It is fair to say that Hobart resident Amy Blaker has a heart of gold. For the past nine years, she has volunteered regularly at countless organizations across Northwest Indiana, and is always extending a helping hand.
“I go where I’m needed,” Blaker said. “If I see that an organization says they need volunteers, I’ll go.”
Blaker grew up in Hammond and attended Morton High School before completing her undergraduate studies at Purdue University. She then earned her master’s degree in public administration from Indiana University Northwest.
Blaker is a member of the Munster Junior Woman’s Club (MJWC), through which she finds many of her volunteer opportunities, including local food banks, Night Out Against Crime, and Meals on Wheels.
“We deliver meals for them on the first Tuesday of every month. Over time, I became more involved with them, and now I’m on the Meals on Wheels board.”
Volunteering has impacted Blaker’s own life and has become a family tradition.
“Every Christmas my mother and I volunteer to ring the Salvation Army bell,” Blaker said. “She’ll dress up as Santa Clause, and I’ll dress up as an elf. Children love it. It really brings the Christmas spirit, and I love that we do it together. It’s just so much fun and has become a tradition now the weekend after Thanksgiving.”
Blaker attributes her passion for volunteering to the values instilled in her by her mother growing up.
“She never really told us ‘you should volunteer,’” Blaker said, “but that was the spirit that she lived by. She always made sure we were aware of how fortunate we were to have what we have, and encouraged us to give back and invest in community. I always saw her helping people that could never pay her back, and I kind of get that from her.”
Blaker’s volunteerism also is motivated by her love for Northwest Indiana.
“I love where I live; it’s really great area. I feel like it’s easy to look at the negative and poke fun at the Region like some people do, but I prefer to look at the things that are going right and be a part of them in any way I can. I like to promote the good stuff, and volunteering allows me to do that.”
In addition to her mother, Blaker has also been influenced by Theresa Weakland, President of Munster Junior Women’s Club.
“She inspires me to give back. She keeps our club on track, and although she’s a busy person she finds time to help through her church and MJWC. It’s inspiring to see that from other people.”
When she’s not volunteering, Blaker enjoys reading, cooking, or throwing on her running shoes and getting in a few miles in the community she loves.
“I run about five to six days a week,” Blaker said. “It’s a great way to meet people and blow off some steam.”
In the eyes of Blaker, Northwest Indiana is a pinnacle of life and entertainment, and she wants everyone to see it the way she does.
“We have a lot of diversity here which I think is great,” Blaker said. “We’re blessed to have natural resources like the dunes and Lake Michigan, art and culture, and a great food scene. You don’t have to go all the way into the city to have a good time. There’s so much to see and do here, it really is a one-stop-shop for anything you need.”
Blaker hopes that her volunteerism shines a light on all the wonderful things Northwest Indiana has to offer.
“On my fridge I have a quote by JFK that reads, ‘One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.’ I keep that there so I always remember that. This is a fabulous place to live, this is my home, and I want to make it the best it can be.”