PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

May 1st, 2019
STRIVE Art Show!


The STRIVE Art Show was such a blast! We displayed over 90 pieces of original artwork from participants in nearly every STRIVE program- including our online program, STRIVE WorldWIDE! STRIVE participants, families, staff, volunteers and friends all joined together to begin a year of 20th Anniversary celebrations for STRIVE. We loved getting to see so many participants come out of their creative shells- and even work together in the process. We had everything displayed from paintings, original photographs, lego creations, and even a mural made by everyone in our Bayside program! Artists got to proudly stand by and display their work, and much of the artwork was sold within the first hour. Thanks to everyone who pitched in to make the event such a success! Keep your eyes peeled for our next 20th Anniversary celebration event that will be coming up this summer.

As warmer weather approaches, for Camp STRIVE that means one thing...Summer Camp! We are so excited for the incredible summer ahead. We've hired our three full-time counselors who will begin their training in June, and then our first day of Camp will be Monday, June 17th! 

The application for Camp STRIVE is now OPEN! 

We are excited to offer an Early Bird Rate this year! For those who apply to Camp before Wednesday, May 15th, you will get your first five days of Camp STRIVE (consecutive or not) for $185.

To apply for Camp STRIVE, please visit!

For any questions regarding Camp STRIVE, please email Olivia at or call 207-774-6278.
Happy Camping!

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 community trips, arts and crafts, games and physical fitness, cooking 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. 

Tonight, May 1st, marks the final seminar (an online class) for our first ever STRIVE WorldWIDE Class.  Nearly 25 people have been participating in the online course for the past 5 weeks.  This course has been discussing all aspects of Personal Safety.  The course had students from throughout Maine, and also had participants from New Hampshire and New York!   We are very excited with how well all of the students did in this course! STRIVE WorldWIDE combines online seminars taught in real time with online course work that students can complete at any time throughout the week.  The program is highly visual, and even emails are sent as text as well as audio recordings.  This makes the course open to all levels. Students who were enrolled in the pilot are currently finishing their final week of course work, including an evaluation of tools and programs used. 


Our plan is to use feedback from students and families that participated in the pilot and roll out a number of STRIVE WorldWIDE courses on various topics in the Fall.  If you have an idea for a course, or would like more information on STRIVE WorldWIDE, visit, or contact Pete Brown at  More statistics and feedback from the pilot course will be shared next month, along with further plans for the exciting new program!

The STRIVECast had a busy month of April! We interviewed some really incredible and interesting people, including Meteorologist Jessica Conley from News Center Maine, and author Dylan Volk, who wrote a book chronicling his life as a young adult with Autism. We also chatted with Darcy Keegan, who is a young entrepreneur with Down Syndrome! Darby and her father Dale run a business together making beautiful wooden flags. They drove SIX hours, from Fort Fairfield, Maine to join us in the studio!

We're looking forward to a busy month of interviews in May! This month we'll sit down with Anchorwoman Katie Sampson of Good Day Maine, representatives from the Special Olympics, and more! We'll also be having a very special Mother's Day be sure to turn in for that!

Would your business or organization be interested in advertising on the STRIVECast? We would love to promote your brand on our show! Contact us at - we'd love to work with you!

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! 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 !

Join us TOMORROW, Thursday May 2nd for our second annual STRIVE 25 Talent Show! Bring your best act and we'll see you on stage!

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


The finish line is in sight for the STRIVE U second years! In less than 2 months we'll be saying goodbye to the class of 2019 and hello to the class of 2021. Spring is a pretty busy time at STRIVE U- students are busy finding their new apartments, working on second year presentations and starting on their graduation speeches! We already have a number of students who have secured their post-grad apartments and we are all so happy to see the great spaces the students get to live!

Second year students will have lots of opportunities to shine this month. One important event they'll be participating in is their Second Year Presentations. This is a time where second year students present a slideshow they've been working on in class that highlights all the hard work they've put into their time at STRIVE U. If you're interested in coming, Second Year Presentations are on May, 21 at the Purdue Global campus in Lewiston!
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.

Emerge Program

STRIVE's Emerge Program is a three-week Extended School Year Experience for Middle & High School Students. This year, Emerge will be taking place July 29th-August 15th, Monday-Thursday, 12:00-4:00pm!

STRIVE is pleased to offer this collaborative program to interested school districts. Emerge is an extended school year service for students entering 8th grade through high school. This experience supoprts the maintenance of skills in executive functioning and social skills instruction while offering opportunities to transfer skills to other settings through natural experiences within the community. The prgoram will be based out of our STRIVE Center in South Portland.

For more information on Emerge, please contact Betsy Morrison at or 207-774-6278!

It has been an exciting and busy month at Bayside! We worked very hard on a collaborative art submission for the STRIVE Art Show. It was so much fun to put our creative talents together to make a beautiful piece that represents who we are here at Bayside. We spent a great deal of time selecting words that we feel describe the program, and then put those words together. We were so happy that so many people got to see our work!

In learning group we have been focusing on physical self-care and hygiene. We have been talking about the importance of taking good care of our physical bodies, as it often relates to our emotional well being. Things like showering, wearing clean clothes, and brushing our teeth seem very basic and sometimes unimportant. However, those things make a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves, and can boost our self esteem, setting us up to be more confident and successful. 

This month we are celebrating a graduation! One of our participants has completed her two years and will be moving on to another program! We are so proud of her, and while we will miss her dearly, we are excited for her to begin a new journey. We are also celebrating three other participants being accepted into STRIVE U! In June we will be having a graduation for them as well, to say goodbye to Bayside and hello to a brand new and exciting chapter in their lives. There are lots of wonderful and positive changes happening around here!

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 John Fehleau at

As our school year begins to wrap up, our students are finalizing their plans for after graduation and really getting into transition mode. This is often the time of year that is the most stressful and therefore our students are focusing more time on self-care, leisure activities and continuing to practice healthy habits here in TOPS. For most students, life after graduation includes employment, community support programs, more responsibilities at home and a new routine. Ideally, our students will continue to use the strategies practiced in TOPS around health and wellness, time management and communication to stay balanced and happy.

Our students are also preparing their graduation speeches which they will give at the TOPS Graduation on May 28th at 5:30pm here at STRIVE, 28 Foden Rd. South Portland. If you are interested in attending, please consider this an invitation! TOPS will have 9 graduating students this year, attending from 7 area school districts in southern Maine. It will be a night to remember!

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. For more information, please contact Betsy Morrison, 207-774-6278.
STRIVE TOPS Experience Program!

STRIVE TOPS is offering an opportunity this spring for groups of students from area high schools to come, with their school staff, for a session and experience the program. Students will come for either the first or second session to participate in a series of experiential activities designed to support students to better understand all that TOPS has to offer them. Current TOPS students will be guiding visiting student groups through these activities. There is a $25 fee per student per session to participate.


Sessions will be offered from 8:00-10:30 AM, or 11:00-1:30 PM.
May 3rd- Nutrition Activity
May 7th- All About Me/Self-Awareness
May 9th- Communication Games

Register is limited!

To schedule a session for your student or group, or for any questions, contact Betsy Morrison at or 207-774-6278.

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.

Our curriculum unit this month is self-advocacy! We began the unit by discussing what self-advocacy means to each of us. From there, we discussed several examples through role playing and real life situations. Because we regularly take the Metro, we shared several scenarios that could happen while using the bus system. An example of a question that was posed to the group was, "what would you do if you bumped into someone on the bus by accident as you were getting on/off and they thought you did it on purpose?" Talking through these real life situations will really help us if things like this occur!

We are also very excited that spring is (almost!) here and we can begin to plan for more outside activities. We have started to budget for our 4th summer garden and what we would like to put in it. We are also beginning to have fun activities like outdoors games and nature walks again. It's wonderful to do these healthy activities for another season!


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 some amazing Friday evenings together in April! We had lots of laughs during our April Fools theme nights, with lots of people dressed in clown noses and funny outfits. We also had some amazing volunteers join us this month, from USM, SMCC and UNE, too! We will miss seeing these familiar faces and hope they come visit us on a Friday Night soon. In May, we're going to be celebrating the warmer weather with our annual Luau Theme Night! Our Luau will be on Friday, May 25th. 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 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 had a blast in the month of April! For three out of the four Fridays in the month, we had three volunteers from the University of New England's Occupational Therapy program come in and put on a ton of fun activities and crafts for us! From playing balloon games to making play-doh and butterfly art, we had so much fun, and will miss seeing their friendly faces on Friday afternoons. During the month of May, we're looking forward to a fun month of springtime crafts! Each week we will make a new type of creation -- we can't wait to see what everyone will walk away with!

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

We are so excited to get back to our in-person class style this month! During the month of April, our brand new program STRIVE WorldWIDE took the place of our Wednesday Night Ed Series, so we have been on a short hiatus. This month, we're excited to dive back into the classroom, with our Culinary Creations Series! A yearly favorite, our culinary class will teach students the basics of kitchen safety, meal preps, nutrition and more! This class will begin the second Wednesday of the month, May 8th. The cost of this class is $20.

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 had such a fun month of April! As the weather has begun to get warmer, we've been able to head outside a bit more, and are excited for even warmer days to come! We can't believe that May is already here, and that the end of the school year is approaching. We're going to make sure we soak in all the fun the rest of the school year has to offer us!

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  
Active & WAVES

We've had such a fun month of April here in Day Program! Both Active & WAVES have had busy months, filled with lots of volunteering at our local volunteer sites, like Partners for World Health and the Ronald McDonald House! We've also been making sure to keep up with our fitness goals, whether it be heading out to the gym together, taking a walk in the warmer weather, or swimming at the South Portland Community Center!

We had so much fun getting ready for the STRIVE Art Show- we had over twenty participants submit artwork to the show, and much of it was sold! We were proud to support STRIVE in this exciting event and were so happy to be such a big part of it.

We also had some fun extended days this month, with our WAVES group heading out to visit Eartha, the enormous globe in Yarmouth, and our ACTIVE guys spending a rainy morning in watching an Avengers movie on the big projector screen! 

Happy Birthday to the following STRIVE Members!


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

Joseph Gephart
Gabe Brewington
Jordan Emerson
Andrew Hebert
Jack Rosenblum
Zach Sprague
Ryan Dufour
Melissa Goodman
Blake Waterhouse
James Raymond
Damien Thress
Mary Burke
Aprhodite Makrides
Molly Snowden
Thank You to Our Donors

-        UNUM Group
-        Sally Webb & Matthew Anson
-        Shirley & Claude Gaudet
-        Knights of Columbus Maine State 
-        The Emery-Waterhouse Company
-        Mark & Liz Pietras
-        Brian Fox
-        David & Sharon Michaud
-        Angela Varipatis
-        Dennis & Charlene Labbe
-        Daniel Reardon & Bernadette
-        Pam & Rick McAvoy

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!

STRIVE 25 Talent Show- May 2nd, 2019
STRIVE Pride Day- May 8th, 2019

STRIVE Night Luau- May 25th, 2019
Camp STRIVE- June 17th, 2019

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!