2014-05-23 / Front Page

STRIVE aims for mix of activities

Dance serves as prom for those who didn’t have one
By Sean P. Milligan
Contributing Writer


“It’s good to be president,” said STRIVE Advisory Board President Joshua Parks as he posed with Miss Maine Teen U.S.A., Danielle Hurtubise. (Eric Hughes “It’s good to be president,” said STRIVE Advisory Board President Joshua Parks as he posed with Miss Maine Teen U.S.A., Danielle Hurtubise. (Eric Hughes SOUTH PORTLAND – Kids who may not attend their high school’s prom got a special night of their own when STRIVE of Greater Portland held its Spring Fling last week.

Located at 28 Foden Road, STRIVE helps mentally and physically challenged children and young adults. The Spring Fling was put on in place of the organization’s monthly theme night

“A lot of people think of prom as a pretty self-serving ritual for the more popular types in school,” said Josh Parks, 21, president of the STRIVE Advisory Board. “It was pretty unanimous that we didn’t like the idea of calling it prom, so came up with (calling the dance) the Spring Fling. It’s the equivalent of that for the STRIVE environment.”

STRIVE’s advisory board works much the same way a high school club would. Board members must first declare their candidacy, give a speech and then candidates are voted in by active STRIVE participants.

The advisory board then meets every other week with a STRIVE staff member to plan the organization’s monthly theme nights.

“Our goal is to . . . connect them to be a part of the community as much as possible,” said STRIVE Program Director Pete Brown.

The event was described as being more toned down and more casual than traditional prom. Attendees were allowed to be as dressed-up or as dressed-down as they desired.

“Everything we do is pretty relaxed. We want everyone to be comfortable,” Brown said.

According to Parks and Brown, weekly social events at STRIVE have a showing of about 75 people and monthly theme nights can draw closer to 100. Before the event both were expecting at least those numbers, but all who attended were in for a great night.

“I’m just looking forward to seeing the people at STRIVE happy and having a good time,” Parks said. “It’s very important for me to give them activities and things to do that appeal to them.”

Miss Maine and Miss Teen Maine made appearances and Olive Garden of South Portland catered the dance. The event was complete with a DJ and photographer to mirrow the typical prom experience.

Although membership-based, STRIVE is open to any tweens, teens and young adults with physical or mental disabilities who range in age from 11 to 24. The next social event will be held at the STRIVE location in South Portland Friday, May 23.

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