PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

May 1st, 2020
COVID-19 Update With Governor Mills providing an update this week on the "reopening" of our State, we also wanted to provide you with an update.  Our team has been working to plan how this will look for all of our many programs, and we will continue to look at all angles as we move forward.  With the Governor's Phase One plan including only businesses deemed essential, asking people to continue to stay home if possible, and limiting gatherings to 10 or less individuals, we will be keeping our day programs, including ACTIVE, WAVES, Next STEP, and Bayside closed until Phase Two begins on June 1st.   This will  allow us to update our facilities to implement the physical space changes necessary to move forward, and also allow each program the opportunity to plan with their teams.  Please stay tuned for continued updates as we move forward. 

We continue to offer virtual program offerings. If you aren't involved yet, check in with your program manager. Also, continue to visit our social media pages and website to see program updates and meeting times. 

Thank you for your continued support! 
Annual Auction 2020

What our annual event might look like this year! 

Hello STRIVE Community! As we look ahead to the coming months, we know we all face an uncertain future about what we may or may not be able to do going forward. We know that for many of you, our yearly events are ways you look forward to coming together with us as a community and being a part of our mission. 

One of these major events is our Annual Auction, which is typically held in October. While we hope that things might return to "normal" again by then, we want to be prepared if they don't - not only because we may not all be able to gather in a room, but also because we know that many of the local businesses who donate to this event may not be in a place to do so again this year. So, instead, we're looking to host an enormous "Flea Market Flip" sometime in the future! (Similar to the HGTV show of the same name.). If needed, this event could take the place of our regular annual event. 

Since most of us are still stuck at home with some time on our hands, we'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!

We are still in the early stages of planning this event, but wanted to put our ask out now so YOU could get your craft on (or think of us during your Spring cleaning). Stay tuned for more news about this event, and contact Whitney at  with any questions! Happy Flipping!

STRIVE Rocks 2020

Just a reminder- STRIVE Rocks has been postponed! 

Please continue to check our social media pages for updates about the event. 

 We can't wait to ROCK with you soon!   

Getting the Word Out About STRIVE WorldWIDE!
April was a great month to tell the STRIVE WorldWIDE story! It started with a News Center Maine  story about how the TOPS program transitioned online using the STRIVE WorldWIDE curriculum. Next, STRIVE WorldWIDE Program Director, Anne Ryan was the first repeat guest on the STRIVECast (original appearance can be found here ). Then CBS13  featured a story on STRIVE WorldWIDE. And lastly, a film agency out of California reached out to see if they could do a documentary brief on STRIVE WorldWIDE. Filming for this documentary is underway and the release is TBD. 
If you or someone you know wants to be a part of STRIVE WorldWIDE, register HERE   for our Time Management & Organization class which starts on May 4, 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.

During the month of April, we held all of our STRIVECast episodes over Zoom! This means that our awesome Audio Engineer, Ryan, has changed his job to Video AND Audio Engineer- as he's recorded each Zoom session and turned them into visual episodes of our show! Each of these episodes are available to watch on our facebook page, as well as on our website, and of course can still be accessed as audio-only podcasts on your usual podcast apps. This month we had a variety of great guests join us! We had Liz Cotter Schlax, President & CEO of the United Way of Greater Portland, who told us all about the important work the United Way is doing for the community during the COVID-19 Crisis, as well as year round. We were also joined by our friend Joe Quinlan who works at the Maine Red Claws, and our very own Dr. Anne Ryan (our first repeat guest!), who directs our STRIVE WorldWIDE program that was featured on several local news outlets this month. 

Have a guest suggestion? We'd love to hear it! Email us at! Don't forget we still have our "Ask Noel" hotline up and running! You can leave Noel a question you'd like some advice on at 207-774-6278 ext. 352, or email us your question at, for Noel to answer your question on the air.

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 !

You guessed it- we've moved STRIVE 25 online as well! Our first virtual STRIVE 25 was a huge success. We had over 20 participants join us throughout the night. We sang, we danced, told funny jokes and more! Of course, it wouldn't be a STRIVE 25 event without playing bingo- which we also tried virtually! 

Since our first STRIVE 25 was a hit, we've decided to do them more frequentlyand have started to meet every other Thursday. Since our first STRIVE 25, we've had two others, and have another planned for Thursday, May 14th 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


Most STRIVE U students are staying with their parents for the time being but that doesn't mean the learning stops! Students have been doing their residential goals via Zoom with TA's who are working from home. Students are working on everything from cleaning, cooking and menu planning to going for walks with staff while they're on the phone. We've been continuing Learning Group and other classes and are so impressed with everyone's willingness to participate online.
In Learning Group we are working on developing healthy habits. We are using STRIVE WorldWIDE to learn about what we can do to have a healthier body, mind, and spirit. At the end of this unit we will have developed our own detailed plan that tells us how to reach our goals and be heathier in our everyday lives. We have also been asking each other silly questions to get to know one another better, and also playing a little bit of Would You Rather. Our next topic we will learn about is Time Management and Organization and we are super excited for it!

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.
April Camp STRIVE was a little different this year as we participated virtually instead of in person! The week was so much fun. We met twice a day, with a morning and an afternoon session held. 

Some of the activities we enjoyed together were virtual field trips to Disney World, the San Diego Zoo and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, working on our own "mosaic" piece of artwork, getting active with Zumba and Yoga, and playing trivia! We also had students from the University of New England's Occupational Therapy program join us throughout the week. They led us on an at home scavenger hunt, tested our knowledge in jeopardy, and hosted a Camp STRIVE talent show. Thank you, OT students! 

It was so nice to be able to spend the week together with friends we've made throughout the year at other STRIVE Camps and we hope to be able to see everyone again soon! 

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! For more information about Camp STRIVE, contact Olivia at 

For the month of April,  we were able to get everyone at Bayside to join in the Zoom chat, where we experienced some new learning curves. We, at Bayside, are so proud of all of our participants that join in every morning. They pop on with such positive attitudes and are willing to try new ways of learning. The staff have tried to keep to our normal goals, as much as possible, even with the challenges of being quarantined. We are able to pull from resources that fit our situation. 

We have scheduled goals for each day and some days they are sent an activity that  they can do at home. Monday is Navigation where we use Google Maps to navigate throughout Portland. Tuesday's goal is Cooking; where we focus on reading a recipe and completing worksheets online about that recipe.  Wednesday's are Math day where we also use worksheets to go over money scenarios. On Thursday we share a current event or a topic that they have chosen to write about the night before. Friday is Adventure day where the participants choose a place that they would like to do a virtual tour.  Some of the places we have "virtually toured" include: the San Diego  Zoo where we were able to watch the animals live. We also visited a fire station and an Museum in Bangor that had old trains, fire trucks and many really old items. 

We also have been able to have some fun  playing  games and singing one of their favorite songs,  "Be Happy!". Even through these challenging times we have , together, managed to make the most of it and achieve a  routine to make our day a little bit normal. Thank you for such a great team throughout ALL of Strive; "it takes a village."

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 students worked hard throughout the month to adapt to the new virtual format of their program. TOPS is offering two classes a day, every weekday, all month long.  One of those classes is in collaboration with STRIVE WorldWIDE and the other is a Social/Emotional Learning focused class based on the TOPS curriculum. 

TOPS students have been dabbling with new technology and are continuing to show resiliency in this difficult time.
This unique opportunity to introduce new practices will support students as they transition out of high school. Students are being more active in their homes, finding ways to connect with their peers without the structure of school interactions and being creative with their leisure time.

Interested in TOPS?  TOPS (Transition Outcomes Program for Students) provides transition programming 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 at or at  207-289-7961.


Next STEP has been having a great time connecting in different ways while we have been home. We have a group Zoom meeting two days a week and have an average of 8-10 participants each time. It has been great to say "Hi" to our peers and check in to see how and what everyone's been doing. We have done many things during our Zoom meetings including; Zumba, Yoga, a tour of several exhibits at the San Diego Zoo, and taken a virtual ride at Disneyland. We have also had challenges of doing a new task around the house and reporting on it, discussing personal goals for the next year and continuing to do daily exercises. Kayla, Next STEP's Team Leader, has also been contacting each Next STEP participants once a week to have some individual time to check-in. It has been fun to connect both as a group and one-on-one during this time!

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 a great month of Virtual STRIVE Nights! While we of course miss being together in person so much, we are all glad to have the technology available to us so we can still "see" each other each Friday night. We've been seeing more and more folks join us each week, which is really exciting- this past Friday we had 35 participants! Over the last month we've gotten into a great routine for our online socials. We start with a group check in, where one person at a time will talk and tell the group about their week and highlight their favorite parts. Talking about the good parts of our weeks helps us to keep positive while staying at home. We then have karaoke hour, followed by some small group "breakout rooms" where people can have conversations in smaller groups together. Then, the big group will come back together for some more karaoke, and always funny "would you rather" questions!

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


In April, we started to meet virtually for Tweens! Our tweens are so happy to be back together. We've spent a lot of our time checking in with each other, but we've also done some interesting activities like virtual tours, learned about animal facts, and everyone's favorite- DANCING! Do you have an activity you'd like us to do or something that you'd like to share, in Tweens? Let us know! 

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

Wednesday Night Ed has gone virtual! We've started to facilitate our classes on Zoom! Since we all might be feeling a little stressed or anxious right now, we started a series on Stress Relievers. During our first class, we practiced deep breathing exercises and yoga. All of the Wednesday Night Ed students said they felt more relaxed when class was done. Our second class focused on drawing activities. Hopefully our students will be able to use these different activities and tools the next time they are feeling anxious! 

Would you like to join for our next two classes? Contact Olivia at for your link to participate! Keep your eye out on our social media pages- new classes will be coming out soon! 

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

For our ACTIVE participants, being stuck at home hasn't been easy. But with the opportunity to join up to 5 or 6 Zoom meetings a day and hang out with friends (and our friends' pets), we are coming out on top! Staff and participants are enjoying the ability to choose from a variety of classes like yoga, Qi Gong, and even April's dance class from home! Participants are also stoked that they still get to hang out with their friends at STRIVE night as well as STRIVE 25. 

On top of all of these Zoom meetings, staff and participants have been keeping busy at home by going for daily walks, going for bike rides, helping out with yard work, completing jigsaw puzzles, and reading books that haven't been touched in years! Here at ACTIVE, we have had to adapt to change very quickly, but we are sticking together, keeping touch with one another, and looking forward to returning to Foden Road.


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


Have you heard of #GivingTuesday? Yes, that #GivingTuesday which is usually held after Thanksgiving? For those that might not know, #GivingTuesday is a "a day that encourages people to do good". Created in 2012, #GivingTuesday has now "grown into a global movement, hoping to inspire others to give and celebrate gratitude". More about #GivingTuesday can be found  HERE.

#GivingTuesdayNOW is taking place this Tuesday (May 5th) in response to COVID-19 (in addition to the the usual #GivingTuesday that takes place at the end of the year). We're asking for your support! Whether it is a monetary contribution or a simple picture of "What STRIVE means to me" (see more about this below!), we'd love to hear from you. 

Use the template below, or make your own, and let us know what STRIVE means to you! Share on your social media pages, and we will do the same! Use hashtags #GivingTuesdayNOW, #Gratituesday, or #WhatSTRIVEmeanstome. Let's fill our pages with words of gratitude and things that we are excited for when we're all able to be back together at STRIVE! Check out our social media pages for more ways to participate in #GivingTuesdayNOW. If you'd like to use a copy of our template, email Whitney at!

Here's an example of ours!

If you'd rather make a monetary donation,  visit  or check out our  Amazon Wish List

As always, we are so grateful for our participants, staff, volunteers, donors, sponsors.... the list goes on and on! We wouldn't be the organization we are today without all of YOU! #Gratituesday 

Happy Birthday to the following STRIVE Members!


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

Taneka Burwell
 Alexandra Agostino 
Jack Rosenblum
Zachary Sprague
Ryan Dufour
Jaydon Leighton
Melissa Goodman 
Blake Waterhouse
James Raymond
Mary Burke
Caitlyn Welsch
Nick Watkins
Aphrodite Makrides
Alli Brooking

Thank You to Our April Donors!


Katie Spotz
Jennifer Christensen
Robyn McCalmon
Catherine Campbell 
William & Lewanne Hughes
Maine Community Foundation 
Aetna Foundation 

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 Madeleine and Bella! 

Madeleine and Bella have been attending STRIVE for many years now, starting when they were tweens!  Madeleine and Bella attend Camp STRIVE and STRIVE Nights, as well as Madeleine attending Wednesday Night Ed. 

Pictured here are Madeleine, Bella, and their brother, Richard. Richard has been a longtime volunteer and friend of STRIVE.

Next time you see these three, make sure to say hello! 

STRIVE Volunteer Spotlight 

Meet Savannah! Savannah is a student at the University of Southern Maine  and has spent her Spring semester at STRIVE! Savannah has worked in both Next STEP and Tweens. Savannah "jumped right in" with her work in the Next STEP program! She supports students in a very positive and patient manner. She led an exercise circuit workout when we were meeting in the STRIVE building and she has regularly attended and supported participants during our Zoom meetings the last five weeks. She has become our official Next STEP photographer during our Zoom meetings!  The participants really enjoy having her in the program. 

Thanks for all you've done at STRIVE, Savannah! 



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.

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!