Newsletter – August 2022

11th First Place Global Leadership Institute Symposium

Join us October 19–21 for the 11th First Place Global Leadership Institute Symposium with the option to attend in person in Phoenix, Arizona or via webinar. Benefit from decades of research and community-building know-how, along with experiences and strategies for navigating today’s opportunities and challenges inherent in the development of homes and inclusive communities. Take advantage of our powerful, in-depth three-day program—and build momentum for your supportive community, vision and outcomes.

In her latest blog, First Place AZ Founder & President/CEO Denise Resnik reflects on upcoming symposium keynote speaker and former director of the National Institute of Mental Health Thomas Insel, MD’s assertion that more than any pharmaceutical intervention, “connection” in dealing with mental health challenges can be part of the cure. Read more in his book titled Healing: Our Path from Mental Illness to Mental Health.

We Need to Hear from You!

The Greater Phoenix Housing Market Survey is open until Thursday, September 15! —and WE NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU! The survey collects data to identify challenges and barriers to housing needs and preferences of adults with autism and other neurodiversities and their families who live in the Greater Phoenix area—and how they can be addressed and improved by the public and private housing sectors. The Greater Phoenix area includes those who currently live in or those in Arizona who would like to live in: Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe.

First Place hosted a virtual event on August 4 to review the variety of housing options and services available to adults with autism and/or other I/DD in Greater Phoenix. A recording of the event is available. Please consider taking the survey and sharing it with others!

First Place Pushes for Public Policy Changes

First Place is committed to making sure the needs of the population we serve are included in current and future planning.

The Arizona State Legislature’s Housing Supply Study Committee, co-chaired by AZ Representative Steve Kaiser and Senator David Gowan, is meeting this summer and fall to review data on the scope of housing shortages across the state. The committee convened a hearing earlier this month attended by Maureen Casey, director of the First Place Global Leadership Institute’s The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Center for Public Policy and Colonel Harland Sanders Center for Applied Research, and Fiddle Fellow and ASU Morrison Institute researcher Toyosi Adesoye, where they presented Arizona data highlighting that individuals diagnosed with autism and/or intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) are an invisible population in the current, persistent housing crisis.

Say YES! to SARRC’s Second-Annual YES Day

First Place is excited to announce its support of and participation in the second annual YES Day for Autism fundraising and awareness campaign created and spearheaded by our sister nonprofit, the Southwest Autism Research & and Resource Center (SARRC). Join us in saying YES to creating more supportive, inclusive and adaptive communities for individuals with autism. Benefit from more than 40 autism resource providers from around the state and enjoy games, entertainment, a pumpkin patch and much more!

Thinking about the Transition Academy for 2023?

More virtual tours of the First Place–Phoenix Apartments and Transition Academy are scheduled through September! Meet the leadership team, take a virtual tour of the First Place–Phoenix community and attend a brief info session/Q&A to learn more about our programs. Watch for more information on the 2023 Transition Academy class next month. Register for a tour today—and see firsthand why We’re the place for that.®

Community Life Alive and Well at First Place

First Place residents are out and about in the community! Check out the fun activities that kept them engaged and on the go this month.

  • First Place–Phoenix residents and Transition Academy students recently visited the Hall of Flame Fire Museum of Firefighting in Phoenix. They learned about the history of firefighting and got a glimpse of what it’s like to be behind the wheel of some historic firefighting equipment. With 35,000 square feet of exhibit space, the museum has a unique collection over 130 wheeled pieces and thousands of smaller artifacts. Everyone had a great time!
  • A First Place–Phoenix fave is back…Sunday brunch! Participants recently practiced their culinary skills in the First Place kitchen, trying out a healthier version of breakfast tostadas using egg whites and fat-free beans with all the fixings. They paired those with a Mexican fruit salad made of watermelon (in season and so sweet!) and chili lime seasoning. ¡Que rico! How delish!
  • In honor of World Humanitarian Day, residents active in the First Place Gives program and staff participated in a memorable and important volunteer session at Feed My Starving Children in Mesa, working three stations where they collaborated to package MannaPack meals consisting of vitamins, vegetables, soy and rice. These nutritious meals will be sent to countries around the world—like Ukraine, Myanmar, Somalia and Angola—that are facing extreme hunger crises.
  • Residents recently prepped and delivered over 150 meals to Social Spin, a new First Place volunteer partner. Social Spin is a laundromat that provides “convenient, cost-effective and caring” laundry services—and clean clothes!—to community members of all abilities and life stages. We look forward to future projects with this Arizona-based, woman-owned business “leveraging laundromats to create healthy, employed communities.”
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