1st Choice Weekly News Article: May 28th, 2020

Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19) cont.

Robin Holliman-Smith, Author



1st Choice Family Services’ primary concern is the safety and well-being of its clients, staff, and community. Our team of professionals are committed to providing excellent supportive care services that exceed clients’ expectations. In our work environment staff continues to express an interest in learning new skills to apply to preexisting skills to better serve our clients. 

The 1st Choice Weekly provides readers with the latest developments on COVID-19. Our agency complies with Gov. Mike DeWine’s revision of the “Stay at Home” order to “Stay Safe Ohio” order on April 29th. Accordingly, 1st Choice Family Services adheres to preventative measures, such as social distancing, wearing face mask, and washing hands throughout the day.

1st Choice Family Services encourages residents in the community to seek medical attention immediately if warning signs of COVID-19 exists. To describe, symptoms of exposure to the coronavirus are like flu symptoms. The list of symptoms below includes, but not limited to:

  • Body and headaches
  • Chills, or repeated shaking
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea or vomiting, and
  • Runny nose
  • Trouble breathing, and/or
  • New mental confusion

Contact your healthcare provider for advice if you think you have been exposed to COVID‑19.

During these unprecedented times, 1st Choice Family Services’ goal is to contribute to organizations who are committed to connecting people to available food, personal protection equipment, and household supplies. In response to this COVID-19 crisis, our agency stands in unity. As we are committed to charitable standards, and our mission statement which is “to help others overcome life challenges.”



Responsible Restart Ohio – Ohio Department of Health


Responsible Restart Ohio is about safeguarding the health of employees, consumers, and their families; strengthening community efforts to control the spread of COVID-19; and taking the lead in correctly getting Ohioans safely back to work

Contact your healthcare provider for advice if you think you have been exposed to COVID‑19 or call 1-833-427-5634 (Ohio Department of Health).

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, 1st Choice Family Services’ has partnered with non-profit organizations that are committed to connecting people to available food, personal protection equipment (PPE), and household supplies. Our agency honors its commitments to charitable standards and to its mission statement, which is “to help others overcome life challenges.”





1st Choice Family Services overall objective is to strengthen workforce agility, competency, and performance to provide our clients with exceptional supportive services.

Client Advocacy

  • Protection of Rights
  • Improve Direct Care Services
  • Eliminate Discriminatory Bias
  • Ensure Quality and Tailored Services
  • Remove Barriers that Prevent Community Life



Digital Campus


In our work environment employees continue to express their interests in learning new skills to

apply to pre-existing skills. 1st Choice Family Services’ has implemented a digital campus to ensure team efficiency and productivity amid COVID-19. Our credible hosts provide staff with the latest economic and technological developments to improve client interactions and learning experiences.

The digital campus is comprised of a variety of course offerings (e.g., Therapeutic Art Program, Educational Forums, Athletic Club, etc.). For additional information, refer to the end of the article. Courses are hosted by credible facilitators in the Virtual Office via Zoom software.



Staff and Locations


1st Choice Family Services employs dedicated individuals with expertise in the following categories:

  • Office Administration
  • Service Managers
  • Field Trainers
  • Quality Assurance Managers, and
  • Leadership Team

1st Choice Family Services is committed to the safety of Ohioans with Development Disabilities in multiple counties throughout the state and Trinidadians in the Caribbean islands. VISION BOARD: Take over all 88 counties in Ohio by January 2022.



Welcome to 1st Choice Family Services!

It is our pleasure to welcome the following new employees to our growing team of professionals:


Maria Holland – Spanish Tutor

Sidney Jones – Comprehensive Tutor

Kathleen McAndrews – Marketing Coordinator


Our expectation is for all employees to support the agency’s core values as your new roles are extremely important to helping us fulfill our mission.



In the U.S., the month of May places an emphasis on mental health. More specifically, May 4th is recognized as mental illness awareness day. Since 1949, Americans have led this observance and have reaching millions of persons through local events, the media, and screenings.

COLUMBUS – Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) is led by Director Lori Criss. Director Criss revealed the impact of COVID-19 on individuals relative to mental health. The concern is that “social distancing” initiates isolation which triggers anger, anxiety, boredom, depression, loneliness, and relapse into prior self-destructive behaviors.

Criss continued “during stressful times like these people with food or chemical dependencies may relapse into prior self-destructive behaviors.

If you or someone you know are experiencing mental health symptoms contact the Ohio MHAS Help Line at 877-275-6364.

May 2020 Health Observances – The power of “human connection” is one of the greatest tools our nation has in the fight against health conditions. That is why awareness months are so significant. Health observances rally people together to spread awareness and show support.

If you or someone you know are experiencing mental health symptoms contact the Ohio MHAS Help Line at 877-275-6364.



Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)


Stress and Coping – Need Help? 

Contact the Disaster Distress Helpline: Call 1-800-985-5990

Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-799-7233

TTY (Teletypewriter) for National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-787-3224


Stress During an Outbreak Can Cause:

  • Apprehension and fear about your health and the health of family and friends
  • Changes in eating and/or sleep patterns
  • Deterioration of chronic health problems
  • Difficulty concentrating or sleeping at the night


Figure 1. Additional stress-related conditions.

Things you can do to support yourself

  • Take breaks from reading, listening, or watching news stories and social media. Hearing about COVID-19 can be distressing.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat nutritious meals, exercise regularlyget plenty of sleep, meditate, take deep breaths, and avoid alcoholdrugs, and tobacco.
  • Make time to unwind. Do other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with people to discuss your concerns.


Contact your health care practitioner if stress prohibits your daily activities for several consecutive days.



The Biopsychosocial Model


The biopsychosocial model was developed at the University of Rochester decades ago by Drs. George Engel and John Romano. The biopsychosocial model methodically considers biological, psychological, and social aspects and their intricate interactions in comprehending health, illness, and health care services.

Logically, it helps to understand how disease, illness, and suffering are affected by several levels of organization. At the practical level, the model helps to understand a person’s subjective experience as a critical contributor to an accurate diagnosis, health results, and humane care (Borrell-Carrió, Suchman, Epstein, 2004).



1st Choice Family Services “Photo of the Week”

Mr. Christopher Michael Nelson, Service Manager with our client on an enjoyable outing. “Even though there’s no Wi-Fi in the forest, you will find a better connection.”


Memorial Day Cookout



Strategic Agenda


1st Choice Family Services operates from a well-defined strategic agenda. The agenda assists in prioritizing short-term initiatives that support our long-term objective. It gives staff comprehensible direction and reduces errors and the uncertainty that comes with change.

Regardless of where people reside, it is a recognizable fact that our daily routines have been interrupted by COVID-19. From Governor DeWine’s “Stay at Home” order to “Stay Safe Ohio” order, staff are still working remotely in our Virtual Office.

The agency’s digital outreach efforts have been accelerated, and the Management Team plans to maximize our competitiveness. We are reaching out to the right individuals at the right time to share our brand’s story. As well, the expectation is to incorporate those individuals into our brand instead of viewing them as an extension of our brand.

In Figure 1 below, the four stages of digital maturity contribute to the overall strategy of reaching our vision, which is to have presence in 88 Ohio counties. 1st Choice Family Services employs competent staff that can successfully manage multiple projects through digital outreach.

Figure 1. Retrieved here



The State of Ohio Comparison Charts


Ohio is a state in the East North Central region of the Midwestern United States. Of the fifty states, it is the 34th largest by area, the seventh most populous, and the tenth most densely

populated. The state’s capital and largest city is Columbus.

GovernorMike DeWine

Attorney GeneralDave Yost

Unemployment rate: 5.5% (March 2020)

Population: 11.69 million (2019)

Minimum wage: 8.55 USD per hour (Jan 1, 2019)


Figure 2. Retrieved here

In Figure 2, the chart is comparing Ohio, US, and Global reported cases of COVID-19.

Note: March 17, 2020 marks the date when we began this comparison analysis.

Comparison charts or comparative diagrams that make comparisons between two or more objects, two phenomena, or groups of data. A comparison chart can offer qualitative and/or quantitative information.


Figure 3. Retrieved here

Figure 4.



Situation in Ohio and Trinidad and Tobago


Figure 5. Retrieved here


1st Choice Family Services

Digital Campus

Course Offerings:


Art Classes

Host: Mr. Sidney Wilson – Master Artist and Director of Therapeutic Program

  • Staff and clients join in to utilize their imaginations and develop skills to create beautiful canvas paintings. For example, art classes help to promote an optimistic attitude, nurtures emotional growth, and strengthens memory.


Athletic Club

Host: Mr. Micaiah Wilson – Professional International Trainer from Trinidad –

Two memberships: International Sports Science Association (ISSA) and International Strength Training Association (ISTA)

  • Staff and clients are involved in a variety of activities, such as: Cardio, Jogging, Strength and Conditioning Exercises, Meditation Techniques, and Yoga Training. Established Health and Fitness Goals: Athletic purposes, Sports-driven, and Weight loss-based.


COVID-19 Forum

Host: Dr. Robin Holliman-Smith -Specialization: Organization Leadership

  • All-Staff are encouraged to participate in this open environment. The forum is all-inclusive, and it provides a platform for interactive dialogue. We invite Guest Speakers to share their knowledge and areas of expertise. As well, our team of professionals are energetic and current on breaking news and top stories. Team members share their experiences, opinions, on-line news articles, and information from other media outlets.
  • Currently, our forum discussions are focused on COVID-19 and its impact on “Global Healthand the Global Economic Crisis.” An on-going comparative analysis is shared, and is comprised of Ohio, U.S., and countries around the Globe. For our Trinidad Office, we review Media Releases relevant to COVID-19. Regarding protective measures, 1st Choice Family Services follows guidelines enforced by Ohio Department of Health, Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, and the World Health Organization.


Digital Lounge

Host: Staff Rotation Cycle

  • Staff and clients are given an opportunity to hangout and enjoy lunch in the digital lounge together as one community. The word “community” is derived from the Latin word “communis” and it means common. Within this relaxing community, common interests are shared, cultural dynamics are captured, personal concerns are tabled, goals become reality, and “staff to staff” and “staff to client” relationships are strengthened.


Game Room

Host: Staff Rotation Cycle

  • Staff and clients are given an opportunity to participate in many of the latest games (e.g., Charades, Bingo, and Hangman). The game room provides time and space for individuals to increase their mental agility, reduce fatigue, and release stress and anxiety.


Music Center

Co-Hosts: Ms. Brandi Cotton and Mr. Steve Franklin – Professional Disc Jockeys

  • Staff and clients can express an array of feelings based on their emotions which includes being happy, inspired, or contemplative. Whatever the feeling, music has a positive impact on an individual’s mood. Also, individuals are given an opportunity to take part in karaoke or sing-along to display their vocal talents. Dancing to the music helps to boosts staff and clients’ level of alertness, and releases endorphins that burn off tension.


TikTok Videos

Host: Service Managers

  • Staff and clients learn how to create personalize videos that capture life’s most precious moments. TikTok enables participants to share their passions and innovative expressions in designing their video productions. This activity includes a weekly entertaining TikTok dance challenge and prizes are awarded.




  • 1st Choice Family Services will continue to monitor the latest news on the COVID-19. Our staff will receive daily updates and participate in bi-weekly COVID-19 forums.
  • 1st Choice Family Services follows preventive measures and guidelines for combating COVID-19 in line with Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and Ohio Department of Health (ODH).
  • 1st Choice Family Services would like to extend their deep gratitude to everyone who is working to ensure our clients, staff, families, and neighborhoods stay healthy and safe for the duration of this pandemic.
  • 1st Choice Family Services is extremely appreciative to other Direct Care Agencies for their dedication to providing quality and timely services that are client and family centered, culturally responsive, and sensitive to the needs, feelings, and opinions of the clients we all enjoy serving.