By: Sarah DeMars Last Updated: February 9, 2020

United Way of Porter County’s Goodwill Ambassadors Program is a professional development program that educates and connects the community. United Way is looking for individuals who are interested in developing their own professional network and being the face and voice of United Way in the community.  

Goodwill Ambassadors help spread the word about the positive impact individual donors, companies and the United Way Partner Network are making in Northwest Indiana. They also ask community members to consider engaging with and supporting United Way of Porter County through gifts of time, talent or treasure. 

Program participants learn transferable professional skills and build lasting relationships through a variety of opportunities, including administrative skills, speaking at local businesses, leading event functions and meeting community leaders.

“Goodwill Ambassadors are imperative to our work,” said Kassandra Tenbarge, director of development for United Way of Porter County. “They educate the community about the community needs and the programs available to support them.”

The Goodwill Ambassadors Program is open to everyone over the age of 18. College students, professionals and retirees are encouraged to apply, and anyone looking for a professional development, volunteer experience will fit well into the program.

No experience is required. The program offers participants a variety of experiences to help hone their presentation skills, grow their professional network, and learn first-hand about the work of non-profit organizations in our area.

“These opportunities will help the ambassadors in both the program and their professional career,” said Kim Olesker, president & CEO for United Way of Porter County. “We provide training opportunities so participants can have more thoughtful and well-informed conversations with other residents.”

Besides public speaking training, the program offers personality type evaluation. This self-reflection questionnaire helps individuals better understand how they perceive situations, their personalities, and how to make better to relate to others.

“These professional development experiences are designed to provide participants with the support skills they need to succeed in life,” said Tenbarge. “We truly appreciate individuals who are willing to dive into this work and wanted to give them the boost they need to succeed.”

Alongside training, Ambassadors will grow their networks by making key community contacts and participating in a variety of community events, such as Day of Caring on Friday, August 7 and United Way Partner Network tours.

This program is the connection point for supporting area non-profit programs and meeting resident needs that might not otherwise be met. United Way of Porter County currently supports 57 Northwest Indiana human services programs, including the Porter County Emergency Fund, Reading Buddies, Regional Volunteer Center, AmeriCorps and the Porter County School Readiness Program.

The Goodwill Ambassadors Program is actively looking for applicants to start in the fall. It is open to anyone over the age of 18, all you need is an updated resume and a willingness to learn. No experience is necessary. Some responsibilities include attending monthly meetings and the ability to work independently and conduct community presentations.

United Way of Porter County welcomes applicants to apply by Friday, April 24 at noon. Simply head over to their website and fill out the application. For additional information, contact Director of Development Kasie Tenbarge at or 219.464.3583, ext. 103.