Speaking up for the unheard

Lesley Plachta is a professional fundraiser for a nonprofit organization that takes care of the elderly in the L.A. community. She sees a tie between the environment and elders in that “like the environment, our vulnerable, financially needy elderly cannot speak up for themselves and need us to take care of them.” Her organization provides long-term residential care to needy seniors and she raises funds to make up the difference between what they get from the government through Medi-Cal, and what it really costs to provide high-quality care.

For Climate Ride California North Coast, Lesley selected the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) to receive funds through the Climate Ride grants program. She joined the LACBC team because she knew a few of its leaders, which is how she found out about Climate Ride. It felt natural for her to join them. She lives and work in L.A. and sees, especially now when she is out biking the streets of Los Angeles even more, how much of a difference LACBC makes in the city.

Lesley initially chose to participate in Climate Ride California North Coast because she wanted to take on the challenge of bringing her riding to the next level. She also hoped the ride would be a vehicle to raise awareness of the plight of climate change. Lastly, she wanted to generate funds for an organization that is really making a difference for our environment on a local level. But she was surprised to find a whole new inspiration when she started to reach out and fundraise.

Behind every Climate Rider is a community

The response was overwhelming. So many people have come out to support her that she feels like a conduit like she is a part of “a powerful thing. I am inspired and grateful to have this opportunity.” It’s shown her how the people in her world care about our planet and have stepped up to say “go Lesley, you are doing this on our behalf.”

She feels she has tapped into a very important issue at the right time and people are responding because contributing to her Climate Ride provides a small, but concrete and meaningful step they can take.

Lesley is new to group rides and discovered that cyclists are, in her words, “the nicest people!” She’s ridden with several different groups, and all of them have been welcoming. Some people have gone out of their way to teach her, coach her, stick with her (however slow she might be), and to really invest themselves in her success. She never expected that.

Even though she is married to a cyclist, who prefers to ride rather than drive whenever possible, through preparing for the Climate Ride she has met several people who live the bicycling lifestyle. Like her husband, their respect for the environment influences how they live their daily lives. She feels inspired by them all.

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