PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

March 1st, 2020
Introducing PSL Services/STRIVE's newest program... 


PSL Services/STRIVE is happy to announce the creation of our newest program- STRIVE Studios! 

STRIVE Studios is a new, dedicated art program located on Warren Ave in Portland. We will be offering a range of mediums such as ceramics, painting, sewing, screen printing, beading and digital photography.

More specifically, classes will encompass projects like hand building, glazing, and firing functional ceramic objects like bowls and mugs, while also allowing room for inventive sculptural structures. Sewing projects will give clients the opportunity to shop and pick out their own fabrics, and learn how to operate a sewing machine, starting with pillows and graduating from there. With screen printing, we hope to use this technique as a way to promote STRIVE fundraisers such as posters, apparel, and printed 

STRIVE Studios will be part of PSL/STRIVE's Section 21/29 Community Support Programming. Other PSL/STRIVE programs will also have the abilities to use the space. 

Do you or someone you know have artistic skills and abilities that you'd like to share with others? We are looking for instructors! We will also be offering work-trade opportunities to instructors that are interested.

For more information about the program or instructing, visit our STRIVE Studios website at or contact PSL/STRIVE's Community Support Program Manager, Emily Wright, at!

Save the date! STRIVE Rocks 2020!

STRIVE Rocks 2020 is on it's way! This year, STRIVE Rocks 2020 will be held May 2nd and 3rd  at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

STRIVE Rocks is broken into two parts, STRIVE Rocks ALL DAY (10a-6p, May 2nd) and STRIVE Rocks ALL NIGHT (8p, May 2nd to    8am, May 3rd). STRIVE Rocks ALL DAY is a family friendly festival. STRIVE Rocks ALL NIGHT is held immediately after STRIVE Rocks ALL DAY and is an opportunity for young adults of all ability levels to socialize together. 

During both portions of the event, the Cross Insurance Arena is filled with music, inflatable bounce houses and games, interactive activities, main stage performances by local artists, and more!

Start your fundraising now! Visit our STRIVE Rocks website HERE to find out how to get started! 

Are you or your business/organization interested in participating in the event? We have many sponsorship opportunities available. Check them out  HERE or contact STRIVE Program Director, Whitney Wildes at  for more information! 

We are looking for high school students to participate in STRIVE Rocks ALL NIGHT. Contact Whitney at  to find out how to get your school group or team involved!


STRIVE WorldWIDE's next online course in Personal Safety starts 3/2/20, but seats are limited, so register now! Online seminars meet Tuesday & Thursday evenings from 7-8 PM EST.  CLICK HERE to register today! 

We just finished our new STRIVE WorldWIDE informational video. Check it out  HERE !


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.
The STRIVECast had a great month of February! This month, Jeff, Noel, and Susie chatted with lots of interesting people, like the Deputy News Director at Maine Public, Susan Sharon! Susan is a long-time friend of STRIVE -- she did a radio story about the first class of STRIVE U (that Jeff and Noel were in!) that got picked up by NPR and ran nationally. It was so much fun hearing her fond memories of the guys from back in the day. We had some other great interviews this month -- and you can check ALL of our episodes out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts! All episodes are also available on our website and facebook page. Happy listening! 


Do you have someone you'd like the hosts of The STRIVECast to interview? Let us know! Contact Pete, Whitney, or Olivia with your guest ideas!
We can't believe it, but we are now on to Season 2 of The STRIVECast! Need to catch up on episodes? You can hear all of our episodes on our social media pages, our website, iTunes, Spotify, or wherever else you download your podcasts!

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 !

STRIVE 25 is back this month! We will be having everyone's favorite event- the STRIVE 25 talent show! We can't wait to see what everyone brings for a talent. STRIVE 25 will take place Thursday, March 5th!

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


It is a very busy time of year at STRIVE U! We just concluded interviews for our applicants which is a step in the admissions process. Next come overnight visits where applicants stay at STRIVE U for a night to get a "taste" of what the program is really like.

Current students are still busy learning, and in the case of second year students beginning the process of planning for graduation. Soon the students will start touring and looking at potential apartments!
Below is an update from Education and Training Coordinator, Haley on what we've been covering in Learning Group!

In Learning Group we have been fortunate to have a representative from Planned Parenthood come in to teach us about healthy sexuality every Tuesday. We've learned a lot about our bodies and the different feelings we might experience on the inside and the outside. On Thursday's we learned and practiced the steps to solving big and small problems, like what to do about a clogged toilet! At the end of February we had a visit from ecomaine and learned more about recycling and what happens to our trash after it is put in the bin. We also learned about the benefits of composting and the positive impact we can have on the environment.

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 some of our After School participants attended Camp STRIVE during the week of February school vacation, there was fun to be had and skills to work on during the 3 weeks in February. Some of the activities with After School included bowling, cooking, getting some exercise at The Point and budgeting for a craft project, purchasing a craft and enjoying art projects together. All of our activities include time to work on community-based skills and provide social opportunities.


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. Early release options are available with advance notice.
Please contact Betsy Morrison at 207-774-6278 or at  with questions or if you would like to schedule a visit.


The past month at Bayside we have moved away from working on our time management skills and have now shifted our focus to problem solving. We've worked on identifying how big or small a problem might be and how to appropriately respond to different instances life can throw at you. During our learning groups we have become comfortable with using a scale to weigh the severity of a problem and the appropriate response depending on how big or small the problem is. A small problem that can be handled alone falls at the bottom of our scale (cool/calm) and a huge problem that needs to be addressed by staff immediately marks the top (urgent).
 We've been looking forward to this months Adventure Day plans! With winter weather being in full swing, majority of our plans involve taking the bus. That's no problem for us at Bayside because our clients love the bus and are phenomenal navigation planners. Our first Adventure Day of the month was spent at the ever popular, Dunkin' Donuts. The following weeks we plan on going to Anthony's Pizza and to get bubble tea. This month we say goodbye to Austin as he completes his time here at Bayside. We are excited to celebrate Austin's accomplishments and wish him luck on his next adventure! Thanks for all your hard work Austin!

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

Our TOPS group had an interesting February with many snow days and a vacation week in the middle. The students have begun to focus on smaller details, including specific cooking techniques and comparison shopping. Chef Brad joined our program to teach us how to make "Tuxedo" Chocolate Covered Strawberries for Valentines Day!

TOPS has welcomed in numerous visitors who are looking to attend our program for the next school year. The students each join us for a shadow day, completing a full session with our group. It has been beneficial for our current students, who get to take a leadership role as they show the guests how our program works.



Interested in TOPS? 
TOPS (Transition Outcomes Program for Students) provides transition programming for high school students who are in their 13th and 14th school year from area school districts. This innovative program supports students to acquire additional independent living skills, provide opportunities to increase independence in the community, prepare students to transition to adult services, and offer experiences that promote social skills with students from other districts.
We are beginning to schedule visits for prospective students for the 2020-21 school year! For more information, please contact Betsy Morrison, 207-774-6278.


Our next unit in Next STEP will be focused on Financial Responsibility. We will be exploring topics such as banking, budgeting, writing checks and maintaining a check registry. We will incorporate an understanding of the difference between checking and savings accounts and how ATM cards play a role in budgeting.

As is the focus in all of our lives, we will be discussing the importance of planning a budget based on our needs vs. our wants and how best to save our money for the things that we want rather than spending our grocery money of those things!

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.


STRIVE Night had such a fun month of February, especially at our Valentine's Day Dance. We had Valentine's Day treats, made our own Valentine's, and of course, danced! It was so much fun to celebrate this special holiday together. 

In March, we will be having our St. Patrick's Day party! Come dressed in your best green outfit! See you there, March 13th!


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


Tweens are welcoming warmer (hopefully!) weather with a bunch of Spring themed activities! We'll be celebrating St. Patrick's day, doing a special round of 'Spring Fling' bowling and ending the month by making Butterfly Cupcakes! 

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 just wrapped up a great month of Wednesday Night Ed classes focusing on employment! During the month, we had a presentation from Vocational Rehabilitation, learned about resumes, practiced interview skills, discussed professionalism, and talked about how to find the right job for based on our skills and interests. 

In March, we will be learning all about Money Management. Our friends from Norway Savings Bank will help facilitate the class each week and will teach us about budgeting, saving, bank interactions, and other money skills. 

The Wednesday Night Educational Series is held every Wednesday at STRIVE 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

This month, our ACTIVE participants went on an intergalactic adventure to Spare Time to play laser tag and to the USM Planetarium. We started the day by playing a couple of games of laser tag, where blue team won both battles! After refueling with lunch, we all headed over to the planetarium to watch a show about coral reefs, with a bonus look at the night sky afterwards. We are really good at making fun out of the winter weather!


For more information on PSL Services' Community Support Day Programs, Active & Waves, please contact Emily at
Happy Birthday to the following STRIVE Members!


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

Eddie Wickwire
Forest Leavitt
Andrew Tanguay
Carley Chapman 
Cory Hutchins
Austin Pietras
Tyler Smith 
Andrew Jenkins
Devon Federico
Jordan Curtis
Taylor Geiger
Kaitlyn Patterson
Nava Aryan
Calvin Mahoney
Mary Burke 
Ethan Aube
Lola Goldman 
Bridget Kusturin
Shamus Colson
Nicholas Smith

Thank You to Our February Donors!


-Pond Family Foundation
- Paul & Susan Bock
- United Way of Eastern Maine
- Steven & Michelle Sirois
- Jane Robinson
- Jean & Jeffrey Slayton
- Diane McVey & Gayle Davis
- Karen Johnson
- Samantha Leavitt
- Biddeford Savings Bank
- Donna Roggenthien
-Katie Spotz

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 Mary! 

Mary has been coming to STRIVE since she was a young Tween!  Mary has been a part of many different programs here at STRIVE, including graduating from our most recent class of STRIVE TOPS! Mary is an active STRIVE Night member, and also attends STRIVE Rocks each year. Mary says she loves coming to STRIVE to "see her friends" and "learn new things." 

Say hi to Mary next time you see her around!


STRIVE Volunteer Spotlight 

We'd like to welcome David to STRIVE!   

David has come to us from the Ignatian Volunteer Corp (IVC), a new volunteer program in the Portland area! IVC is also found in over 20 other cities throughout the country. David will be working in STRIVE's Next STEP program and also with management on policies and procedures and other administrative tasks. 

When not at STRIVE, David's favorite activity is reading. His favorite pizza topping is mushroom and sausage!

David can be found at STRIVE on Mondays and Tuesdays. The next time you are here, be sure to say hi! 

General Announcements

Mark your calendars for these upcoming STRIVE events!

March 5th: STRIVE 25- Talent Show
March 13th: STRIVE Night St. Patrick's Day Party 
April 20th-24th: Camp STRIVE
May 2nd and 3rd: STRIVE Rocks Weekend! 

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!