1st Choice Weekly News Article: July 9th, 2020

1st Choice Weekly Article 17

Robin Holliman-Smith, Author




1st Choice Family Services upholds the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which was legislated in 1990. The intention of this law is to make sure that persons with incapacities have equal rights and opportunities the same as everyone else. Since the enactment of ADA, several social barriers have been reduced for individuals with disabilities.

1st Choice Family Services’ staff recognize and understand the need to continue this work by advocating for clients’ health and safety. Having a disability does not mean people are not healthy, neither does it mean that an individual cannot become healthy. Being healthy means the same thing for all persons and getting and staying healthy is vital  to leading a full, active life.

As far as our clients’ safety, we realize that people with disabilities may be at greater risk for abuse and injuries. Thus, our trained Direct Care Aides (DCAs) are educated on an on-going basis on “Steps to Stay Safe.” As well, DCAs are given the necessary tools and information to assists clients in making healthy choices, avoiding accidents, and being active in the community


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.


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:

Erica Bradford

Alana Bustamante

Alexandria Dutton

Christopher Fisher

Damarye Ford

Ellen Freeman

Megan Griffith

Charidan Hilson

Tiana Mabra

Marisol Rivera


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



Social Cognitive Theory (SCT)


1st Choice Weekly News Articles have centered on important theories and their key constructs. Researchers believe models help to explain theories of behavior change. Theoretical models that earn appreciation in a discipline can shape the field and help to define the scope of practice and impact the training and socialization professionals. Additionally, public health programs and initiatives are centered on an awareness of health behaviors and the context in which they occur.

Figure 1, retrieved here.


SCT is the cognitive formulation of social learning that is best illustrated by Bandura (1986). It describes human behavior in terms of a 3-way, vigorous, reciprocal model in unique to personal factors, environmental influences, and behavior which continually interacts, shown in  Figure 1.

SCT combines concepts and procedures from behavior, cognitive, and emotional models of behavior change. A key principle of SCT is that persons learn from their own experiences, observing the actions of others, and results of those actions

 This issue finds it necessary to revisit the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) by Bandura, (1986).


Key constructs of SCT relevant to health behavior change interventions:

  • Observational learning
  • Reinforcement
  • Self-control
  • Self-efficacy



  • SCT is a major theory of motivation
  • The theory assumes that internal processes motivate behavioral outcomes
  • The conceptual framework is hinges on reciprocal interactions between variables
  • Scientist continue to address key issues and new research directions


Central Premise:

The central assumption of Bandura’s theory is that persons strive for sense of control, or the belief that they can exert a degree of influence over significant events in their lives. People exercise this sense of control using their cognitive and self-regulative abilities.


Reciprocal Determinism:

The key SCT construct of reciprocal determinism illustrates that an individual can be an agent of change and a responder to change. Moreover, changes in the environment, examples of role models, and reinforcements may be utilized to promote healthier behaviors, such as individual behaviors to COVID-19 (shown in Figure 1).



July 2020 National Observances


July 18th: Nelson Mandela International Day


Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country’s first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election.

Nelson Mandela has many accolades. He is an iconic figure that triumphed over South Africa’s apartheid regime. He was a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, and an international peacemaker. He was the first democratically elected President of a free South Africa. So you see why the United Nations General Assembly would want to celebrate his life. Commemorated on July 18—Nelson Mandela’s birthday.

Nelson Mandela International Day celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world and the ability to make an impact. So, in honor of his 67 years of public service. The Nelson Mandela Foundation and the UN asks that you spend 67 minutes of your time helping others.

Retrieved here.


3rd Wednesday in JULYNational Hot Dog Day


The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council established National Hot Dog Day in 1991 to coincide with a hot dog lunch on Capitol Hill. The observance occurs every year on Wednesday in July. National Hot Dog Day celebrates a summertime staple on a bun. Enjoy one piping hot and add some relish and mustard to go! One thing we want to know – is it a sandwich or not?

Celebrated every year during National Hot Dog Month, this day pays homage to the frankfurter, the footlong or wienie, wienerwurst or even red hot.

Over 25 million hot dogs are sold at baseball stadiums each year. They are portable and easy to make. Many of individuals prefer them grilled or toasted over a fire, we also boil, pan-fry, and rotisserie-cook them. The list of toppings are numerous – from the basic ketchup, mustard or relish to onions, mayonnaise, cheese, bacon, chili and sauerkraut – the list keeps growing. Adults and children alike love them, too.

On May 31, 2012, a world record was set for the most expensive hot dog. The “California Capitol City Dawg” sold for $145.49 at Capitol Dawg in Sacramento, California.



1st Choice Family Services “Photo of the Week”

Happiness is “hot dogs, fresh air, and great friends!” – Unknown


Benefits of DCAs connecting with their clients

  • Pushes the happy meter up.
  • Increases the quality of health.
  • Points to a longer life.
  • Cultivates resiliency after experiencing hardship.
  • Strengthens the immune system.
  • Lowers anxiety and depression.
  • Increases self-esteem.

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



Our DCAs Enjoy the Gift of Giving


While caregiving may seem like a one-way street in which one individual is helped and tone individual is doing the helping, in many cases, it can be viewed as a two-way street in that both individuals gain. Many DCAs have expressed the joys of helping others gives them a positive perspective on life.


Meet Jordan Ferguson, Expository Writer of Client’s Life & DCAs Life


Jordan Ferguson


Client’s Life
Imagine living in a world where you are unable to express your true feelings or views on topics of concern. As you reflect on your existence, you realize your inability to overcome obstacles that are holding your goals and aspirations hostage.

Just think, each morning you wake-up, you instinctively know you are unable to manage your life and that you may never reach your full potential. Of no fault of your own, you are faced with this unsettling reality on a daily basis.

DCA’s Life

Let us discuss the expectations of a direct care assistant (DCA). Individuals in this role help young and elderly people who are sick, injured, and physically or mentally disabled.From my professional experiences, the life of a DCA is one of excitement, inseparable bonds, and love. To elaborate, the love and bond a DCA has with their client is like none other. It takes a special kind of person to connect with people that society often ignores.

While many are quarantined in their homes due to COVID-19, DCA’s are on the front-line making sure their clients are well and safe. Often times, the work week seems long and the DCA’s sleep seems short. Thus, the DCA’s life can be summed up in this one word, “Sacrifice.”

Without trust in this field we have nothing, trust is the ultimate glue to making lasting relationships. DCA’s are some of the most hardworking, honest, and empathetic people on the planet, and our job requires individuals to possess these characteristics. Our clients look up to us as if we were their “Superheroes.”

In spite of clients’ disabilities, they are aware of the hard work and great care DCAs provide even if they are not able to express their appreciation. It could be just a smile or a hug that lets you know they appreciate you. It is the little victories that help DCAs get to the big finish.

This job has changed my life forever and I owe it to others to help change their lives for the better. I decided to make a career out of helping people less fortunate. As a result, I will not take for granted my ability to do things for myself, family, or friends. I believe “there is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down to lift someone else up.”

About me, I moved from Columbus to Findlay Ohio to help my clients. I am dedicated to my clients because they need assistance from willing and helping hands. Through this job, I found my purpose and I have grown as man, son, and brother. This is my chosen career path, and it comes with learning opportunities.

Jordan Ferguson, Author



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.