Northwest Indiana native Danielle Walker Balek has lived in Northwest Indiana for most of her life.
Balek was born in Hobart and was raised in Gary where she remained a part of the community until she was 21 years old. At 21 Balek decided to move to Minnesota but found herself headed back home at 27.
“The region has its way of pulling you back in, and for me it is home and familiarity,” stated Balek.
A beach baby at heart, Balek swam on the swim team all the way through high school until she graduated from William A. Wirt High School in 1997. Although she doesn’t believe that she was the best swimmer, Balek still enjoys going to the beach and the lake.
“I don’t think there is anywhere like this place. In Northwest Indiana you can get the small town feel but you are so close to Chicago that you can still get the city feel on the lake while you sit on the beach,” stated Balek.
Balek’s love for helping people stems from just after the birth of her third child in 2014. It was around that time that she began working in healthcare and helping those in need.
“I love helping people. It does not matter if it is an elderly lady needing help across the street, or helping someone find their forever home, I just love helping people,” stated Balek.
Currently, Balek works for Rittenhouse Village at Portage. One of the many joys to holding a position at Rittenhouse is that she is able to be a part of the community and help others in the process.
“Because of my new job I will be getting more involved. I work in the community that I live in which is an added bonus,” stated Balek.
Balek cites her children as her motivation for working so hard and becoming involved. Overcoming obstacles is a lesson that she wants to be sure they understand and see in action.
“I want to be able to teach my children that just because there are stereotypes out there in the world and bullies, it does not mean you must conform to them. I teach them to be good people and what you put out into the world will come back to you. It is really all about becoming a good person,” stated Balek.
To know Balek is to trust her, and her family and friends certainly do. Even though her talent is making people feel comfortable and welcome, Balek hopes to continue working on her talents and passion through her current job as well as getting more involved in school and community programs.
“I do not think that I am a unique person just because I like to help other people. I hope that by showing a good example to my kids the world might become a better place little by little,” stated Balek.