Tell us a little about your background
I was born and grew up in Los Angeles during the 50s and 60s, the second of ten children. I went to nursing school in San Francisco and Baltimore and helped start one of the first free clinics in the US, in Washington, D.C. I was really drawn to work in public health since I was convinced that the environment and conditions in neighborhoods that were the biggest contributors to poor health and poor quality of life. I went to graduate school in public health nursing at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill while I worked in a rural area as the public health nurse. I came home in the late 80s and worked for many years as a public health nurse before my retirement in 2011. I ride my bike every day for exercise, recreation, and errands. It seemed like a natural fit to look for volunteer opportunities to promote biking and that led me to the LA County Bicycle Coalition and CicLAvia.
How did you get involved in CicLAvia?
I first heard of CicLAvia through the great LA River advocate and community organizer Joe Linton when it was in its very beginning planning stage. I knew of similar efforts in other countries and big cities to open up the streets for activities other than car driving. I was excited that such an effort was coming to LA. Not only is it a way to transform, even just for a day, the physical environment to promote health but it also brings people together in a way that increases social connectedness between people and neighborhoods. I participated in the first CicLAvia and every one thereafter.
What do you like about CicLAvia?
I love that it is open to all activities, not just biking. I like that it brings the scale of the city to a human level and allows people to slow down, out of their cars and really see our beautiful city in all its diversity. It helps to expose people to a number of businesses and other groups, expanding their horizons and promoting a healthy street scene. I like the sense of freedom that comes from being able to ride in the street with no cars and taking back a bit of public space that has been too long dominated by one form of transportation. I like to be able to be with my family and friends in a free community event that gets us all physically active and enjoying a great day!
How have you volunteered? Why do you volunteer?
I have been fortunate that I have volunteered with the LA County Bike Coalition just in time for the gear up to CicLAvia. I know from my work in public health that there is so much effort needed behind the scenes to make an event successful. I have worked on identifying community organizations in each neighborhood that CicLAvia will pass through to encourage awareness and involvement. I have assisted with follow up for buildings along the route whose tenants may not be aware of the event and need notification. I find this work very rewarding because I know that it is helping make for a great CicLAvia. I enjoy helping to build momentum for future CicLAvias so that one day, this event will be a staple of our community and never disappear. I want my volunteer work to promote big changes in our physical and social environment to improve quality of life. This work does that for me.
What’s in store for you? What’s coming up in your life?
I just started teaching public health nursing at the UCLA School of Nursing as a clinical instructor. Bringing the public health message to young people and those just starting in their nursing careers is very rewarding to me. I just got a supply of CicLAvia flyers to share with my students to encourage participation. I also volunteer with several other groups who are promoting community gardening, another way to improve public health! I will continue to stay involved with the Bike Coalition and enjoy CicLAvia….maybe every month someday?! We can only hope and work hard to make this a reality.
CicLAvia couldn’t happen without the best volunteers in the world. From pre-production volunteers who come into the office to do research, hit the streets to do outreach and canvassing, and who rummage through our merchandise tirelessly to take inventories, to the day-of volunteers who keep participants safe at intersections, provide information at the hubs, and roam the route with tools and pumps to fix your bike, every single volunteer plays a vital role in making CicLAvia the greatest car-free, open-streets event. Join the volunteer team! Check out CicLAvia.org/Volunteer for an overview of the opportunities, and then email[email protected] to sign up!
This is the first in a series of volunteer profiles, highlighting some of CicLAvia’s super volunteers. If you’d like to see yourself profiled next join the CicLAvia Volunteer Team. Plus you’ll get a snazzy CicLAvia t-shirt and an invite to our exclusive post-CicLAvia volunteer party!