Newsletter – May 2021

Pandemic Restrictions—and Our Hearts—Are Lifted!

The long-awaited announcement of the reopening of First Place community spaces has arrived! Considering a large percentage of our community has been vaccinated, effective immediately, all COVID-19 restrictions are lifted—and residents and staff alike are quickly returning to the same bustling hub of daily living, learning and leading. We’re eager and excited to pick up where we left off so many months ago and redirect our collective energy to the many activities and projects that make First Place a diverse community of pride, purpose and endless possibilities!

Autism Documentary a Local Must-See

The extraordinary new documentary “In A Different Key”—scored by legendary New Orleans jazz great Wynton Marsalis—depicts what’s possible for people with autism living in Forest, Mississippi, Phoenix, Arizona and communities across the country.

Award-winning journalists Caren Zucker and John Donvan, authors of the Pulitzer Prize finalist book titled In a Different Key: The Story of Autism on which the award-winning film is based, reprise their 2016 two-part series for PBS Newshour titled “A Place in the World,” the namesake of First Place’s 2020 follow-up to 2009’s Opening Doors report.

The film about 87-year-old Donald Triplett, the first man officially diagnosed with autism and known as “Case No. 1,” is years in the making and features First Place–Phoenix. We hope you’ll also help us spread the word for upcoming Arizona film festivals in Sedona and Phoenix where In A Different Key will be shown.

Harkins Theatres Sedona
(2081 AZ-89A, Sedona, AZ 86336)

  • Tuesday, June 15 at 10 a.m.
  • Friday, June 18 at 4:10 p.m.

Harkins Theatres Scottsdale 101

(7000 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85054)

  • Saturday, Aug. 14 at 2:15 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 15 at 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 17 at 5:05 p.m.

Expansion Bodes Well for Local Jobs

Our partner in ongoing efforts at expanding employment opportunities for those we serve—The Precisionists, Inc. (TPI), a Wilmington, Delaware-based company that creates jobs for individuals across a broad range of disabilities—has opened its newest and much-anticipated Innovation & Technology Center at 44th Street and Washington streets in Phoenix. TPI clients—and employers of First Place residents—include Salt River Project, Cox Communications and the state of Arizona.

The goal of TPI’s employment and training center (the newest of three across the country) is to provide hundreds of job opportunities for adults with autism and other neurodiversities over the next three to five years. First Place led the recruitment of The Precisionists to the Valley and continues to support their expansion plans to create more jobs for more people. Read more about the momentum building for this exciting employment initiative with huge potential for shaping the lives of First Place residents and so many others in Arizona and beyond. 

Recent Column Tackles Looming Question

A recent “Your Turn” column in the Arizona Republic and its online news site featured an op-ed from First Place AZ Founder and President/CEO Denise D. Resnik about realizing new hopes and dreams for adults with autism and other neurodiversities thanks to this supportive community, which has made Phoenix “the most autism-friendly city in the world.”

Vaccine Drive = Mission Accomplished!

First Place–Phoenix is excited to share that through a collaboration with Scottsdale Physicians Group LLC, the majority of our staff, residents and Transition Academy students are now fully vaccinated! Check out this video to learn more about how everyone collaborated to support each other and help strengthen our supportive community.

Reading Lounges Write New Chapter at First Place

Thanks to the generosity of Dave and Lucy Smith, the First Place Reading Lounges are officially open! Residents and Transition Academy students are checking out books using our in-house cataloging system. Several have volunteered to help organize the books and fill the shelves—nonfiction on the second floor and fiction on the third floor. The fourth floor will soon serve as home for the collections lounge. Residents and students have also organized a book club that meets bimonthly in the cozy lounges. We’re thrilled to help kickstart some great reading!

The multipurpose lounges serve not only as comfortable, calm spots to explore various titles, but also as spaces for social gatherings—Monday Book Club included—and one-on-one consults between residents and support providers and/or counselors.

These amazing, unique and beautiful reading lounges will impact and enrich the lives of First Place–Phoenix residents for years to come.

Back in the Gym with Results Only Fitness

With the Valley steadily opening up, First Place residents and Transition Academy students are excited to get back to their in-person workouts at Results Only Fitness! Bobby Kelly and Kelly Michael have been most generous with their time during the pandemic, working on-site in small groups to help everyone stay healthy and active while following First Place COVID-19 protocols. Nothing beats going back to the gym!

Take a Tour of First Place This Summer

We’ve lined up virtual tours of the First Place–Phoenix Apartments to fit any schedule throughout the summer. Join us for a firsthand look at this unique, modern property and the many supports and amenities offered to residents with autism and other neurodiversities seeking opportunities for more independent living in a connected, supportive community. Leasing is ongoing.

Applications are also available for the 2021-22 First Place Transition Academy, a structured two-year residential program focused on building independent living and career-readiness skills. Reserve your spot for a tour and Q&A session today. We’re also offering a transition program workshop next month.

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