For me, the story of First Place begins with Matt Resnik. I was a green and eager journalist when I first met a young Matt. I wanted to write a story on autism, and what life was like for a family affected by it. All arrows pointed to Denise Resnik as the first call I needed to make.
I flipped open my notepad and filled it with facts, emotions, hopes, dreams and fears. Listening to Matt’s story, my eyes were opened. Matt’s journey, filled with milestones and setbacks, left a mark.
That first story, my favorite magazine piece I’ve written, also detailed the beginning of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC). It captured a place of hope that offers guidance, understanding, answers and opportunities.
It has been more than a dozen years since I first met Matt and I have since told many more stories. But there was one quote that really stood out, one that has been echoed time and again.
“What’s going to happen to Matt when he’s an adult and when I’m no longer able to care for him?” Denise asked.
She asked this question knowing she didn’t have the answer. There wasn’t one out there. Not yet.
Oh, but this place. Yes, this place—First Place takes that open-ended question and gives it an answer. It is the beginning of a new story, a second volume about a monumental voyage.
First Place offers a sense of community, learning, friendship, memories and hope. It is a future—a vision of a future once so fuzzy and unclear that is now bright and possible. And like most places, First Place needs people to help tell its story and I’m honored to help.
This is only chapter one. I am only a storyteller. This place has many stories to tell and I invite you inside to learn more and become a part of this story yourself—from its beginning.
Welcome to First Place. Chapter one: All things possible.
* Ginger Eiden is a First Place Storyteller and an author and journalist from Peoria, Arizona. She has been a volunteer writer for the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) for more than 10 years. She also writes under the name Ginger Scott.