Spring Symposium Theme: “Look back. Drive the future…”

The ninth First Place Global Leadership Institute Symposium is just around the corner! Join us April 7 and 8 to hear from pioneers in housing and community development.

The two-day webinar, with the theme of “Look back. Drive the future…”, will focus on what’s needed and required in housing development for adults with autism and other neurodiversities and what we can do now to make those all-important advancements possible in communities everywhere. The lineup includes developers, researchers and healthcare leaders who are informing our big visions and foundational plans. Together, we can ensure housing and community options are as bountiful for people with autism and other neurodiversities as they are for everyone else. Please join us! Click here for more information and to register.

Vaccinations a Welcome Shot in the Arm!

We reached a huge health milestone this month! In partnership with Scottsdale Physician’s Group, First Place residents, Transition Academy students and several staff members were offered the opportunity to receive their first doses of the Moderna vaccine on-site. We’re preparing for dose #2 scheduled for April 20!

New Autism Documentary Breaks New Ground

In a Different Key, the new documentary on autism, depicts what’s possible for people with autism living in Forest, Mississippi, Phoenix, Arizona and communities across the country. It’s one thing to be told that your child could have a life—a home, a job, a friend, a community that supports them. It’s another thing to see it in action and experience it firsthand, too. This extraordinary film is already garnering awards soon after its introduction this month, including best documentary at the Oxford Film Festival and the Sonoma International Film Festival. It’s also scheduled for the Sedona International Film Festival this summer. Watch the trailer and read more about this exciting new film in the latest blog from Denise’s spring series.

Sustainable Housing Solutions Focus of Latest Autism Spectrum News Articles

Two timely articles co-authored by Denise Resnik, founder and president/CEO of First Place AZ, and Desiree Kameka Galloway, director of the Autism Housing Network, focus on the pressing need for housing solutions for special populations—and offer solutions for moving the needle in the right direction.

First Place Benefits from ASU Theater Talent

First Place–Phoenix residents and Transition Academy students are having a great time with our new friend, Jacob Buttry, graduate student at ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Jacob is teaching everyone about theater and creative expression. Each week, participants are getting more comfortable in exciting, new settings as they learn how to communicate their thoughts and emotions while connecting with their community and neighbors in new ways.

Spring Has Sprung in First Place Gardens

Everyone is poised to harvest fresh lettuce, herbs and tomatoes from our indoor and outdoor gardens, thanks to a Sprouts Healthy Communities Grant. As part of the grant, more community gardens are being planned and developed nearby representing new volunteering, learning and harvesting opportunities for First Place residents and the broader community. Stay tuned for more details about our ever-growing bounty!

Sprucing Up for Spring

Students from xtylo Beauty College recently returned to First Place–Phoenix to offer residents and Transition Academy students complimentary haircuts and manicures. What a great opportunity for everyone to freshen up their spring look! Thanks, xtylo, for your generosity—and all the right touches!

In A Different Key, the new documentary about autism, depicts what’s possible for people with autism living in Forest, Mississippi, Phoenix, Arizona and communities across the country. While we know communities are perfectly imperfect, they provide us with opportunities to learn, grow, appreciate differences and experience kindness. As co-producer and co-director John Donvan says, “It’s not that hard to have someone’s back.”

Throughout the development of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center and First Place AZ, we’ve been able to count on the people of Greater Phoenix to be in our corner, to take that leap of faith as a supportive community as we develop more places where people can live, work and learn—what Donvan and co-producer Caren Zucker refer to in their 2016 PBS NewsHour series as “the most autism-friendly city in the world.”

The documentary—scored by legendary New Orleans jazz great Wynton Marsalis—is premiering on March 25 at the 18th Annual Oxford Film Festival in Oxford, Mississippi. Oxford just happens to be about 150 miles north of the town of Forest, where 87-year-old Donald Triplett, “Case No. 1” featured in In a Different Key, still lives and where the community cheers him on every day. Donald will view the documentary, which is also scheduled for upcoming film festivals in Sonoma, New York and Sedona.

“The film brought me laughter, tears and growing insight into a condition that remains a mystery as vast as the human mind and as impactful as the human soul,” writes syndicated columnist Sid Salter in a guest column in the Clarion Ledger.

Hear from Zucker and Donvan, authors of the Pulitzer Prize finalist book titled In A Different Key: The Story of Autism on which the film is based, and catch a glimpse of what’s possible when everyone recognizes that each of us has a role to play in creating a healthy, accepting and diverse community. As Matt’s mom, it’s what I always dreamed could be possible. And thanks to our local community and pioneering leaders across the country, we are creating more options and places everywhere.

Discover how others are leading the way. You can, too, by joining us for the ninth First Place Global Leadership Institute Symposium—via webinar—on April 7 and 8.

It’s one thing to be told that your child could have a life—a home, a job, a friend, a community that supports them. It’s another thing to see it in action and experience it firsthand, too.