The Valley Line: Valuing Villa Esperanza

It was a star-spangled evening when Villa Esperanza Services held its fund-raising benefit at the beautiful La Cañada Flintridge home of Ray and Marybeth Dittu.

The party, “Blue & White at Night,” was a dazzling success raising $140,000 for Villa’s programs that support individuals with disabilities at every stage of life.

Mistress of ceremonies for the evening was actress Jane Kaczmarek, who presented the Villa’s 14th Annual Guardian Angel award to LCF physician Ricki Robinson.

More than 260 guests gathered in the Dittu garden to honor Dr. Robinson and to support Villa Esperanza. Party guests bid on silent-auction items, enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and libations before dinner and dancing under the stars.

At the presentation, Kelly White, CEO of Villa Esperanza, told those gathered that Robinson is a nationally known advocate for the children and adults Villa serves and is the co-founder of its first autism class.

Robinson is co-director of the Descanso Medical Center, a practice devoted to children and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. She is also a founding board member of Cure Autism Now. Currently she serves on the scientific review panel of Autism Speaks and is an accomplished author.

Sharing this very special evening with Dr. Robinson was her husband Joel.

Fritz Coleman, NBC TV Channel 4’s weathercaster, was the expert auctioneer for the live auction. He had the crowd laughing and bidding high, “all in support of Villa,” he reminded guests.

A special musical performance by “Pixel Memory” started the crowd slow-dancing and by the end of the evening D.J. Chris Morales had everyone on the floor groovin’ to the music.

The party committee was led by Marybeth Richman-Dittu of La Cañada. “This committee is the best. Everyone pitched in and did a fabulous job. All of our guests had a terrific time and we raised a lost of money for Villa,” she said.

Committee members included Nancy Cook, R-lene Mijares de Lang, Donna Secundy, Paulette Geragos, Meredith Johnson, Hallee Gould, Maryann Seduski, Wendy and Doug Senour, Yolanda Sherman, Jan Starnes, Noel Daniel and DebAnn Orfalea.

Some of the La Cañadans attending this lovely evening for a very good cause included Julie, Kevin and Suzanne Abbott, Dr. Skip Baker, Karen and Phil Daroca, Erin Dundee, Lisa and Joe Elmassian, Pam and Walt Fraser, Stephanie and Ryan Fraser, Paulette Geragos, Cindy Gilbert, Terri and Jon Kagawa, Brett Robinson, Alec Rojas, Mark Russakow and Carol Swemline. Also there were former La Cañada residents Pamela Nolan, Martha Unickel and David Wells.

Copyright © 2019, La Cañada Valley Sun
EDITION: California | U.S. & World