Newsletter – May 2020

First Place Transition Academy Program Moving Forward—But First…Congrats, Graduates!

Plans are underway for freshmen to begin the fall 2020 Transition Academy program in early August. Enrollment will be capped at 18 participants and we are at near capacity. Our May webinar attracted prospective students and their families from across Arizona and the U.S. Informational virtual tours and Q&As are scheduled for every Monday and Friday in June.

In collaboration with GateWay Community College, sophomores will be celebrating their completion of the program with SARRC and First Place via a virtual graduation ceremony on Thursday, June 4. Feel free to “join” us!

National Geographic Recognizes First Place in May 2020 Issue

Just a few months following the opening of First Place–Phoenix in 2018, renowned National Geographic photojournalist Lynn Johnson visited for a firsthand look. The finished product is part of an extraordinary 27-page feature authored by Judith Newman in the current issue titled “Coming of Age with Autism.” We’ve also created an in-house, behind-the-scenes look at the many facets of having a journalistic institution like National Geographic in our midst.

Virtual Tours of First Place–Phoenix Starting this Month

Families interested in the Transition Academy and First Place Apartments can now take a virtual tour. Here’s the schedule with several options to fit various schedules. We’re also eager to welcome visitors back to First Place for in-person tours when we can safely lift visiting restrictions.

Pivotal Study Advances with Support from the Phoenix IDA

One of our most exciting First Place Leadership Institute initiatives now underway is A Place in the World, sister study to 2009’s groundbreaking Opening Doors report. A Place in the World will provide the foundational nomenclature for housing and service delivery models with the goal to further define market segments, establish best practices and guiding principles, and help drive crucial collaborations that address the current housing crisis for special populations. This new video shares more.

Thanks to partial funding from the Phoenix Industrial Development Authority, work continues with our partners—Autism Housing Network and ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy—as we set our sights on a fall 2020 introduction, pending additional funding. The Phoenix IDA is a longtime supporter of First Place, having provided integral funding in 2016 for the growth and expansion of the Transition Academy.

An international Leadership Advisory Board (LAB) representing industry luminaries is collaborating to develop strategies for how public, private, philanthropic and nonprofit sectors can build, grow and align communities to meet ever-increasing demand and serve the vast and diverse needs of individuals with autism and other neurodiverse populations.

Denise’s Latest Blog Reminds Us of Life’s Lessons

As we re-emerge and re-engage, Zoom is compelling many of us to take a closer look at the world—and ourselves. Read this blog.

The Latest on Keeping First Place Healthy

Detailed weekly updates offer a firsthand look at our ongoing efforts to keep the First Place community healthy and vibrant as we maintain “level yellow” (cautious re-emergence) and continue to follow CDC and state protocols. We are constantly making adjustments as we gradually return to routines and activities while finding creative ways to socially connect amid the ever-present necessity for physical distance.

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