1st Choice Weekly News Article: June 10th, 2020

1st Choice Weekly Article 13

Robin Holliman-Smith, Author





1st Choice Family Services’ staff supports individuals who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. During daily interactions, our Direct Care Aides (DCAs) have come to know and understand what their clients are trying to communicate. The vast majority of the time, our DCAs are able to read their clients’ nonverbal communication cues. To explain, facial expressions for joy, grief, surprise, disgust, anger, and fear are the same across cultural lines.

According to Wood (2012), nonverbal cues consist of “all communication between persons that are void of verbal interpretation and includes body movements and orientation, nuances of the voice, facial expressions, aspects of dress, and selection and movement of objects that converse.” Our clients like anyone else can express countless emotions without saying a word in spite of a speech impairments, such as articulation, fluency, or voice disorders.



Mission Statement


Our mission is to help people with developmental disabilities overcome life challenges through advocation, self development, informed decision making, and total community integration.



Vision Statement


“Our vision is to improve the quality life for our existing and future clients”

Guiding Principles

  • Person-Centered Approach: To help clients make choices to direct their own lives and encourage them to pursue their ambitions and goals.
  • Community Participation: To recognize the importance of community involvement and support our clients in making community contributions.
  • Leadership: 1st Choice Family Services endeavors to fulfill its mission statement by demonstrating integrity via ethical standards, trust-based relationships, and related community partnerships.

Vision to Reality

To take over all 88 counties in Ohio by January 2025. 1st Choice Family Services is utilizing a “step-by-step” planning process to turn our vision into desired results.

Factors that impact our clients’ quality of life:

  • Enough sleep and/or rest
  • Regular exercise and/or movement
  • Healthy self-esteem
  • Optimistic outlook, and
  • Sense of belonging and/or purpose

1st Choice Family Services’ Direct Care Aides (DCAs) assists clients in reaching a more contented state of “HAPPY and HEALTHY.”



Forecast for COVID-19: Summer 2020


To assists our readers with the loud media noise, the 1st Choice Weekly highlights COVID-19 reported cases in the state of Ohio and Trinidad in the Caribbean Island. Our articles focus on key health topics that align with our agency’s top priorities to improve clients’ well-being.

Dr. Nicholas Christakis, Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University, stated, “Summer weather may bring slight relief from the COVID-19 pandemic” Dr. Christakis explained “While early studies from China predicted that weather may not play much of a role in the progression of the pandemic, more recent studies suggest a drop of cases and deaths during the summer” (Strazewski, 2020).

Abby Acone (2020) reports “Vitamin D is good for our immune systems, so hopefully that will just give us all a boost to our overall health.”



Practical Tips for COVID-19: Summer 2020


  • Have several face coverings
  • Keep extra face coverings/towels in a cooler or soak in water
  • Use a spray bottle of cool water to cool exposed skin
  • Drink water to stay hydrated
  • Avoid direct sunlight
  • Wear a cooling vest
  • Take a fan to your work location
  • Take frequent breaks & designate a shaded rest area


NOTE: COVID-19 TIPS from the Department of Environmental Health and Safety.

Retrieved here.



COVID-19:  U.S. Estimated Disease & Death Totals – Since March 1, 2020


Figure 1 Retrieved here.


NOTE: COVID-19 is now listed as the “Top 3 Leading Causes of Deaths in the U.S.”



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; along with 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).



1st Choice Family Services’ Charitable Campaigns


In response to the COVID-19 crisis, 1st Choice Family Services is involved in voluntary selfless initiatives. We partner 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 in part 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



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.



1st Choice Family Services “Photo of the Week”


Hot Summer Days Provide Senior Staff and Clients Opportunities to Stay Cool and Have Fun!!


Keeping Cool in Hot Weather

With hot summers likely to continue, it is important that we all know how to prepare for high temperature days and how to provide first aid for heat-induced conditions. Our DCAs are well-informed on preventing heat-related illness and they are instructed to adhere to the following guidelines:

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.



Digital Transformation


Four Clusters Used to Reach Digital Transformation

Environment: It is mission-critical to understand our agency’s operational environment. A clear view of clients’ needs and current market trends was necessary to embark on the digital journey.

Empowerment: Measures our ability to lead with a clear vision, to innovate decisively, and to adapt to changes from digital transformation.

Expertise: Dealt with the set-up of capabilities that are required to approach and implement new opportunities.

Execution: Measures how well the agency is positioned to manage and scale business functions and processes. We expect continuous improvement through performance management, and the ability to adapt operations to deliver improved client care services for sustaining our success.

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)


Retrieved here.


The chart is comparing Ohio, US, and Globally 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.


Situation in Ohio and Trinidad and Tobago


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.