For many people struggling with persistent mental illness, even the simplest of daily tasks can be a challenge. Finding someone who can help is vital, but many people seeking help from Porter-Starke Services have found the perfect person to help them through their daily hurdles - Valparaiso resident Courtney Gavin.
“I celebrate life, and I teach with kindness,” said Courtney, who works as an ADLS Tech for Porter-Starke. “I help adults suffering from severe and persistent mental illness.”
Born in Michigan City and raised in Chesterton, Courtney moved to Valpo after college to be closer to work. Although she considers Chesterton her hometown, she loves living in Valpo.
“It’s like a city with a small-town feel. It’s a great place to live.”
A graduate of Indiana University at Bloomington, Gavin began her college career at Purdue Northwest.
She’s also a big believer in the importance of physical fitness, and hits the roads with regularity.
“I’m a runner!” said Gavin. “But I didn’t grow up running. I played volleyball, and my coach was a firm believer in building endurance, so she made us run a lot. I guess that’s something that just carried over into my adult life. Now, I run every race I can.”
Gavin says that she frequently competes in the Chicago Marathon, and placed 3rd in last year’s Popcorn Panic in Valpo. She can often be seen taking part in the local Turkey Trot come autumn.
Her history of physical fitness extends deep throughout her personal history, and Courtney has even travelled to California to work on a video for a fitness program called RIPPED - Resistance, Interval, Power, Plyometrics, Endurance and Diet.
“I was part of a video put out by the inventors of RIPPED. A friend of mine and I flew down to California. We were on the very first DVD; it was pretty awesome!”
When she’s not busy working on her fitness or helping others cope with their illnesses, Courtney likes to visit with her family.
“I spend time with my mother and my two sisters and their families. I’m an aunt three times over, with two nieces and one nephew.”
Courtney says that she enjoys walking at the Indiana Dunes and loves stargazing and spending time outdoors.
“I got to band an owl!” said Courtney. “It was a saw-wheat owl. Just a little guy! My brother-in-law works at the Dunes and invited me to come there and help band owls to track their movement throughout the seasons. It was pretty awesome.”
Physical fitness, owls and kindness: with staff members like Courtney Gavin, adults seeking help at Porter-Starke are sure to be in good hands.