Newsletter – July 2022

Meeting Housing Needs and Preferences: We Need Your Valued Input!

First Place AZ is launching the Greater Phoenix Housing Market Analysis, a comprehensive initiative for adults with autism and/or other intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD)—and we need to hear from you! Join us on Thursday, August 4 from 6:30–8 p.m. (PDT) for a Zoom stakeholder meeting and the opportunity to share more about your or your family’s needs and preferences for housing solutions through the completion of a survey. Register here for the Zoom meeting.

Disability Pride Month—First Place Style!

July was filled with lots of amazing happenings in celebration of Disability Pride Month. Human Resources Director Sarah Marchese kicked things off with a personal reflection on her lifelong challenges with glaucoma. Other First Place–Phoenix residents weighed in with their own take on the joys and challenges of life with a disability.

360 Health & Wellness® Summer Cohort Registration Open

Join us to build your Peace of Mind Portfolio™ during the summer cohort of First Place’s 360 Health & Wellness curriculum this August. The cohort includes courses designed for individuals with autism and other neurodiversities (Staying Healthy) and their families/caregivers (Supporting Independence). Learn more and register here for this insightful and practical program that is gaining fast in popularity after its 2021 debut.

October 2022 Symposium Details Now Available

Join us for 11th First Place Global Leadership Institute Symposium this fall, with a compelling theme of “One First Leads to the Next.” Benefit from rich, relevant and compelling content from an assembly of remarkable leaders and presenters, including keynote speaker Dr. Thomas Insel, former director of the National Institutes of Mental Health, co-founder and executive chairman of Vanna Health, and author of “Healing: Our Path from Mental Illness to Mental Health.”

SARRC & First Place AZ Front and Center on Arizona Horizon

First Place AZ Founder & President/CEO Denise D. Resnik, also co-founder of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), joined SARRC’s President & CEO Danny Openden on KAET Channel 8’s long-running show “Arizona Horizon” in recognition of SARRC’s 25th anniversary. The pair reflected on SARRC’s first 25 years of innovative and groundbreaking services and the next 25 years to come. Watch the full interview here.

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 residents engaged and on the go this month…

  • The latest Adventure Club outing this month was super “cool!” First Place–Phoenix residents and Transition Academy students donned jeans and sweatshirts—amid triple digits of a typical Arizona summer—to go ice skating at AZIce Arcadia. Many had ice skated before and did a great job re-finding their balance around the rink for some fun out of the sun.
  • The ever-popular Thunderbirds Charities sports pool has served as a convenient venue for swim lessons, thanks to First Place bookkeeper Tori Marwig. A former competitive synchronized swimmer and swim instructor for kids with special needs, residents are benefiting from Tory’s talents as they hone their water skills—all while enjoying a refreshing reprieve from Arizona’s relentless summer heat.
  • Our on-site Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation Garden’s most recent harvest includes HUGE Armenian cucumbers! While commonly mistaken for cucumbers because of their shape (hence the misnomer), they’re actually muskmelons and smell and taste similar to cantaloupe and watermelon. Whatever we call them, they sure make for some fresh, delicious salads!
  • First Place–Phoenix residents and Transition Academy students are warming up their vocal cords and dusting off their dancing shoes! Weekly community theater workshops are back, with participants hard at work getting ready for their next performance with new First Place friend Gary, who has a background in theater. After the amazing success of the spring presentation of The Wizard of Oz, we’re excited to learn what the next performance will be!

First Place–Phoenix Recognizes Leadership

First Place–Phoenix is excited to share expanded roles for two exceptional leaders. Community Life Coordinator Lexie Egerer now serves as Director of Community Life and Wellness, where she will develop and oversee a new wellness program coordinated with Community Life events. Vocational Coordinator Natasha Grant has been named Director of Inclusion and Vocation. Natasha will continue to develop relationships with community partners for volunteer, internship and employment opportunities while supporting residents and Transition Academy students in job skill development. Congratulations to Lexie and Natasha—dedicated changemakers of the First Place community!

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