The Hollywood Times: El Nido Garden Gala

El Nido Family Centers Celebrates 90 Years of Saving Lives
By: Dr. Laura Wilhelm

L to R: Gina Rodriguez and Sireni Galindo (Photo: Dana Ross and Andrea Alberts)

Beverly Hills, CA (The Hollywood Times) 10/14/15 – On Saturday, September 19th, 2015 El Nido Family Centers celebrated its 90th anniversary with hundreds of guests at Robinson Gardens located at 1008 Elden Way. This is Beverly Hills’ first estate built in 1911 that has been under restoration since 1982 by the Friends of Robinson Gardens and Los Angeles County.

Guests entered the six-acre estate’s expansive grounds, toured the gardens, and enjoyed a garden-inspired dinner and live jazz on the Great Lawn. Prominent attendees included LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Beverly Hills City Councilmember Nancy Krasne, and actor Ed Begley.

Ed Begley Jr. (Photo: Dana Ross and Andrea Alberts)

The spotlight was on El Nido’s newly launched “Garden to Table” program that provides training and mentorship with the culinary industry through urban gardening, cooking, and restaurant management. Youth assisted in cooking demonstrations on the tennis court with leading LA chefs who had been mentoring them. James Beard award winner and Los Angeles magazine editor Lesley Bargar Suter hosted the demonstrations.

Young photographers whose work was on exhibit from El Nido’s Gang Reduction Youth Development Program (GRYD) were on hand to speak with guests. The exhibit, “Two Neighborhoods–One Vision,” represented photographs taken in Pacoima and at Robinson Gardens. The photos were available for a donation at the Garden Gala.

Los Angeles Magazine Editor Lesley Bargar Suter Hosts Food Demonstrations (Photo: Dana Ross and Andrea Alberts)

Honorees included actress Gina Rodriguez, who received the Exemplar Award for her advocacy of Latinos and their impact on our communities, and Kaiser Permanente Hospital and the Harold Edelstein Foundation for supporting El Nido families with various health care services and a job training program.

“El Nido is proud to have helped hundreds of thousands of individuals on their journeys since 1925. El Nido Family Centers has established itself as a beacon in Los Angeles. Tonight we celebrate the past and look to the future of our children and families,” stated El Nido Executive Director Liz Herrera.

Robinson Gardens (Photo: Dana Ross and Andrea Alberts)

ABOUT ROBINSON GARDENS: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Robinson Gardens estate was built in 1911 and originally owned by Virginia and Harry Robinson of LA’s J.W. Robinson department store fame. After the passing of Virginia Robinson, the estate was bequeathed to the County of Los Angeles and today is part of the Department of Parks and Recreation.

The County, along with the Friends of Robinson Gardens, maintains the lush six-acre grounds that include an Australian King Palm forest and an urban farm where history and science come to life for visiting schoolchildren. El Nido has partnered with this historic estate on several of its current projects that were highlighted at the event. Read more at

ABOUT EL NIDO: For 90 years El Nido has been a safe haven for at risk populations in LA, providing critical services to over 10,000 children, youth, and family members in some of LA County’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods each year. For 90 years it has been guided by the philosophy that “a child cannot grow up twice.”

El Nido’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty, child abuse, violence, academic failure, and teen pregnancy through outstanding educational, youth development, health, and therapeutic services.