Newsletter – July 2020

New Sculpture Adds Flair to First Place–Phoenix

First Place–Phoenix is the proud new owner of a magnificent, modern Michael Johnson steel sculpture, thanks to the generous donation by Carol Swagel. First Place volunteer art curator and longtime champion Lisa Greve facilitated the contribution and engagement of Scott Talbot and his Art Solutions & Installations, LLC crew who placed this true masterpiece in its new, permanent home. As Lisa observes in her equal gratitude to Carol and Scott, “We can’t thank you enough…for your beautiful commitment to ensuring that art is available in places for people in all walks of life to enjoy.”

Transition Academy Moving Forward with Fall Program

Recent developments in Arizona concerning COVID-19 have necessitated several pivots before the start of the Transition Academy fall term next month—full at 18 participants strong! These include: online orientation starting August 3, including a review of policies and procedures, as well as community activities; and staggered move-ins the week of August 17 to make this exciting event easier and safer for everyone. Contact Marci Muhlestein with any questions about the Transition Academy. Everyone is excited to embark together on our sixth year of the Transition Academy program designed to help adults with autism on their paths to more independent and joyful living!

Summer of Kindness Full of Warmth

Residents, Transition Academy students and staff have jumped in with both feet (and hands!) to participate in some super-fun Summer of Kindness/KinderPHX projects that make a difference both at First Place and out in the community at large. Here’s a sampling—with lots more to come!

  • Making Kindness Bags and Sunshine Boxes full of goodies for First Place friends, neighbors and staff
  • Partnering with Arizona Helping Hands to assemble more than 100 first-aid kits for foster families around the Valley
  • Working with HandsOn Greater Phoenix to make kindness cards of gratitude for frontline workers at Valleywise Health Medical Center working hard to keep our communities healthy and safe (Special thanks to Rick D’Elia of D’Elia Photographic for taking such amazing photos during this activity!)
  • Assembling and packaging facemasks for the Navajo Reservation, a project spearheaded by First Place supporters from the Heard Museum

Take a Virtual Tour of First Place

Join us for weekly virtual tours of First Place–Phoenix on alternating Mondays and Fridays in August. Meet the leadership team, “tour” the First Place–Phoenix community and attend a brief info/Q&A session to learn more about various apartment options and our groundbreaking residential Transition Academy program. Register today—space is limited!

Orange Socks Podcast with Denise Resnik

First Place AZ founder & CEO Denise Resnik was recently featured in a podcast hosted by Orange Socks, a special needs parent community. Listen to Denise share how her 28-year-old son with autism, Matt, inspired her to develop First Place and its sister nonprofit, the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC)—organizations committed to fueling a new wave of real estate and a lifetime of support services for special populations. You can also watch the accompanying video featuring Denise and Matt. After you watch and listen, be sure to check out the cool socks in the Shop link!

“Resident Reflections” Offer Insights into Life at First Place

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 you’ll follow this series of “Resident Reflections” for some added serenity and positivity.

New “Home Matters to Arizona” Initiative Full of Promise

Home Matters®, a national movement redefining the American dream and the concept of “home,” is launching Home Matters to Arizona to build support for a new generation of affordable housing, connected communities and healthier individuals, families and economies. Phase one of the Arizona launch includes a $100 million Home Matters Arizona Fund to finance community development and affordable housing projects that foster more connected and healthier lives. First Place has been closely aligned with Home Matters for several years. Learn more about our early engagement that began in 2016.

New Book Spotlights First Place Residents

Did you know that we spend 90% of our time indoors? Emily Anthes, award-winning science journalist and author, has written a book titled “The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness” that explores those indoor spaces and how they affect our mental and physical well-being, including our thoughts, feelings and behaviors, as well as our productivity, performance and relationships.

Anthes visited First Place during her research for the book and spent time with resident Lindsey Eaton and her family, learning and writing about Lindsey’s challenging journey that ultimately brought her to living in a place of her own. Anthes also documents how ideas about housing for special populations are evolving where “the goal is to create spaces, products, and experiences that serve the widest possible range of people, at every age and along the entire spectrum of ability.”

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