APA Center for Organizational Excellence: Best Practice Honoree

The Awards

Inspiring Minds

Indiana – With offices in three towns and more than 200 employees, Porter-Starke Services is a licensed community mental health center for adults, families, adolescents and children with mental health or substance abuse issues. Two years ago, as a morale-booster for both its staff and the people it serves, Porter-Starke launched The Inspiration Project – a uniquely innovative program incorporating the This I Believe storytelling model. Since then, the program has taken on a life of its own and continues to engage participants and readers alike.

In the 1950s, This I Believe was an immensely popular radio series hosted by journalist Edward R. Murrow in which the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller and Harry Truman – as well as business leaders, cab drivers and scientists – shared the guiding principles by which they lived. Today, This I Believe is an international organization in which participants write and share essays that describe their core values. More than 100,000 essays written by people from all walks of life are archived on the website thisibelieve.org, heard on public radio, chronicled through books and featured in weekly podcasts.

In January 2012, Porter-Starke introduced This I Believe to employees and other organizations and sponsored writing workshops for all who were interested. In May 2012, it debuted The Inspiration Project at its annual Mental Health Symposium featuring keynote speaker Dan Gediman, executive director of This I Believe. More than 300 audience members heard participating Porter-Starke employees read their essays to great acclaim. In its first year, more than 150 employees participated and shared their own statements of personal belief – stories that have brought the Porter-Starke family closer together. The Inspiration Project has strengthened the organization’s mission to advance the health, balance and hope of its community while helping Porter-Starke employees get in touch with what inspired their career choices in the first place. Today, essays can be read or submitted online at porterstarke.org.

"The most gratifying aspect of this award is the validation by outside experts who visit your workplace and conclude that routine practices are conducive to a psychologically positive environment. There is an enormous satisfaction in being told you are doing a lot of things right!"

Beth Taylerson
Human Resource Director
The Herald, Rock Hill, SC