PSL Services / STRIVE Newsletter

November 1st, 2020
STRIVE's Annual Auction- The Virtual Edition!

Thank you to all that "attended" STRIVE's 16th Annual Auction- The Virtual Edition! 

As most of you know, STRIVE's annual auction is usually one of STRIVE's biggest events of the year! The auction is many people's favorite STRIVE event, so we felt it was necessary for us to still find a way to hold such an important event for our community.

We are so happy and thankful for the way our event turned out! Though it was different from past auctions, we were still able to bid on over 400 items, hear client speeches (if you missed them, they're on our social media pages!), and more- all from the comfort of our own homes. With your support, we were able to raise over $50,000 for STRIVE participants and programs. These funds will go directly back into our over 13 programs that support over 1,000 tweens, teens, and young adults in our community. 

Thank you to all that donated and bid, especially during a time that has been difficult for so many. Your support of STRIVE means the world to us! 

The event would also not have been possible without the support of our auction sponsors- many of who have been a part of this special event since the beginning! 

For those of you that won items and still need to pick up- we will be holding our final item pick up at STRIVE (28 Foden Road, South Portland) Monday, 11/02, from 6-8pm. If you have questions about item pick up, please email the STRIVE Events Team at

We'll hope to see you in person come our Auction in 2021!
STRIVE U Applications Now Available!

Applications are now available for STRIVE U! Now through February 1st, interested students are welcome to request an application and submit it to our Office of Admissions.

STRIVE U is our two-year residential post-secondary educational program for students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. During their time at STRIVE U, students learn all they need to know to begin living independently, and by the end of the program, transition into their own apartment in the greater Portland Community. STRIVE U partners with Southern Maine Community College to provide an inclusive educational opportunity for our students. 

To learn more about this unique program, and to learn about the admissions requirements, visit our website at To request an application, or for any questions, contact STRIVE U Admissions Coordinator Olivia Fraioli at 


In case you missed it, check out this documentary short by Slow Clap on STRIVE WorldWIDE HERE

STRIVE WorldWIDE's next course offering is Cooking and Meal Planning. We'd love to have you join us to learn about meal planning, shopping on a budget, following a recipe, and more! Class begins November 2. CLICK HERE to register or email Anne Ryan at to learn more.

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.

October was a great month for The STRIVECast! We celebrated the start of our THIRD season -- which means we've been doing the STRIVECast for over two years now! We're so grateful to our loyal listeners (and now, viewers!) and hope to make many more episodes for you each week. 

Our new season has brought some new segment changes which we are all really enjoying! Noel has switched his segment to be all about poetry, which we're calling Noel-etry! Noel has made up some poems on the spot for us, and has even read his infamous "Ham Poem" from years past. He's excited to share some of his favorite poems written by others, too. Jeff has taken over the advice segment now, which we're calling Ask Jeff, and of course, we've got everyone's favorite game show - Susie's Q's!

Do you have guest suggestions, ideas for fun games we could play, or want to participate in the Ask Jeff segment? Shoot us an email at! We'd love to hear from you. The Ask Jeff hotline is still up and running, too - you can leave Jeff a voicemail asking him your life advice question at 207-774-6278, ext. 352!

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!

We were so happy that the October calendar gave us THREE STRIVE 25 socials last month. We love being able to see each other regularly to joke and laugh. Karaoke and Bingo never get old, and last month we were able to have a great Halloween party! 

Due to the Thanksgiving, we will have back to back STRIVE 25 socials this month! We hope to see you on Thursday, November 12th and 19th!


STRIVE 25 is a social event for folks 25 and older, and typically happens here at STRIVE the first Thursday of each month (currently running bi-weekly online during COVID-19). For more information on STRIVE 25, contact Caroline (for the in-person event) at or Olivia (for the virtual event) at

We spent the month of October at STRIVE U getting ready for some fall themed fun and expanding the places we're going in the community!

The students are planning their own (safe and socially distanced outdoor) Halloween party! We're also doing our yearly progressive dinner a bit early this year so we can host it outside.

We've been working on expanding the things we can do in the community and are happy that this past month brought some new places we can go! Most students have started doing their grocery shopping on their own! After months of practicing going into stores safely, being aware of any special protocols in stores and making sure to always wear a mask and use hand sanitizer most students are now able to go into stores on their own!

In this next month we're looking forward to the holidays, progressive dinner and winding down classes!

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.

What a beautiful fall we are having. We have been taking full advantage of the leaves falling outside Central office! We've joined our math and art goals this month- the participants have collected sticks and leaves then measured them for an art project they all have been working on. This has helped our students learn how to use a ruler. We have also been working on the difference between accidental and intentional through different activities. as well as studying on how our skeleton protects our organs and why that is important. 

Something new this month has been listening to an adventure book about going back in time and landing on the Titanic. Students have been using their listening skills and answering questions about the book on a worksheet. This has been a really fun activity and spurred much discussion.

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

This month, TOPS has continued to offer both Virtual and In-Person Programming for the 17 current students.  In-person students started their classroom jobs this month, learning how to manage their individual end of the day routine with a consistent job task.  The students learned about the in-class positions, applied to an open position that they wanted, were assigned a position and then had training to learn specifics about their expectations.

The Virtual TOPS students have spent many days working together to learn how to communicate with the group, which is very different in a virtual setting.  The students are given multiple ways to communicate in class and have started opening up during the lessons.

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, or by phone at 207-879-0847.

One of the focuses for Next STEP this past month has been on budgeting. Although we are not currently going into any grocery stores yet because of safety precautions due to the coronavirus, we are still discussing and planning for meals and food prep. As we know, one of the most important aspects of meal planning is budgeting so we are discovering how to not only budget and buy what we need but also use what we have on hand.

We will continue to expand upon our budget planning to include how to meal plan and then budget for a whole week's worth of groceries if we were living on our own. We will be reviewing the weekly grocery store flyers to see what is on special so we can incorporate those items into our shopping list. This process will help us to better understand what it takes to plan, budget and ultimately purchase our food for the week.

We are accepting new participants. Please contact Betsy Morrison for more information at or 207-879-0847. Next STEP is PSL/STRIVE's unique private pay program that offers a high-quality curriculum and social connections at an affordable rate. It is a great option 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.


We've had such a fun month of STRIVE Night's! This past Friday we hosted our annual Halloween party - which although we had to celebrate virtually, was still loads of fun! We had our annual costume fashion show and contest, as well as played some fun Halloween themed games, and karaoke too. We'll hope to celebrate next year's Halloween bash in person, but for now we were just glad to all get to spend the evening together!


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 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

We've had a great month of Virtual Tweens, and are looking for some new members to join us on Zoom on Friday afternoons! Do you know someone ages 11-14 who could benefit from a fun weekly social? Email Olivia at for more info on our Tweens program!

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

Our Wednesday Night Educational students just wrapped up a very important topic- social skills! We spent a lot of time focusing on different types of communication as well as a virtual communication- a new skill that everyone is practicing this year. 

In November and December, we will be focus on self care. We plan to talk about the importance for self care and will also practice various types of self care! 

The Wednesday Night Educational Series is held every Wednesday at STRIVE (but are currently virtual) for participants 15-24 years old. Series are between 4 and 8 weeks and topics vary from month to month! Contact Olivia at for your link to join class. 
Active & Waves
We have been lucky to have another month of beautiful weather allowing us to continue to spend lots of time outdoors. Our participants have enjoyed making clay coil pots, creating fairy houses, tie dye masks, and doing Zumba and Movement groups. Our enrollment on site continues to grow gradually and safely.

At the same time, our Zoom groups have continued to be a real hit, both for participants who also attend onsite programs and those who are still at home! One of the newest favorites is Field Trip Fridays, where staff guide participants on a virtual tour of local attractions such as Smiling Hill Farm, Grey Wildlife Park, and even the Virtual Fryeburg Fair. 

A big thank you to all of our participants and on site teams for keeping the important practices of wearing masks, social distancing, and hand washing. We are looking forward to some Halloween Celebrations coming up!

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


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

Dylan Aitken
Savannah Mooney
Matthew Libby
George Kampstra
Amanda Thompson 
Joseph Sprage 
Ian Taylor
Dylan Roy 
Elliot Voltz
Hunter Frechette
Hannah Foster
Ben St. Lawrence 

Happy Birthday! 
Thank You to Our October Donors!

  Gregory & Lorraine Cyr
E.C. & Catherine Sanders
Jason Briggs & Monique Carrington
William & Patricia Conley
Richard & Bridget Whiting
Eleanor Berry
Laura Metivier
Charles & Julianna Myers
Andrew & Karen Williamson
Donald Perreault - In Honor of Dylan Perreault
Ralph & Kathy Cabana
E. Gerry & Betty Johnson
Faith Comstock Trust
David & Paula Thompson
James & Janet Barns
Brian & Julie Fournier
Richard & Shirley MacIntosh
John & Donna Dwyer
Robert & Margaret Murray
Erica Schwarz
Ellen Decotiis
Linda Falkenberg
Abigail Theriault
Gordon & Laurie Oliver
Marion & Cynthia Pawlek
Thomas McKeon
Lisa Gorman
Peter Haynes
Paul & Beverly Mattatall - In Honor Of Caleb Dunlap
Anne Owens - In Memory of Robert West
James Evangelou
Melissa Parrott
Elizabeth Gray
Misty Hodgdon
Katie Spotz
Becca & Mike Baker
Kathy Damon
Kim McCullen
Pamela Wildes
Matthew Campbell
Andrienne Ross
Martha Ann Savard
Molly Salt
Jon Freeman 

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 Thomas! Thomas has been a STRIVE member for many years now, and currently is a member of our ACTIVE Day Program. Thomas is an alumni of the first ever graduating class of our TOPS program, has attended many of our Wednesday Night Ed classes, and has recently transitioned from attending STRIVE Night's each Friday to now being a member of the STRIVE 25 crew! Thomas also attends the STRIVE 5K and STRIVE Rocks every year with his family - and always makes sure to come down and visit Kevin On The Roof. We love having Thomas in so many of our programs and are so proud of how much he has grown and matured over the last several years!

STRIVE Volunteer Spotlight 

This month's Volunteer Spotlight goes to not one, but many volunteers! We wanted to thank the STRIVE Auction Committee for all of the hard work put into making this year's auction so successful! This committee started meeting in the Spring to discuss how to make the STRIVE auction still happen in a year where in-person events didn't seem possible. From brainstorming different event ideas to auction item donations and more, our 16th Annual Auction wouldn't be possible without our committee! 

Thank you to: 

Caroline Cole

Peter Brown

Elaine Gervais

Carley Thiboutot

Lynn Swell

Joanna Bulger

Sara Brown

Whitney Wildes

Tom Dipasqua 

Peggy Cloutier

Richard Stark

Kristin Rowe

Mike Rowe

Olivia Fraioli

Arianna Bulger 

Helen Meyer



Are you interested in helping plan next year's auction? Contact Whitney at to join our committee! 


General Announcements


Virtual Tweens: Every Friday from 3:30-5:30pm
Virtual STRIVE Night: Every Friday from 6-9pm
Virtual STRIVE 25: Thursday, November 12th and 19th, 6-8pm


  • Wednesday, November 11th
  • Thursday, November 26th
  • Friday, November 27th 

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!