Villa Esperanza Services recently welcomed Christine Benter, Suzi Hoge, Dr. Ricki Robinson and Andrea Williams to its board of directors, which provides guidance to Villa while serving individuals with intellectual/development disabilities of all ages and their families.
Christine Benter is a local philanthropist serving in a variety of capacities supporting her local community. Benter held the immediate past chair, board of governors at Huntington Library. She’s also been a past president of Pasadena Garden Club. Benter’s philanthropy extends beyond that to include working with Huntington’s advancement and membership committee, docent program and much more. Prior to her work in the community, Benter was an elementary schoolteacher. She has her master’s degree in education from USC.
Suzi Hoge has spent her long and successful career in education, serving in a variety of capacities. With more than 20 years of experience as a principal with Glendale and Pasadena Unified School Districts, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Villa’s board. Hoge has a doctorate of educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University and currently works as leadership coach for Los Angeles County Office of Education. She has been committed to special education and advocacy for those with special needs since her daughter was born with Down syndrome. She serves as a member of the Civitan Club of Pasadena, a civic organization, which helped launch Villa 60 years ago.
Dr. Ricki Robinson is a pediatrician and leading expert on autism, providing over 25 years of care for children with autism. She is co-director of the Descanso Medical Center for development and learning in La Cañada Flintridge; a clinical professor of pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC; and a senior attending physician at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. A founding board member of Cure Autism Now and served on the scientific review panel of Autism Speaks, Robinson continues to be a true advocate. In her spare time, she has managed to author a few books — her most recent one “Autism Solutions.” Robinson was instrumental in launching Villa’s first program for children specifically with autism.
Andrea Williams is the executive director of the Southside Coalition of Community Health Centers, a nonprofit network of eight health centers serving South Los Angeles. Williams joined the Southside Coalition after serving as interim executive director and director of development for the YWCA of Glendale. Williams served as Villa’s grant writer 10 years prior. She maintained her support of Villa through volunteering and supporting Villa’s fundraising program. Williams holds a master’s degree in public administration from University of La Verne. She currently serves as a California Community Foundation-Centinela Valley Medical & Community Funds Advisory board member.
Newly elected board chair Peter Vaughn welcomed the members sharing, “We are delighted to have Chris, Suzi, Ricki and Andrea join Villa’s board. They bring great knowledge and expertise to the organization. We are grateful to have them supporting Villa and advocating for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
Celebrating 60 years of an environment of love, care and hope, Villa Esperanza Services provides the tools and support necessary for children, adults and seniors with special needs to achieve their goals, live fulfilling lives and embrace a sense of belonging and acceptance. To learn more about Villa’s collaborative approach, visit VillaEsperanzaServices.org.