Sponsors are more than a name on a banner! In a conversation with our staff, Dezirae Stoker (a team member of Meaden & Moore) reflects on her second year of involvement with BVU and the Homeless Stand Down. 
What motivated you to volunteer at today’s event?
I used to live in downtown Cleveland and witnessed the struggles faced by the homeless population in the community. Back then, I didn’t know how to help other than showing general kindness. When I heard about the event last year, I volunteered by doing distribution, and it was truly an incredible experience that proved the importance of lending a helping hand in others’ time of need, even if that just means handing someone a t-shirt or a pair of socks. It was truly humbling. Any of us could be one medical bill or tragedy away from being in a similar position and it served as a reminder and an expression of our shared humanity.
Can you share how BVU has impacted your volunteer journey?
BVU has played a significant role in shaping the way I help out. I had donated to organizations before, but I wasn’t seeing the people I was helping or hearing their stories. There are many organizations out there to volunteer with, but sometimes not having the knowledge or experience with the organizations was intimidating. When I began my new job last year, I was introduced to BVU.  BVU’s dedication to fostering partnerships between businesses and nonprofits has opened up resources to me not only in a professional setting, but also in my personal life. 
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get involved in the community but doesn’t know where to start?
Just get out there. Explore your interests. Answer the question: What am I passionate about?  Whether it be animal welfare, homelessness, education, politics, helping the elderly or children – or ALL of them – start reaching out to nonprofits, research them online, or reach out to volunteer centers like BVU. One small step can open up endless opportunities. 

We are grateful to be a part of your volunteer journey, Dezirae!

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