from our favorite service dog, Briggs! We also had a great afternoon learning all about weather from local meteorologist Jess Conley from News Center Maine. In March, we're looking forward to learning some new moves with Portland Youth Dance, our Spring Fling, and more! Check out our schedule below to see what else we'll be up to.

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 

Wednesday Night E ducational Series

February's series on Emergency Preparedness was so much fun! We learned so much from our guest speakers from local emergency response agencies, like the Scarborough FIre Department, the South Portland Police Department, Maine Medical Center and more. This month we are so excited to begin our Independent Living Series! During the course of the month we'll be exploring various topics all relating to skills we need to be able to live on our own. The cost of the class is $20, and we ask that participants who sign up attend each week of the course. Check out the schedule below!

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

After School

After School has had such a fun month! Settling in with our two awesome new staff Mia and Sam, we've been able to really settle into 2019 together as a fun cohesive group. We've really been enjoying heading to the Animal Refuge League, working on our basketball skills at the gym, and of course just hanging here at STRIVE playing games and relaxing. Usually in March, our After Schoolers like to help in any way they can to prepare for STRIVE Rocks, so you might see us around town picking up banners from local sponsors, purchasing supplies needed for the event, and other things the team needs to be all ready to go! We're excited to help be a part of making the magic happen.

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  
Member Spotlight

Meet Mary! Mary is a long-time STRIVE Night member, and now attends our TOPS program every day! Mary says her favorite part about coming to STRIVE is learning new things, getting to socialize with friends, and dancing during STRIVE Nights!
Staff Spotlight

Meet the STRIVE Events Team -- Pete, Whitney, and Olivia!
STRIVE Program Manager, Whitney, has been working at PSL Services/STRIVE for nine years now, and spent several years supervising our agency's Case Management Program. STRIVE Program & Events Coordinator, Olivia, has worked at STRIVE for over three years, and worked in several programs before she began her current role in 2017. Pete Brown, PSL Services/STRIVE Associate Director, has worked at STRIVE since it's beginning, and has worked in just about every STRIVE Program we've ever had. The Events team also helps bring you the STRIVECast, our podcast that comes out each week! Recently, the team has been hard at work planning STRIVE Rocks 2019 -- they hope to see you there!

Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Shelby! Shelby started volunteering at STRIVE during our Friday Night socials in January, and has been coming nearly Friday the past two months! Shelby comes to Maine from Texas, and is studying physical therapy at UNE, with the hope to " reach their maximum potential, and be able to participate in the activities they want to, regardless of disability!" Shelby says her favorite part of volunteering on Friday Nights is "getting to take a break from the hectic life of grad school and hanging out with some genuinely cool people! From playing chess to having epic dance parties, I always know that I'm going to have a great time with the people at STRIVE." We couldn't agree more, and we love having her! Shelby is always a warm and welcoming face on Fridays, and can always be found engaging STRIVE Night members in tons of fun activities. Thanks for all you do, Shelby!

Happy Birthday to the following STRIVE Members!


To all celebrating birthdays in March - we hope you have a great day!

ZiHao Huang
Eddie Wickwire
Forrest Lizotte
Andrew Tanguay
Carley Chapman
Cory Hutchins
Austin Pietras
Tyler Smith
Andrew Jenkins
Devon Federico
Jordan Curtis
Taylor Geiger
Kait Patterson
Cal Mahoney
Nicholas St. John

Thank You to Our Donors

-        Elizabeth Stanhope
-        Helen Meyer
-        Norman Ray
-        Erin & Michael Soucy
-        Lois & Michael Dennison - In
         Memory of Archie Dennison
-        Susan Aleschus - In Honor of
         Kevin Fitzpatrick
-        Karen Stray-Gindersen & Jane
-        Barry Dunlap - In Honor of
         Caleb Dunlap
-        Jeff & Susie Saffer
-        Luke Labbe
-         Anne Marielle Gennaro - On
         Honor of Emma Campbell
-        Libra Foundation
-        Paul & Anne McKenna - In
         Honor of Caleb Dunlap
-        David & Catherine Crockett
-        Scott & Whitney Liston
-        Jeanne Fernald - In Honor of Lindsey Mae Allard
-        Intermed
-        Newbury Corporation
-        Joel Murray
-        Daniel & Carolyn Griffing
-        UNUM Group
-        United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley
-        Daniel Reardon & Bernadette Woodcock
-        Camy Goodwin

Thank you for your generous support of STRIVE! With your support we are able to continue what we do each and every day.
General Announcements

Mark your calendars for these upcoming STRIVE events!

Mardi Gras Themed STRIVE 25-  March 7th, 2019
St. Patrick's Day STRIVE Night- March 8th, 2019
STRIVE Rocks Packet Pickup/Kickoff Party- Friday, March 15th
STRIVE Rocks Weekend!- March 16th & 17th, 2019
April Camp STRIVE- April 15th-April 19th, 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!