1st Choice Weekly News Article: July 1st, 2020

1st Choice Weekly Article 16

Robin Holliman-Smith, Author



1st Choice Family Services’ staff supports persons who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our Direct Care Aides (DCAs) are a lifeline to their clients. DCAs provide vital  support from meeting daily needs, meal preparation, medication administration, to companionship. Irrespective of an individual’s health status the idiom “No Man Is an Island” is true based upon the concept of Abraham H. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (as shown in Figure 1).

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology. It is comprised of a five-tier model of human needs, often described as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. Needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before persons can attend to needs higher up. From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, the needs include physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Explained


Maslow suggested that human needs can be arranged into a hierarchy. This hierarchy extends from more concrete needs such as food and water to abstract concepts such as self-fulfillment. According to Maslow, when a lower need is met, the next need on the hierarchy becomes the next focus of attention.

Maslow points to five categories of needs that all humans have:



These refer to basic physical needs like drinking when thirsty or eating when hungry. Maslow considered physiological needs to be the most essential of our needs. If someone is lacking in more than one need, they are likely to try to meet these physiological needs first.



Once an individual’s physiological requirements are satisfied, the next need that evolves is a safe environment. When a child does not reside in a predictable environment, typically the child will experience anxiety and/or fear. Likewise, adults have  expressed anxiety and/or fear in their     environments amid the COVID-19 Outbreak.


Love and Belonging

The next need in the hierarchy involves feeling loved and accepted. This need includes love felt relationships with family and friends. The need to feel that we belong to a community or social group is equally important.

Since Maslow’s time, researchers have continued to explore how love and belonging needs impact well-being. For example, having social connections is related to better physical health. Conversely, feeling isolated has negative consequences for health and well-being.



Esteem needs involve the desire to feel good about ourselves. According to Maslow, esteem needs include two components. The first involves feeling self-confidence and second involves feeling valued by others.



Self-actualization refers to feeling fulfilled or feeling that we are living up to our potential. An interesting point is that self-actualization is different for each person. Basically, self-actualization means feeling that we are doing what we believe we are meant to do.


Figure 1. Retrieved here.


The Science of Connection 

1st Choice Family Services’ staff understand the importance of connecting with clients. In a study entitled “Social Relationships and Health” it reveals that the absence of social connection is a greater detriment than high blood pressure, obesity, and smoking (House, Landis, &        Umberson (1988).

Additionally, an article in Psychology Today written by Seppala (2012) indicated that social connection improves an individual\s longevity. The subsequent illnesses can also be improved:


Physical Illness

Being socially connected will improves physical well-being. The more connected we are, the sooner we can recover from a disease. To support this claim, an article in Psychiatry entitled “Social Support and Resilience to Stress” implied that connectedness helps to strengthen our immune system. Conversely, a lack of social connection accounts for increased stress levels.


Mental Illness

Extended periods of anxiety and stress can lead to mental illness. So when we isolate ourselves and do not listen to how we are feeling, we become disconnected from ourselves and those around us. This disconnection can make life’s pressures more difficult to manage. Social isolation can aggravate or create problems with anxiety and will activate the body’s natural fight or flight reactions (Oxbay et al., 2007).


The 1st Choice Family Services’ Mission Statement incorporates the views of Science of Connection by means of Total Community Integration. 



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.



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).

Gov. Mike DeWine Discusses Guidelines for Reopening Ohio Schools: By WCPO Staff – Posted July 2, 2020 at 1:50 PM.

COLUMBUS — Gov. Mike DeWine said he worked with teachers and health officials to create K-12 school guidelines as Ohio schools brace for the fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidelines include the following:

  • Vigilantly assess symptoms – Essential that health checks are conducted before each school day. Anyone with a temperature over 100 degrees or with other symptoms must stay home. Health department must be contacted if there is a case of COVID-19 at the school.
  • Wash and sanitize hands to prevent spread – Schools must provide opportunity for students and teachers to wash their hands throughout the day. Hand sanitizer can be used if hand washing is not possible.
  • Sanitize school environment – High-touch areas must be disinfected
  • Practice social distancing – Schools should strive to maintain 6 feet of distance in all environments, including in the classroom, playground, hallway, drop off and pick up locations.
  • Face covering policy – Every school must develop a face covering policy. School staff are required to wear a face covering unless it is unsafe. (Similar guidelines to businesses.) Face shields may be considered when communication is difficult, like if a teacher has students with special needs, etc. Children third grade and up should wear face masks. This is a strong recommendation from state officials.

DeWine said he will discuss with the General Assembly how to distribute funding to schools using CARES Act dollars. He said he hopes to have an update on that sometime next week.

Information retrieved here.


U.S. News: Summer Vacations Has Increased Out-of-Sate Travel


Americans are beginning to travel again as the summer vacation season is underway after coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders were lifted across the country.

Although travel is still low compared to normal levels, hotel bookings have increased steadily over the last several weeks, air travel is on the rise and car trips are up. There are signs that the travel and hospitality industry, which came to a near-standstill amid coronavirus restrictions and anxieties over the spread of the virus, are heading towards a recovery.

Retrieved here.


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.



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.


Welcome to 1st Choice Family Services!

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

Florence Achaleke

Erica Bradford

Alana Bustamante

Damarye Ford

Ellen Freeman

Megan Griffith

Charidan Hilson

We hope that your work experience at 1st Choice Family Services will be challenging, enjoyable, and rewarding!


July 2020 National Observances


July 4th: Independence Day

THE HISTORY: The Declaration of Independence

We celebrate American Independence Day on the Fourth of July every year. We think of July 4, 1776, as a day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation. But July 4, 1776 was not the day that the Continental Congress decided to declare independence (they did that on July 2, 1776).

It was not he day we started the American Revolution either (that had happened back in April 1775). And it was not the day Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence (that was in June 1776). Or the date on which the Declaration was delivered to Great Britain (that did not happen until November 1776). Or the date it was signed August 2, 1776.


So what did happen on July 4, 1776?

The Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. They had been working on it for a couple of days after the draft was submitted on July 2nd and finally agreed on all of the edits and changes.

July 4, 1776 became the date included on the Declaration of Independence, and the fancy handwritten copy that was signed in August (the copy now displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.) It is also the date that was printed on the Dunlap Broadsides, the original printed copies of the Declaration that were circulated throughout the new nation. So when people thought of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776 was the date they remembered.


How did the Fourth of July become a national holiday?

For the first 20 years after the Declaration was written, people did not celebrate it much on any date. It was too new and too much else was happening in the young nation. By the 1790s, a time of bitter partisan conflicts, the Declaration had become controversial. One party, the Democratic-Republicans, admired Jefferson and the Declaration. But the other party, the  Federalists, thought the Declaration was too French and too anti-British, which went against their current policies.

By 1817, John Adams complained in a letter that America seemed uninterested in its past. But that would soon change. After the War of 1812, the Federalist party began to come apart and the new parties of the 1820s and 1830s all considered themselves inheritors of Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans. Printed copies of the Declaration began to circulate again, all with the date July 4, 1776, listed at the top. The deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams on July 4, 1826 may even have helped to promote the idea of July 4 as an important date to be celebrated.

Celebrations of the Fourth of July became more common as the years went on and in 1870, almost a hundred years after the Declaration was written, Congress first declared July 4 to be a national holiday as part of a bill to officially recognize several holidays, including Christmas. Further legislation about national holidays, including July 4, was passed in 1939 and 1941.

The Story of the Fourth of July – Retrieved here.


July 11th: “Cheer-Up the Lonely Day”

THE HISTORY: Research found Francis Pesek of Detroit, Michigan created this day. His daughter, L.J. Pesek reports that he “was a quiet, kind, wonderful man who had a heart of gold. The idea came to him as a way of promoting kindness toward others who were lonely or forgotten as shut-ins  or in nursing homes.” July 10th was Mr. Pesek’s birthday.

Each year on July 11th, people across the United States make a special effort to give someone a lift on National Cheer Up the Lonely Day. If you know someone who is lonely or going through a difficult time, be a bright spot in their life with a little extra thoughtfulness today. Whether their loneliness is due to health issues, financial reasons, grief due to loss or personal reasons, isolation can be overwhelming. Use this day as a reminder to contact those people in your life who need a little extra love and attention. Your small act of kindness can make a big difference to them. One word or special consideration may brighten their world at just the right moment.

Retrieved here.



1st Choice Family Services “Photo of the Week”


We are all lonely from time to time. The gift of companionship and support when we least expect it may not solve our problems, but it eases the burden a little.

“A burden shared is a burden halved”~ T.A. Webb


Direct Care Aides (DCAs) assists individuals who live with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Outdoor adventure provides our clients with opportunities to actively participate in open-air exploration which promotes skill development, stimulates environmental awareness, and reinforces personal empowerment through adventure.

DCAs enjoy seeing the smiles on their clients’ faces. Besides that, smiling makes most people feel good about themselves and the world around them. Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural painkillers, and serotonin. Together these three neurotransmitters make us feel good from head to toe. Not only do these natural chemicals elevate your mood, but they also relax your body and reduce physical pain.

“There is always a reason to smile, you just have to find it” ~ Unknown


DCA’s Four Principles of Caregiving:


  • Take care of yourselves to effectively help clients
  • Do not get caught up in the client’s past, but work in the moment
  • Focus on providing direct care services to the client, not on finding a cure, and
  • Express your feelings appropriately to the client, at times a subtle “touch” will do



Growing A Successful Business


  • Be Hands-On and Meticulous
  • Express Your Passion to Staff
  • Focus on the Client
  • Become More Competitive
  • Manage Spending Wisely
  • Be the Absolute Best



90-Day Onboarding Training Program


1st Choice Family Services’ hathe best 90-Day Onboarding Training Program in the state of Ohio. Our course authors and facilitators are skilled mentors and personal development coaches. We believe that classroom and hands-on instructions are essential to helping our staff to create innovative ways to assists clients in reaching goals and their potential.

With clients in multiple counties throughout Ohio and in Trinidad, we know there may be times when individuals with developmental disabilities will be mis-misunderstood. That is why our “up-to-date” DCA Educational Program is fundamental for equipping staff to peak performance.

Each year, our DCA’s complete 78 hours of continued education. Which includes weekly assessments of the clients’ goals and having an awareness of new advances in treatment strategies specific to developmental disabilities. We are pleased to say, “Our staff brings extensive experience and training to every client every time!”

The commitment and services that our agency provides is unmatched. Because we continue to innovate new techniques to help clients overcome life challenges through advocation, informed decision making, and total community integration.

1st Choice Family Services is concerned about the client’s health and happiness. Our group outings include but are not limited to, events at amusement parks, get-togethers to encourage per interaction, and attending local parades and/or festivals.

Choosing an agency provider is one of the most important decisions that a family can make. As well, choosing a DCA is one of the most important decisions that 1st Choice Family Services can make. Therefore, families need the reliability of a caring team of direct care professionals to help lighten the load. The 90-Day Onboarding Training Program helps to develop new employees’ efficiencies in processes, capacity to adapt to new system applications, and increases motivation.



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.



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.



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




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.