PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

May 1, 2017

This month, Maine Public has been featuring STRIVE and alumni of the first STRIVE U graduating class. Susan Sharon, a reporter at Maine Public, first spotlighted STRIVE U in 2007, just after the first class had graduated. Catching up ten years later, Susan chats with alumni Noel, Jeff and Julie and about where they are now, and what they carry with them from their days at STRIVE U. You can check out the stories online here! 
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Part 2:

Spring At STRIVE U

Spring is a busy, but exciting time at STRIVE U!  The first year students are working hard on their independent living skills. They are making great gains on their goals that involve learning to budget their money, maintaining their apartments on campus, and comfortably navigating the community. Many have started new jobs that they are very enthusiastic about. Some of the jobs include caring for the elderly at Cape Memory Care and ushering baseball fans at Hadlock Field during Portland Sea Dog games.

The second year students have been spending a lot of their time preparing for graduation and their life after STRIVE U. They have been busy touring apartment buildings and looking for a home that will be the perfect fit for them. They have also been focusing their attention on their Second Year Presentations as well. They have been preparing the presentations during their Kaplan class. The Second Year Presentation highlights all of the achievements and accomplished goals that the students have worked so hard on throughout their two years at STRIVE U. Each of the second year students will present their capstone presentation to family and friends at Kaplan University the end of May.

STRIVE U is a very unique and highly regarded two-year post-secondary education opportunity for young adults between the ages of 18-25. For more information about STRIVE U or to schedule a tour, please contact Bill Hughes, STRIVE U Admissions Coordinator, at 207-774-6278 or   
Next Step News    


This month the Next STEPPERS have been continuing to learn and practice different ways to access our community. One way that we are getting lots of practice with is using the Metro. We learned that the Metro now has a transit app that we can download onto our phone or iPad. We learned how to use the app to find out when to go out and wait for the bus and what time it will get us to our destination. It's a great app that will help us not to miss our bus!

Also in this month, we have been continuing  to utilize different ways to stay physically fit. In doing that Next STEP continues to go to the UMed Gym every other week, where we participate in a specially designed exercise program called STRIVEercise! We have also been doing regular dance workouts in the STRIVE Center. Both of these get our heart rates going and are fun ways to exercise!
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. 
April in TOPS 

Our students have senior-itis!!  With only a month to go, our students continue to increase their independence throughout their lives whether it is at home, in the community or in the classroom.  They are finalizing their speeches, organizing the graduation ceremony and had their senior pictures taken!
Also this month, our student Sarah made an early transition from public school and started full time at Bayside!  She completed two full years of the TOPS program and has proven to be ready to fully transition into adult services.  Sarah proves each day to be a great example for all of our graduates!
STRIVE TOPS serves students from school districts who are in their 13th or 14th year of school. If you have questions or would like more information or to schedule a meeting regarding TOPS, please contact Betsy Morrison at (207)774-6278 or

Bayside News

Bayside students have been working on their cooking skills, budget, and navigating the community on the bus. This month we took trips to LL Bean and went bowling! Our participants are continuing to increase their independence and confidence within the community. We are also working on our and our reading and speaking skills,  and learning how to become better self-advocates.
Bayside had an Open House this month, and it was a big success! We had a great turnout, and had many interested families. We now have a few shadow days set up, and are excited for potential new participants! We also have three students who have been accepted into Bayside, and we are so excited to meet them. 

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. Programming runs five days a week, Monday through Friday and have two daily sessions, 9:00-1:00 and 1:00- 5:00. There are full time (Monday- Friday) and part time (Tuesday, Thursday -or- Monday, Wednesday, Friday) options. Bayside operates 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 of Bayside please contact: Caroline Cole at 774-6278 or .
Wednesday Night Educational Series

In April, Wednesday Ed has been covering computer and internet skills! Students have had a great time learning all about internet safety, and how to use computers in new ways. Pictured above on the right is a Wednesday Ed student, Tom, presenting his information about Youtube!
In May our topic will be Culinary Creations!  This series covers the topics of cooking, kitchen safety, and food literacy. Students will learn about gut health, easy dinners to impress their friends and family, how to buy and cook for one, and the basics of food preservation. Special guests joining us: a Doctor from Maine Medical Center, former STRIVE U program manager, and local Maine food blogger. Cost of the class is $20. For more information, please contact Michaila at, or call 207-774-6278.

Tweens Corner 
Tweens has had a great month, with guest volunteers to help 11-14 year olds make jewelry, learn about bike safety, cook pizza and more! This month we are looking forward to having our Cinco De Mayo party, re-visiting our friends from Gooddogz, and continuing the friendship building that is embedded within the program itself. Check out our calendar to see what else we will be up to this month!
Tweens is a safe and fun environment to build new skills and friendships for 11-14 year olds with developmental disabilities. For more information, contact Michaila McCloskey at  


April was a great month for STRIVE Night's, and just last week we had our April theme- Movie Night! We gathered around the big screen to watch Finding Dory, complete with tons of snacks and beverages provided by our trusty volunteers! We also just had our annual Advisory Board elections, and the results will be coming in this week- stay tuned to our facebook page for those announcements!
We also just last Friday introduced our new Virtual Reality headset to the STRIVE Center! We have tons of games to download for participants to experience and enjoy. 

Friday Nights at  STRIVE , fondly referred 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! Sliding scales also available. For more information, contact Olivia at or call 207-774-6278.
After School

The After School Program welcomed Adrianna, the new direct support staff, as well as a new After School student!  Our small group has found a steady routine each week which includes getting out in the community just about every day.  The students play a critical role in planning each week, deciding what activities they want to do according to their interests.  This month the students spent two afternoons volunteering, lots of time outside and 3 days cooking meals for their families.  

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. After School runs Monday through  Friday from 2pm-5pm during each student's respective school district schedule.  For more information on our After School program, please contact Stefanie Millette at or call 207-774-6278.
Camp STRIVE   
Time Flies!  April Camp STRIVE had a fun, active week!  With double our typical camp numbers, the large group went to Get Air, took the Narrow Gauge Train around the Eastern Promenade, scooted down to Vacationland for some bowling, visited animals at Wolfe's Neck Farm, tasted delicious chocolate at Wilbur's in Freeport and finished their week using clay to make souvenirs of their engaging week.  

Summer Camp is right around the corner!  Summer Camp STRIVE will now begin on June 26th due to school snow-days, and will continue throughout the summer until September 1st.  To sign up for camp or for more information, please check out our website:


Member Spotlight

Eben R.
Meet Eben! Eben is a first year student at STRIVE U, but has been a huge part of the STRIVE community for quite some time now. Eben just last year graduated from the first ever class of the TOPS program, is a regular STRIVE Night participant, and in addition has been attending STRIVE Rocks Dance Marathon events for a number of years! Eben was one of our top fundraisers this year, and is very proud of that. As if all of that weren't enough, Eben serves on the STRIVE Rocks Committee, and just ran to be on STRIVE Night's Advisory Board. He will find out this week whether he got elected by his peers!

Eben enjoys singing and dancing, as well as watching and making youtube videos. He loves music, and has an expansive collection of the Now That's What I Call Music CD's! Eben is looking forward to seeing some of his STRIVE U classmates graduate this spring, and becoming a second year student.
Volunteer Spotlig ht
Joyce P.
Meet Joyce! Joyce has been volunteering at STRIVE for the past three months. Joyce keeps our building sparkling clean here four days a week! In addition to lending a hand throughout the building, Joyce is often a friendly face that greets visitors as they enter our building here at STRIVE.

Joyce lives in Westbrook, and enjoys going out to eat with her family and friends, writing letters, and doing word searches. The staff here at STRIVE love her warm and caring personality, and her fantastic dance moves!  We feel lucky to spend so much time with her, and can't thank her enough for all of her hard work around STRIVE. She is always willing to lend a hand no matter what the project is, and always gets the job done! Make sure to say hi to Joyce next time you see her around! 


Happy Birthday to the following STRIVE Members!

Nicholas Taddia
Joseph  Gephart
Gabe Brewington
Jordan  Emerson
Taneka Burwell
Jack Rosenblum
Zachary Sprague
Ryan Dufour
Jaydon  Leighton
Melissa Goodman
Niels Doughty
Alexandra Agostino
Jamie Trites
Matthew Leeman
Caitlyn Welsch
Tyler Cartwright
Leah Gouldsbrough
Jason Wotton
Aphrodite Makrides
Molly Snowden
Andrew McIver
Mary Burke
Altana (Ali) Johnson
Thank You to Our Donors

-          Lonza America, Inc.
-          North Yarmouth Academy
-          Lynn Wiest
-          Kathleen Lizotte
-          Anonymous
-          Lois & Michael Dennison in memory of Archie
-          Angela Varipatis
-          Doris Cook
-          Anonymous
-          Philip & Barbara Brown
-          Maine Garden Railway Society
-          United Way of Eastern Way
-          Give With Liberty Employee Donations
-          Anonymous in Honor of Ryan Taylor
-          Mervell & Anne Cronin
-          Bill Gourde
-          Betty Campbell

General Announcements


Foden Road 5K Race-
Saturday, September 9th
STRIVE Auction-
Wednesday, November 8th

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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!