1st Choice Weekly News Article: April 9th, 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. This article provides readers with up-to-date information about our agency and the COVID-19 Outbreak. During these challenging and frightening times, we are confident that as an agency and community we will make it through this season of pandemic. Moreover, the management team is happy to report that our staff is in good health and working at their full capacity. As well, we hope you and your families are in good health and in a place of safety.

1st Choice Family Services’ staff are working remotely until otherwise advised by Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine. As well, our agency will continue to follow the social distancing guidelines and recommendations set-forth by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health in Organization (WHO), and Ohio Department of Health (ODH).

1st Choice Family Services’ has implemented several measures to ensure team efficiency and productivity. Our immediate goal is to provide our clients with a sense of continuity and normality.

Currently, we are utilizing a newly designed Digital Campus which exposes clients to social outlet experiences. The digital campus is comprised of course offerings (e.g., art lessons to fitness programs). Each course is hosted by credible instructors in our Virtual Office via Zoom.

Our digital campus is a highly interactive medium where participants are given an opportunity to enjoy a real-time communications platform. In this atmosphere clients and staff receive support, respect, and satisfaction. It is inspiring to watch staff unite to engage each client to reach their full potential.



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 overall objective is to strengthen workforce agility, competency, and performance to provide our clients with exceptional supportive services.



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 the uncertainty that comes with procedural change.

1st Choice Family Services strategic agenda includes value-based ground rules. The ground rules serve a dual-purpose: 1) to clarify expectations for participant behavior, and 2) it allows the facilitator to maintain a productive discussion. Eight ground rules are listed below:

  • Respect all teammates and agree to disagree
  • Keep unnecessary jargon to a minimum
  • Admit the need for clarification when confused
  • Seek out unconventional ideas/ways to solve issues
  • Discuss alternate methods for completing assignments
  • Pull together instead of pulling away when facing challenges
  • Make decisions based on available options and apply good judgment
  • Share relevant information with all staff (e.g., Connect-A-Voice, Deputy, Webmail, etc.)



Focus of this Article: 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


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.



Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Models


In prior 1st Choice Weekly articles, the focus was on the following models: Ecological, Health Belief, and Social Cognitive Theory. The models are utilized in program planning to betterunderstand and rationalize health behaviors to monitor the identification, development, and implementation of an intervention.

When identifying a model and/or theory it is necessary to consider a range of factors. These factors include the health problem being evaluated, the population(s), and the environment in which the program is being implemented. In most cases, disease prevention and health promotion programs will typically refer to one or more models and/or theories.

Transtheoretical Model/Stages of Change

This model indicates that long-term changes in health behavior can involve multiple actions and adjustments over time. Although, some individuals may be unwilling to attempt change, while others have already started implementing changes (e.g., diet and exercise, smoking, substance abuse, etc.). The concept of “stage of change” is a central element of The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) of behavior change. It suggests that individuals are at different stages of willingness to embrace healthful behaviors.

The concept of “readiness to change or stage of change” has been studied in health behavior research and researchers found useful in explaining and expecting changes for a variety of behaviors, such as diet, smoking, and exercise habits. Furthermore, The TTM has also been utilized in several settingsProchaska and Clemente (1982) discuss five changes of change in the TTM (Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, and Maintenance). Refer to Figure 1 below for a pictorial view of TTM and Figure 2 for behavior change stages and the characteristics.



The stages in TTM can be utilized to help understand why individuals are at high-risk for COVID-19, but unwilling to attempt behavioral change to increase the success of health promotion counseling.




COVID-19 Comparison Chart for Ohio, U.S., and Globally


Figure 3, Found here



COVID-19 Situation in Ohio (April 7, 2020) Outbreak on the Rise


Source here



United States: COVID-19 by Age and Deaths




COVID-19 Situation in Trinidad and Tobago


Retrieved here



COVID-19 Incubation, Presentation, and Treatment





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.