By Denise D. Resnik, Founder & President/CEO
Long before a shovel of dirt was ever turned, I had been turning sugar packets, saltshakers, salsa dispensers—and whatever else I had at my fingertips—into prototypes conveying the vision for First Place and the essential supportive ecosystem required for success. From kitchens, living rooms and offices to cafés, restaurants and classrooms, no one could escape the stories I felt so compelled to share—and the bold requests for wisdom, know-how and resources. Some ran the other way while many more listened patiently and rolled up their sleeves to make such an ambitious vision for individuals with autism and other neurodiversities a reality.
Those community champions are the reason for PBS NewsHour’s designation of Phoenix as “the most autism-friendly city in the world.” Maintaining this meaningful moniker requires continuous, 24/7 care and feeding—something to which First Place has been committed since that very first shovelful of dirt was turned in 2016.
While we still enjoy telling our story at every opportunity (i.e., tabletops or annual symposiums), the living, learning laboratory of First Place–Phoenix and the Greater Phoenix community is where we appreciate firsthand what works and for whom, as well as what needs to work better. It’s also where we’re committed to developing new models, systems and infrastructure while building capacity and leading promising public policy to expand our reach and impact.
Whether you come from national or international urban, suburban or rural areas, let’s “shake it up” together!
Join us for the 12th First Place Global Leadership Institute Symposium Oct. 18-20 and connect with aligned, committed trailblazers primed to turn dreams into reality with cost- and time-saving approaches to research, know-how, tools and training. Learn how integrated, connected communities are possible for people living, learning, working and thriving with autism and other neurodiversities—everywhere.
Register here to attend in person or via webinar.