Newsletter – April 2020

We’re pleased to report that last week’s two-day First Place Global Leadership Institute Webinar accomplished our goal to stay connected and share information on continuing progress in two areas in particular: A Place in the World sister study to 2009’s Opening Doors; structured and real-time learning; and lessons learned throughout the development of First Place. Thanks to the generosity of Kat and Roger Weitz, we were able to offer the two webinars free of charge.

More than 100 participants across multiple industry sectors joined us for presentations, Q&As and breakout sessions. We greatly appreciate everyone’s participation in this time of COVID-19, which precipitated the cancellation of our seventh symposium in Phoenix but also provided the opportunity to maintain the momentum on various important, ongoing issues. Please mark your calendars for our fall symposium this October 21–23 in Phoenix, when we plan on sharing firsthand experiences and a content-rich program–in person!

First Place Participates in “Light AZ Blue”

After Governor Doug Ducey recently announced a statewide tribute to honor healthcare workers and first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, First Place has been participating in “Light AZ Blue.” Join us in this local effort echoing similar and much-deserved recognition across the U.S.!

Visit Us on a Virtual Tour!

While we follow Arizona’s “stay at home” order, we’ve developed a creative and convenient way to continue access to First Place–Phoenix…through virtual tours! May dates are listed below. Take the opportunity to see firsthand why “We’re the place for that.®” We look forward to welcoming you in person when restrictions are officially lifted. In the meantime, enjoy a virtual tour through our unique, supportive community!

Transition Academy Program on Track

Plans are still underway for freshmen to begin the fall 2020 Transition Academy program in early August, pending the official lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. For more information about enrollment, which is currently in process, please send a message to In the meantime, the program continues online and in person, with an emphasis on COVID-19 prevention. Students are engaging in one-on-one sessions, online courses and appropriate physically distant activities while still following the Transition Academy model. Whether on-site or remotely, all students are participating and actively learning in the four program focus areas: household and personal management, community engagement, self-determination and employment.

A Simple Way to Support First Place

While we’re all practicing physical distancing and doing more online shopping, please consider a simple way to support First Place. Just go to and select First Place AZ as the charitable organization of your choice from the “Supporting” drop-down menu. The prices, selection and experience are the same as on, but AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchase to First Place. Many thanks!

Intel Equipment Donation Welcomed

A recent donation from Intel provided a timely update to our computer equipment at First Place, including laptops, tablets and desktops. Neil Dreiseszun, whose extensive IT experience and longtime involvement in various in-house projects have kept us technologically current, facilitated the donation. We’re grateful for Intel’s generosity and Neil’s ongoing support!

Latest “Trend”—Staying the Course

Denise Resnik could never have imagined just how prescient her words would be when interviewed by journalist Barbara Kaplan earlier this year for the “Inner-View” column on page 15 of the latest issue of local “Trends” magazine. The importance of family and community service—more vital than ever in these days of COVID-19—shone through as she reflected in response to Barbara’s questions about the past. But when asked “What’s next?”, Denise stayed true to her decades-long vision for First Place: “There’s still a lot to be done—and still a lot of energy, motivation and inspiration to keep us going.” Words that positively resonate today for all of us to press on and stay the course!

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