Originally from Poland, Dorota Janik came to live in the United States eleven years ago, moving throughout the Midwest before finally settling in Northwest Indiana. Ever since settling in Indiana, Janik has been extremely involved in her community. This devotion to her volunteer work eventually landed her a job several years ago.
After being a volunteer since 2007, Janik was offered full-time employment at Reins of Life as their Executive Director where she has been for the past two years. Altogether there are nine employees at Reins off Life, five that work full time and the other four work part time, so many responsibilities fall to Janik. Currently, many of her day-to-day responsibilities include attending Chamber of Commerce meetings, overseeing the development committee, organizing special events and fundraisers to help the organizations, attending Board of Directors meetings, and working with different media sources and organizations to help get the word out about Reins of Life.
"I take care of anything and everything that is required in order to run a successful organization," Janik laughed. "Even with all of that, I still enjoy helping with the classes, because I am up close where I can see the children laugh, smile, and light up. When everything falls into place, it's the best reward. And, thankfully, we have a wonderful community that helps us out as well. At the end of the day, I see all of the hard work pay off and I know why I'm doing this. I couldn't ask for anything better. I gives me such a happy feeling to see the connections and the happiness on the people's faces."
When Janik isn't working tirelessly for Reins of Life, she volunteers her time with many different organizations. This year marks her fifth year teaching Polish to people over the age of fifty-five in South Bend. She has also been volunteering with the Michiana Dressage Club - a club that welcomes all levels of Dressage riders from Northern Indiana, Southern Michigan, and all surrounding areas – since 2008 and serves as their Treasurer this year. However, she still admits that her time as a volunteer at Reins of Life were some of the best years she can remember.
"I got to know so many different riders, parents and volunteers," Janik said. "They made me feel so included, which is something that is very special when you're in a foreign country. They really felt that I was one of them. They could see that I had difficulties of my own, with the language barrier, and they made a point to include me. I just loved my time there with such wonderful people."
In what little free time Janik might have, she spends the majority of it horseback riding, which is one of her life's passions. She also enjoys spending time dancing and reading. Janik is almost finished with the Leadership of Northwest Indiana program, which she has enjoyed.
"I loved learning about all of the hidden treasures of Northwest Indiana," Janik said. "There were so many different aspects that I was not aware of and so many wonderful things to take advantage of."