STRIVE, which stands for Socialization, Transition, Reflection, Innovation, Vocation, and Education, is a nonprofit organization in South Portland that assists tweens, teens, and young adults with developmental disabilities. Beginning in 1999, STRIVE sought to provide recreational and social opportunities, with a focus on creating peer support. STRIVE held its first teen night in December of that year, with just four members walking through the door. Today, the organization has grown to serve over 900 members through nine different social, educational, post-secondary, and employment programs. The goal of each program is simple—to assist members in utilizing resources within their community so they can participate as viable members.

STRIVE Night - Each Friday, the STRIVE Center opens its doors for STRIVE Night, a social program for 15 to 24 year olds. Teens and young adults join us for a night of games, dancing, and interacting with their peers in safe, inclusive atmosphere. A member-led Advisory Board meets to develop new, exciting ideas to enhance the program, including monthly theme nights, such as a Halloween Party, Spring Fling, and STRIVE Idol.

TWEENS - In 2010, STRIVE expanded our services to serve 11 to 14 year olds through our Tweens program. Held each Friday afternoon, Tweens provides a safe, structured atmosphere to expand social opportunities for middle school students. Whether it is dance class, a visit from a local animal shelter, or a day of arts and crafts, each week consists of an engaging activity designed for this age group.

Wednesday Night Educational Series- STRIVE’s Wednesday Night Educational Series provides numerous educational opportunities for our members. Classes are held every Wednesday evening at STRIVE with a different topic each month. Past topics have included World Cultures, Cooking and Culinary Skills, Job Preparation, Internet Safety, and Healthy Relationships.

After School - is a program designed for high school students and provides education beyond the classroom. Created in 2006, this program is highly individualized, working on goals such as homework, cleaning, community involvement, social skills, and more. This program runs throughout the school year with schedules modified for each individual.

Camp STRIVE - is held every school vacation week, including all summer for 11 to 24 year olds with developmental disabilities. This program provides members with the opportunity to make friends, play games, and learn valuable skills in a day camp setting. Each week, campers participate in arts and crafts, games, cooking, and field trips to local attractions such as Portland Sea Dogs games, state parks, and area beaches. Campers are supported by caring, trained, and professional STRIVE staff. Camp runs Monday through Friday of each vacation week, with early drop-off and late pick-up options available.