Newsletter – December 2022

Happy Holidays from First Place–Phoenix!

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the annual Holiday Tour of Doors! First Place–Phoenix residents and Transition Academy students were full of joy leading tours around the property, showcasing the great work and creativity everyone put into making their doors so fun and festive. Congratulations to winners for Best Theme, Most Unique, Most Festive, Most Colorful and Most Creative!

Significant Milestone for In A Different Key on PBS

This extraordinary documentary about autism has come a long way from local film festivals to the national spotlight! PBS premiered In A Different Key in 50 top markets across the country December 13. The film follows the history of autism in the U.S., starting with the first person ever diagnosed—now an 89-year-old man living in Forest, Mississippi—the uniquely supportive community where he was born and raised. The film also follows Mickey, son of co-producer Caren Zucker, at First Place-Phoenix and around the supportive Phoenix community.

Take advantage of post-premiere viewing opportunities on until Friday, Jan. 13, 2023. Some PBS affiliates are also rerunning the film (check local listings).

2022 Piper Fellows Includes One of First Place’s Own

First Place AZ is proud to share that Founder & President CEO Denise Resnik has been named a Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust 2022 Piper Fellow. Fellows are chosen and honored for their outstanding leadership and impact in Maricopa County and receive fellowships for study, reflection and growth. Learn more about Piper Fellows and the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust here—and congratulations to this year’s Piper Fellows on this incredible achievement!

Adventure Club Video Says (and Shows!) It All

As 2023 approaches, we can’t help but to look back on an incredible 2022 of Adventure Club fun and excitement for First Place–Phoenix residents and Transition Academy students! Each month, participants experienced a new activity to keep minds sharp and bodies moving. Hear about some of their most memorable moments and what they hope to continue experiencing in the year ahead. HUGE THANKS to the generous donors who made this “Year of Adventure” possible!

Community Life Alive and Well at First Place

Check out the fun activities that kept First Place–Phoenix residents engaged and on the go this month!

The holiday spirit is alive and well at First Place–Phoenix, too! Residents celebrated the first night of Hanukkah with our friends from Gesher Disability Resources making cards and paper dreidels, reading Hanukkah stories and participating in the dreidel hunt. Residents also decorated a large tree to light up the lobby and celebrated with some delicious, homemade and very creatively hand-made cookies.

Multicultural dinner: Various holidays make up the festive season—and it’s fun learning about them all. First Place–Phoenix residents and students enjoyed a worldly experience during a recent multicultural dinner representing different cultures. Their delicious feast included kebobs for Ramadan, latkes and challah bread for Hanukkah, mac and cheese for Kwanzaa, and green beans and honey-glazed ham for Yule. We hope whichever holiday you celebrate is full of warmth, peace and love!

Local Press on First Place

In this recent introspective Arizona Republic op-ed, First Place AZ Founder & President/CEO and SARRC Co-Founder Denise D. Resnik shares heartfelt insights into family life with autism. She also offers a hopeful outlook for moving the needle on supportive housing in Arizona for individuals with autism and other intellectual/developmental disabilities—but time is of the essence.

Additional coverage by the Arizona Republic includes this article by Catherine Reagor, senior real estate reporter, highlighting the important work First Place—along with state and market leaders—is doing to meet the supportive housing needs of adults with autism and/or other intellectual/developmental disabilities.

UCONN Autism Employment Initiative News

The Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at University of Connecticut Research is making significant strides in employment outcomes for neurodiverse individuals. UCONN’s new initiative is changing the narrative of supportive neurodiverse policies in higher education and employment throughout the state by creative inclusive environments, identifying unique employment barriers and collaborating with various experts in the field. Read about this groundbreaking initiative here.

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