Centrally located in Phoenix, First Place is transit oriented and within walking distance of light rail and public transportation.
First Place®AZ broke ground on its first new property, First Place-Phoenix, in late 2016 thanks to public, private and charitable support. First Place-Phoenix will connect residents to jobs and volunteer work, along with retail, restaurants, recreation, the arts, culture, fun and a variety of venues for continuing education. At First Place, residents can live, learn and work among their neighbors, creating a compassionate and understanding environment that benefits everyone.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is a great example of the supportive community found throughout Greater Phoenix. At several locations throughout the airport, you can purchase local products that support adults with autism. SMILE® Biscotti and a collection of items produced by SARRC’s Beneficial Beans® social enterprise can be purchased at two Peet’s Coffee & Tea locations and in the Pardies Shops and Casa Unlimited, Inc. stores. SMILE Biscotti is one of the top-selling passive good items for Peet’s at Terminal 4!
For many First Place Transition Academy participants and residents, GateWay Community College is their first experience on a community college campus. Through the First Place Transition Academy, GateWay is where participants engage in a strategically sequenced collection of 33 semester-length courses focused on life skills, career readiness and interpersonal relations. Many participants are also enjoying paid internships on campus.
Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), First Place’s sister nonprofit, occupies two locations. This is SARRC’s Campus for Exceptional Children where families receive continued support through early intervention and training programs for families, educators and professionals. SARRC’s administrative offices are also based here.
Chase Field is home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and employer to some First Place Transition Academy participants who work as paid interns in a variety of roles.
As a supporter of SARRC and its various programs for over 16 years, the Phoenix Suns participate in an annual Autism Awareness Night each April and offer a variety of seats and ticket packages to accommodate fans at the event.
Fractured Prune Doughnuts at CityScape, located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, is another location where First Place Transition Academy participants are employed. Check out the video Dylan’s Day to experience the action and connection.
ASU Downtown, the “compassionate campus,” is collaborating with First Place and SARRC on a collection of research and educational initiatives. Through the First Place Fellowship Program, ASU doctoral and postdoctoral fellows will also be residing at First Place-Phoenix while working with the First Place Leadership Institute.
Burton Barr Central Library is home of LibraryWorks, part of SARRC’s CommunityWorks® suite of teen volunteer programs. Here, young adults with and without autism receive training and work experience while contributing to the broader community through their volunteerism. The library is also home of SARRC’s Beneficial Beans Café, a social enterprise that serves as a site for vocational training and work internships.
Students from Arizona School for the Arts (ASA) are long-standing participants with CommunityWorks®. ASA students and personnel comprise 80% of the peer mentors who participate in the CommunityWorks® program.
CVS Pharmacy is one of SARRC’s first major employment partners. One SARRC client has been employed at CVS for more than six years! CVS is just one of the supportive community members who employ our young adults with autism and other special needs.
Phoenix Theatre is located in the heart of the city’s arts and culture district. SARRC partners with Phoenix Theatre’s summer camp program, which offers inclusive experiences for campers ages 8 to 16.
SARRC’s Vocational & Life Skills Academy (VLSA) allows individuals to explore potential jobs and careers while learning necessary life skills to enhance their ability to live and work more independently. The VLSA is also home to SARRC’s Beneficial Beans®, a social enterprise that provides work internships through its organic urban garden, Scottsdale Civic Center & Phoenix Library cafés and other locations across the Valley. This site is also home to SARRC’s Sanders Center for Autism Studies, which maintains a robust and innovative research portfolio, including original and collaborative research with leading institutions in Arizona and around the country.
29 Palms is the beta site for the two-year First Place Transition Academy operated by SARRC. Participants are living in eight two-bedroom apartments, co-located with 13 multi-generational units, developed by FSL. In the future, first-year Transition Academy participants will begin their experience at First Place-Phoenix, then transition to 29 Palms in year two as they progress with their independent living skills. To learn more about the promise of First Place from participants, families and future residents, check out this video.
Phoenix College is the future home of a collection of First Place/ SARRC-developed courses that will be available to participants beginning in 2018. Like the GateWay Community College campus, Phoenix College will be open to more special learners who are also lifelong learners.
Connection to the greater community is an integral tenet of First Place. Valley Metro’s extensive and growing light rail and bus systems connect First Place participants and future residents to myriad services, arts, culture, education and healthcare venues throughout Phoenix and neighboring communities. First Place-Phoenix is located within walking distance of Valley Metro rail and bus stations.
St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center/ Barrow Neurological Institute (SJHMC/BNI) is the site of a developing adolescent and adult medical care initiative, now underway. SARRC and BNI are also collaborating on a research initiative evaluating the aging brain.
Located at the northeast corner of Third Street and Catalina and within walking distance of light rail and public transit, this is the site for First Place–Phoenix. The new residential property will represent home for individuals who live and learn there, an inspiring and enriching environment for those who work there, and peace of mind for family and friends who come and go. Opening Spring 2018. Watch our December 2016 groundbreaking event.
Phoenix-based Changing Hands Bookstore is an avid supporter of SARRC, First Place and other local businesses, whose products – including SMILE® Biscotti – are sold in the bookstore's First Draft Book Bar.