Blogs

Some look back, others look forward—and some do both. Enjoy and check back. There are always more to come!
March 2024

Good Grief, What a Performance! On a recent delightful spring Saturday evening, the stage at Phoenix Center for the Arts was brimming with pride and confidence as the First Place–Phoenix…

March 2021

In A Different Key, the new documentary about autism, depicts what’s possible for people with autism living in Forest, Mississippi, Phoenix, Arizona and communities across the country. While we know…

February 2021

Humor. It’s a powerful thing that can get us through all kinds of life events, cycles and seasons. My husband Rob and I recently celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary. Admittedly,…

November 2020

After two years as a resident of First Place–Phoenix, Matt, who has autism, has learned how to live more independently—on his best days and even those that don’t go quite…

November 2020

Oh, the frustrations of not being able to find the words to describe what you want, speaking without being understood and others not appreciating what you need. Through the years,…

July 2020

To stay positive during these uncertain times, some of our residents and students at First Place–Phoenix are taking the time to reflect on the past, present and future. We hope…

May 2020

Sydnee Schwartz, First Place Social Media Specialist & Photographer Emotion is an important part of digital storytelling. It is essential to telling the right story with the right amount of…

May 2020

Zoom is compelling many of us to take a closer look. For me, it starts with my aging neck and the sun damage due to the naïve use in youth…

March 2020

Our son Matt and I recently enjoyed a typical weekend of running errands. Our first stop was Supercuts, where we were warmly welcomed (Matt’s a regular). No explanation was needed…

January 2020

What keeps you going? Not such an unfamiliar question, right? As my North Star, our son Matt, age 28, keeps me going, as do good health, a “keeper” husband of…

December 2019

I admit it. I’m sensitive. So is our community. The words we use matter—a lot! During our fall Global Leadership Institute Symposium, I shared my definition of community: “It’s the people…

October 2019

(October 2019 Series, Blog #3) Muir Woods of Northern California. Amazing beauty. A natural wonder. A refuge for cherished time reflecting, contemplating—and being away from life’s many (electronic!) distractions. We…

October 2019

(October 2019 Series, Blog #2) It’s hard to imagine a time when air conditioning was a unique marketing feature of Phoenix homes. Few can live without it today in the…

October 2019

(October 2019 Series, Blog #1) Highways are designed and built with much thought, engineering and investment. Rules of the road help us get where we’re going easily, quickly and safely….

October 2019

(October 2019 Blog Series – Intro) “What brings you to D.C.?” someone asked me this week. The short answer? Learning with and being inspired by pioneers focused on achieving better…

October 2019

The First Place–Phoenix team celebrates a year of firsts by sharing their favorite memories. Fiona Falbo, Vocational Coordinator I work with residents on their all-important, potentially life-changing job searches. Here…

August 2019

(2019 Summer Series, Blog #6) This time of year, Matt is often asked where he goes to school. It’s understandable, considering his youthful appearance and mannerisms, as well as his…

July 2019

Lara Stolman, filmmaker, journalist and mom to a son with autism, recently visited First Place–Phoenix and brought her award-winning documentary “Swim Team” with her for special screenings for staff and…

July 2019

(2019 Summer Series, Blog #5) Since Matt moved into First Place–Phoenix, we’ve learned that when the skills, training and infrastructure are in place, so much is possible! Still, we can’t…

July 2019

(2019 Summer Series, Blog #4) After working on Matt’s transition to his new home over several months (years!), Rob and I made the monumental decision for Matt to spend an…

July 2019

(2019 Summer Series, Blog #3) During months of trial and error and a detailed 16-step shaving process that Matt followed faithfully, his face cuts continued. That’s when we resorted to…

June 2019

(2019 Summer Series, Blog #2) At 7:30 p.m. one recent evening, Rob and I were alerted via the Life360 tracking app that Matt had left First Place and was traveling…

June 2019

(2019 Summer Series, Blog #1) Matt is a 28-year-old man with “classic” autism who has been able to work, communicate with some limitations and enjoy a good game of Uno…

June 2019

Our 2019 summer blog series chronicles the journey of our son Matt’s transition to life at First Place–Phoenix, thanks in large part to Rob—Matt’s tech-savvy dad, “father of fun” and…

December 2018

This month marks the two-year anniversary of the First Place–Phoenix groundbreaking. I’m happy to report that our culture of inclusion and learning is alive and well. We are enjoying the…