1st Choice Weekly News Article: June 4th, 2020

Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19) cont.

Robin Holliman-Smith, Author




1st Choice Family Services’ is engaged in creating brighter futures for developmentally disabled clients. To uphold our mission, we harness the compassion and commitment of our team of highly trained professionals. Our staff takes pleasure in providing deserving individuals with  opportunities to participate in outdoor gatherings and social events where abilities rather than disabilities are recognized.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak have been front and center of media outlets for months, making it an unavoidable topic of concern. While the news is necessary, the daily updates of reported cases of COVID-19 can be overwhelming. Thus, the 1st Choice Weekly provides its readers with week-to-week updates on reported cases of COVID-19.

To help our readers quiet some of the media noise, the 1st Choice Weekly highlight reported cases in the state of Ohio and Trinidad in the Caribbean Island. Our articles focus on key key health topics that align with our agency’s top priorities for improving our clients’ overall well-being.

To elaborate, 1st Choice Family Services validates the Centers for Disease Prevention and Controls (CDC) description of “well-being.” There is no consensus around one specific definition of the hyphenated term. Therefore, CDC well-being as “the presence of positive emotions and moods (e.g., contentment and happiness).

1st Choice Family Services focuses on the following aspects of its clients’ well-being:

  • Life satisfaction
  • Social well-being
  • Physical well-being
  • Economic well-being, and
  • Growth/activity well-being

Researchers from various disciplines have studied the aspects outlined above and other aspects that are not listed (CDC, 2018).



Forecast for COVID-19: Summer 2020


According to Dr. Nicholas Christakis, Professor of Social and Natural Science athttp://Retrieved from https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/what-s-ahead-covid-19-expert-offers-forecast-summer-fall Yale Unihttp://Retrieved from https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/what-s-ahead-covid-19-expert-offers-forecast-summer-fallversity, “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).



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.


Per CDC, COVID-19 affects different persons in different ways. Infected persons have reported a wide- range of symptoms to severe illness:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting, and
  • Diarrhea

For emergency warning signs for COVID-19 seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Retrieved here.



COVID-19: Impacts on Individuals


The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is impacting individuals around the globe, and for some the impact is more drastic. For a number of individuals, it could mean making big changes to their daily routines due to financial hardships. Thus, it is especially important to assist and encourage others during this season of uncertainty.

Different individuals will respond differently to COVID-19 challengessuch as:

  • Providing Counseling Sessions
  • Prompts Meditation and Reflections
  • Inspires Many Helping Opportunities
  • Redirects Lives to What Really Matters
  • Defines Persons’ True Character, and
  • Exposes Vulnerabilities and Resilience



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

Paul Alcantara – Graphic Designer


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.



June 2020 National Observances


June 1st: National Say Something Nice Day



June 4th: National Safe Day



June 7th: National Cancer Survivor’s Day


NOTE: Upcoming 1st Choice Weekly articles will highlight additional June 2020 National Observances



1st Choice Family Services “Photo of the Week”


Mr. Christopher Michael Nelson, Service Manager with our client, AG. enjoying a serene view.



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 and 4. Retrieved here.



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.