Each month we will spotlight a volunteer, staff member, donor or sponsor of Virginia Robinson Gardens (VRG)—those that have made an impact on the organization. We want to let you, the reader, know a little bit about these wonderful people and corporations that give so much to the Virginia Robinson Gardens and community, and what they do that is so impactful.
This month, we spotlight Kerstin Royce, a dedicated Friend of Robinson Gardens and Board Member. We asked her these three questions:
1. How did you first learn about VRG and what inspired you to become a Friend?
My first introduction to Robinson Gardens 12 years ago was through Amy Ardell who was a Friend in the organization. She said “You have to join us at the Friends’ Gala this May, as it is the best party you will ever come to in this town.” I did, and I was in awe of what I saw and experienced. An oasis of beauty five minutes away from where I lived, and I did not know about it. I had always been supportive of preservation and restoration of historic places. Learning of the remarkable Virginia Robinson and the Robinson history, it did not take long to for me to fall in love with this treasure of an estate and join as a Friend. Two years later, I was Gala Chair.
2. What’s your role – How do you contribute to VRG?
To new members I would say that joining this organization, you do not only make great friends…you grow as an individual. Every job that I have had has given me new experiences and new confidence. I have learned so much about the County of Los Angeles Parks and Recreation, and I am especially so grateful for the Department’s efforts to save this incredible piece of land and history for the public to enjoy.
I was fortunate as the President of the Friends to be, after eight years in the making, on the last leg of “passing the baton” for us to expand our EIR. It was truly an incredible, gratifying experience to be a part of the process in asking the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to expand our public hours. We are now allowed to have two more evening events, and we can open our doors to more guests during the day to enjoy and feel the magic of Virginia Robinson’s paradise. Today, more than ever, one of our primary goals of Virginia Robinson Gardens is public accessibility.
3. Can you share a favorite VRG memory with us?
Closest to my heart as the President was being part of revitalizing the Children’s Outreach Program with the expansion of the Grants Program. This allowed us to afford to rent transportation and thus open our doors to children from the Los Angeles Unified School District Title One schools. As a Children’s docent, it always gladdens me to see the children’s faces light up when they tour the gardens and learn from the hands-on science experiences that we offer.
I am so grateful to my friend Amy who introduced me to Robinson Gardens. She is no longer with us, but I think of her often walking in the gardens or participating in the Botanical Program. It is said…the greatest gift of the garden is restoration of the five senses…Amy gave me that as well as a sense of wellness that I feel when I am at VRG. What a gift! Thank you, Amy.