For his third year as a Homeless Stand Down volunteer, Gary Bullard (DuPont) was joined by his wife Keisha (Bolton Elementary), daughter Kelsi, and son-in-law Jim.
But Gary wasn’t the ringleader: “My daughter found this opportunity on her own – she was the one who got Keisha and Jim involved. It makes me feel like I’ve done something right,” he shared.
Check out the rest of our conversation with Gary and Keisha below! 
What motivated you to volunteer at today’s event?
Keisha: Working in Cleveland, homelessness is an issue I see every day. I’m an elementary school teacher, and there are students in my class whose families are experiencing homelessness – many of whom I’ve seen at today’s event. It’s important for me to have an impact beyond the classroom, to build a new layer onto the relationship and let them know that I understand. Being able to take away someone’s troubles, even for a moment, is extremely powerful. This event also provides perspective – one wrong situation can lead to homelessness. It could be me. It could be someone I know. It’s very humbling, and it inspires us to lead with empathy in our day-to-day lives.
Can you share how BVU has impacted your volunteer journey?
Gary: I love being affiliated with BVU. Having an impact on the community you live in is important – and BVU is the place to go to make a difference in Northeast Ohio. BVU sheds light on the importance of volunteering and helping others in more ways than one. I went through BVU’s board matching program in 2021 and have since been able to make a difference on the boards of two local organizations. As I think about how to spend my retirement, I want to work with BVU to find new opportunities that have a direct impact on people living in the inner city.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get involved in the community but doesn’t know where to start?
Gary: Establish relationships to know what the needs are – be a part of the community you’re helping. After volunteering just once, you immediately see the value; there’s no going back after that. So just try it. Don’t make excuses. We can all donate our time. If you can change someone’s life for even a couple of hours, it makes a huge difference.

Thank you, Gary and Keisha, for setting an example of what it means to serve others!

This post is part of BVU’s series of 2024 Homeless Stand Down volunteer spotlights for National Volunteer Week.