Newsletter – April 2023

Another Generous Triple-Match from Make Waves Family Foundation!

In recognition of Autism Acceptance Month, Make Waves Family Foundation—a longtime First Place AZ champion and nonprofit equally committed to the cause—is TRIPLE MATCHING donations and directing the funds to the First Place Global Leadership Institute through Sunday, April 30. Make Waves “strives to fund the most innovative, scalable and replicable programs to address the needs of young adults on the Autism spectrum.” 

2022 Annual Report pages

First Place’s 2022 Annual Report Published

First Place AZ is proud to announce the publication of its 2022 annual report, chock full of information on the status and steady progress of various major initiatives—along with a special glimpse into the everyday lives of the First Place–Phoenix residents and Transition Academy students we serve. And learn more about those who continue to make our commitment of “one first leads to the next” possible.

A Busy, Productive Autism Acceptance Month

It’s been a busy April, thanks to the power of Autism Acceptance Month to enlighten and educate.

  • AZ Gives Day proceeds on April 4 went to the First Place Transition Academy, a groundbreaking program helping adults with autism and other neurodiversities learn crucial life skills to live more independently on their own after graduation. Hear from residents who shared about their passions and progress on this big day of annual giving that gets bigger every year!
  • First Place friend Tom D’Eri, founder of Rising Tide Car Wash, joined us for April’s inspiring LNCS session, “Innovative Insights: Designing a Workplace for and with Team Members with Autism.” Tom shared how a nontraditional workforce like that at Rising Tide—over 80% of its employees have autism—can grow a better business.
  • Bashas’ Supermarkets teamed up with Autism Society of Southern Arizona, Arizona Autism United (AZA United), First Place AZ and Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) to promote understanding and acceptance of autism—together! Bashas’ customers made donations to these leading autism organizations in the Valley at checkout during the month of April. Thank you to Bashas’ and their customers for this much-appreciated support!

Waymo Leads the Way!

First Place AZ has teamed up with Waymo—the world’s first fully autonomous ride-hailing service—in a pilot involving their Phoenix fleet. A key part of our partnership is how Waymo’s services help First Place–Phoenix residents and Transition Academy students navigate the community in getting to and from their volunteering and jobs—an essential independent living skill. Learn more about how this amazing partnership is benefitting Waymo, First Place–Phoenix and the overall disability community by watching this cool video!

Huge thanks to our friends at Waymo and Let’s Talk Autonomous Driving for sharing this groundbreaking story!

Transition Academy Discovery Day

Join us for one of several May Discover Days—virtually and in person—to learn more about the First Place Transition Academy, including the enrollment process for the class of 2023–25.

The First Place Transition Academy, a two-year, residential life skills program with clinical services provided by Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), is designed for adults ages 18 and older with autism to help them build crucial independent living and career-readiness skills. Located at First Place–Phoenix, the Transition Academy offers the Learn4Independence® curriculum and individualized supportive services to guide participants in maximize their ability to live more independently.

During Discover Days, learn more about the comprehensive curriculum; in-person attendees can tour the state-of-the-art property, and have a chance to speak with instructors and current students. Register to attend in person or online.

Goodmans Chair Hockey Event to Benefit First Place

Goodmans Chair Hockey is back on Thursday, May 11 with proceeds to benefit First Place AZ! “Heated competition and raucous silliness are the order of the night” for one of the company’s most popular fundraising events, according to Goodmans. Sixteen teams of commercial real estate industry professionals battle for the title of Champion. The biscuits (pucks) will be flying, the stripes (refs) will be monitoring—and hopefully no lost chiclets (teeth)!

Established in 1954, Phoenix-based Goodmans—a longtime First Place champion—is the largest office furniture dealer in the Southwest through the strength of its employees and its offering of leading office furniture, seating, case goods and architectural wall solutions.

First Place Community Life—Alive & Kicking!

  • First Place–Phoenix residents and Transition Academy students had a great time celebrating Autism Acceptance Month with the Arizona Diamondbacks this weekend. ⚾️Despite their 5-7 loss to the San Diego Padres, it was a memorable outing full of fun with friends—and a win for the ever-growing, supportive autism community in the Valley! 
  • Residents recently strutted their stuff down the runway for a second year participating in K2 Adventures Foundation’s annual fundraiser “Summer in the City.” Models donned clothes and jewelry from iBoutique and Galicia Fine Jewelers to show off some beautiful, super fun and comfortable summer fashions. Thank you to our fun friends at K2 who support several amazing organizations, including First Place–Phoenix residents who benefit from K2 Fit & Well and K2 Kitchens.
  • Another successful SARRC Community Breakfast for the history books! We’re especially proud of First Place–Phoenix resident and rock star Lincoln, who gave a riveting, delightful speech about his autism journey with a proud family and captivated audience present to cheer him on.

First Place in the News

  • Denise D. Resnik, First Place AZ founder & president/CEO, recently sat down as a guest on the local Building Buzz podcast in recognition of Autism Acceptance Month. The biweekly series, produced by Small Giants—a full-service Phoenix marketing agency—and the Phoenix Business Journal, covers “trends and trendsetters in one of the most dynamic real estate markets in the nation.”
  • She also recently shared her insights on managed care with Arizona for Better Medicaid. Watch here.
  • Historical League’s Arizona Historymakers welcomed Denise into the ranks of this illustrious group of state leaders as one of 10 awardees for 2023—its 43rd year. Historymakers are individuals who have distinguished themselves with noted achievements in such areas as the arts, athletics, communications, community service, education and entertainment—while maintaining their ties to Arizona. Visit the History League’s website for a fascinating, varied list of current and past honorees.
2022 Greater Phoenix Housing Market Analysis

Latest Blog Dives into GPHMA

In her latest blog, Denise D. Resnik, First Place AZ founder & president/CEO, offers an apt childhood diving-board metaphor for addressing housing and community solutions for neurodiverse populations as she shares more about the first-ever Greater Phoenix Housing Market Analysis. Dive in here!

Upcoming Events

May 4 & 18: Virtual Transition Academy Discover Days
May 10 & 25:  In Person Transition Academy Discover Days
Oct 18-20: 2023 Global Leadership Institute Symposium

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