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Faces of the Future RESTAURATEUR
Some of the community benefits of the River Park include:
SIX-ACRE RIVER PARK featuring plazas, water features, wooded areas, and other natural spaces, open to the community from sunrise to sunset.
PUBLIC ACCESS to new, state-of-the-art recreation and athletic facilities.
Continued public access to COMMUNITY TENNIS FACILITIES.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the River Park Campus Plan, please contact us at email@example.com or (818) 487-6601.
The Harvard-Westlake River Park is a new recreation complex and community park that will be located on the 16-acre property in Studio City currently occupied by Weddington Golf & Tennis. The River Park project will preserve open space, provide community access to recreation opportunities, and responsibly steward environmental resources.
Community access to refurbished CLUBHOUSE, CAFE, and PUTTING GREEN.
Public, dog-friendly WALKING AND JOGGING TRAILS.
ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS including 150 more trees, 100% native landscaping, and stormwater capture and reuse.
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TO HER OWN DRUMMER
13-year-old Mirabelle King stays true to who she is—and reaps the benefits.
THE VIOLIN IS HIS VOICE
Meet 18-year-old Matthew Chang, concertmaster for two orchestras.
Harvard-Westlake baseball player Will Gasparino is considered a triple threat.
IN PERFECT HARMONY
He’s a mega music producer; she’s all about zen. Peek into the home where they connect.
SPRINGIFY YOUR CLOSET
Two experts on readying your wardrobe for the warm-weather season.
WHEN YOU BID UPON A STAR
An auction house for Disney collectibles—and more—opens doors in Studio City.
FAMILY STYLE ON THE MAYAN RIVIERA
The Rosewood Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen.
ALL HANDS ON DECK
Joan’s On Third head honcho Joan McNamara shares tips for cooking with kids.
CHEWY IN THE MIDDLE
The new Milk Jar Cookies in Encino keeps it simple—and sweet.
AND THEN SOME...
ALL ABOUT KIDS
Meet the dedicated professionals at some of the Valley’s most highly regarded schools.
Spectacular local listings.
The editor of Milken Community School’s student newspaper makes a case against book banning.
16 BOOKISH & PROUD A teen opening a bookstore? Yep. 20 ON A MISSION
group of Valley students travel to Uganda. 28 WHEN YOUR GIRL IS NOT ALL RIGHT An in-depth convo with a science journalist and best-selling author. 32 ANOTHER LIFE A look at the vintage craze. 44 WHEN THEY WERE YOUNG Celebrity photographer Bonnie Schiffman shares some of her favorite photos. 32
COVER Joan McNamara and
Photographed by Cara Harman
Urgent care now available.
Providing care for even our smallest patients.
No parent plans a trip to urgent care with their child, but these are the moments when families need kindness and high-quality, convenient care the most. At Dignity Health Urgent Care–Northridge, our board-certified doctors and nurse practitioners are trained to care for pediatric patients. Busy caregivers and families will benefit from the onsite lab and radiology services to quickly determine the next steps for healing and heading home.
We are conveniently located on the Northridge Hospital campus and are open seven days a week (walk-ins are welcome). But in the event of an emergency, Dignity Health-Northridge Hospital Medical Center is right here to provide kids and families with expert care.
For more information, please visit dhmf.org/NorthridgeUrgentCare.
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The stresses kids feel today are real. And extraordinary. Gun violence. War. Pandemic. Climate change. Add in a 24/7 smartphone internet connection and self-esteemrobbing social media, and it’s clear that being a kid—and raising kids—are both more daunting than ever. (We explore this in depth in a Q&A with a science journalist on page 28)
I have no idea what it is like to be a child today. The formidable events I experienced as a child were pretty much limited to three things: My parent’s divorce when I was 10. The attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan outside a D.C. hotel, just a few miles from my home. And the murder of John Lennon in New York City. Of course, other bad things were happening in the world, but I didn’t read the newspaper, and my mom allowed only one hour of TV per night. Current events weren’t discussed in any of my public school classes; lessons were derived from antiquated textbooks. My high school world revolved around going to class, weekend parties, and whether one blue-eyed boy might be there. That’s it. It may sound shallow, but to me, in reflection, it sounds idyllic.
While I don’t know what it would be like to be a kid
in these complicated times, I do know what it is like to be a parent. It is more challenging than ever. And while this annual FACES OF THE FUTURE issue is about teens and their accomplishments, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge their parents. All parents, really.
We all love our kids and try to raise kind, welladjusted, well-educated people who will have meaningful relationships in life. (I just read a study that showed that the latter is the most important factor in achieving happiness.) Sometimes our efforts are spot-on; other times we fail. Making mistakes is imbued in parenting. I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to broach a delicate subject with one of my sons and said something I wish I could take back. Or done something hastily—fueled more by emotion than reason—and wished I could reverse it. But, as with most parents, the love and good intention were always there.
So with this issue, I salute all the parents who are doing their best amid circumstances that are more challenging than ever. I see you and feel for you.
I hope you all enjoy our annual FACES OF THE FUTURE issue. When I read through it the other night, I realized I had a smile on my face. I hope it affects you that way, too.
Follow me on Instagram @she_sez Linda Grasso, Editor-in-Chief
PHOTOGRAPHED BY MICHAEL BECKER
18319 EUCLID ST FOUNTAIN VALLEY, CA 92708 I COMING SOON
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This teen aims to keep plastics out of the ocean with her whimsical creations. More on page 50.
Bookish & Proud
MOST NEWS ABOUT BOOKSTORES CONCERNS CLOSINGS. ENTER 16-YEAR-OLD ANNABELLE CHANG, WHO PRESIDES OVER THE RECENTLY OPENED ANNABELLE’S BOOK CLUB LA IN STUDIO CITY.
Written by Anna Ephron Harari | Photographed by Stephanie Girard
With her new bookstore along the busiest stretch of Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, Annabelle Chang aims to change the perception that young adult (YA) books are just for teenagers.
“I think the literary community has historically undervalued the power of young adult stories, but I think we are at a moment where that is changing. More than half of the customers in my store buying YA literature are adults. I think there was a perception that
YA books are just fun reads, but there is now a realization that they often tackle difficult and serious issues,” Annabelle says.
The store seems perfectly positioned, particularly for a younger clientele. Its bright pink facade is nestled between Bluestone Coffee and the ice cream shop Salt & Straw.
“I can’t believe how lucky I am with this location,” says Annabelle. “I often came over here for shopping
and to hang out. It’s a vibrant community.”
Annabelle’s origin story reads like a YA novel itself. She started Annabelle’s Book Club as a blog during the pandemic to give book recommendations to friends. She got such great feedback that last year she stocked a rolling cart at the LA Times Festival of Books and ran a pop-up shop for the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Festival of Books.
The success of those events convinced her there was demand for a YA shop, and she was able to get her parents on board. Annabelle’s mother, Amanda Brown, wrote the semiautobiographical novel Legally Blonde Dad Justin Chang is a real estate investor.
Her attention to detail is evident throughout the 1,400-square-foot store, from the cozy, draped reading nook to the eye-catching window displays. From the sidewalk, through the window, pedestrians can see what she calls the “book dress,” a Victorian-style garment made out of book jackets. She commissioned the work from artist Rob Younkers, and hand-selected each book to be featured.
Strolling around the store, one gets the impression that Annabelle’s Book Club also aspires to be a lifestyle brand. In addition to some 2,500 titles, the store has a couple racks of merchandise. A T-shirt with a Roy Lichtenstein-style design reads “Sob, does he even read?” Hoodies spell out “Zodiac Book Tropes,” and silk blazers feature book covers designed by the highend digital fashion brand Tribute Project.
Annabelle’s can-do attitude runs in the family. She is one of four sisters, and has an identical twin. Her eldest sister runs the popular blog The Zeitgeist.
She cites “connecting with authors and fellow book lovers through events” as one of the most rewarding aspects of having a store.
“Authors have always been my personal heroes, and it has been amazing to host signings and discussions for some of my all-time favorite writers. I love having the opportunity to meet people who are as passionate about reading as I am,” she says. ■
5 SPRING PICKS
ANNABELLE’S FAVORITE YA NOVELS TEND TO FEATURE TEENAGERS FINDING THEMSELVES THROUGH THEIR PASSIONS. HERE ARE SOME CURRENT FAVES.
The Stolen Heir by Holly Black
I am a huge fan of Holly Black’s books, so when I read that The Stolen Heir was coming out, I was so excited. Set in the same captivating universe as Black’s best-selling Folk of the Air series, The Stolen Heir is filled with intrigue, betrayal and magic that is sure to enchant readers and exceed the expectations of Holly Black fans.
They’re Watching You by Chelsea Ichaso
If you love boarding school mysteries and secret societies as much as I do, then They’re Watching You must be your next read. The book follows Maren, a student at the prestigious Torrey-Wells Academy, as she sets out to solve her best friend’s disappearance. Maren is determined to find the truth, even if it means joining the school’s most infamous—and deadly—secret society.
French Kissing in New York by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau
From the best-selling author of Kisses and Croissants comes a charming rom-com about a young French chef navigating life and love in New York City. A love letter to teenage romance, the magic of New York, and finding yourself, French Kissing in New York is a fun read perfect for hopeless romantics and anyone who loves dessert.
Nine Liars by Maureen Johnson
I was so excited when Nine Liars came out this past December, because Truly Devious, which follows teenager Stevie Bell as she solves mysteries at her prestigious boarding school, is one of my all-time favorite series. In this captivating sequel, mystery follows Stevie and her friends to London, where they must solve a double-murder cold case before the killer strikes again.
Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert
This hilarious rom-com follows Brad and Celine, ex-best friends who are forced to work together when they both sign up for a wilderness survival course. Heartfelt and unique, readers will fall in love with this laugh-out-loud story and its compelling characters.
on a mission
A GROUP OF STUDENTS FROM DE TOLEDO HIGH SCHOOL EMBARK ON A HUMANITARIAN MISSION, BRINGING KNOWLEDGE AND RESOURCES TO AN UNDERDEVELOPED JEWISH COMMUNITY IN UGANDA.
Written by Anne M. Russell
When asked about her future career plans, Cece Nussbaum, a junior at de Toledo High School in West Hills, says, “I know I want to do something that’s impactful for other people globally—something humanitarian.” So when the opportunity to travel to Uganda last November to help students there cultivate the nutrientrich cyanobacteria spirulina to combat malnutrition, she jumped at the chance.
The private school emphasizes the importance of “thoughtful acts of tikkun olam (world repair), and act(ing) with integrity, honesty, and wisdom.” Before the pandemic, the school had sent a group of high schoolers on a medical mission to Tanzania, and it often arranges student exchanges with other Jewish schools around the world.
Cece and six other girls from de Toledo traveled to Mbale, Uganda, home to an isolated community of Jews. The teens were struck immediately by the contrast between the lives of the 2,000-member Jewish community there, known as the Abayudaya (“Children of Judah”), and what the young women experience at home.
“I tried not to have any expectations,” Cece recalls, “but it was still shocking that poverty is the norm. They didn’t have running water or electricity. It’s made me not take anything for granted—just simple things like having food on the table at every meal.” Yolanda Hovsepian, chair of the science department, was one of two grown-ups on the trip. “It was eye-opening even for me as an adult,” she says.
The de Toledo teens confronted their first challenge before they even left the Valley, when they received
word of an outbreak of Ebola in Uganda.
“I give the seven sets of parents a lot of credit,” says head of school Mark Shpall. “Not one family backed out.” The participants, who ranged from sophomores to seniors, were Isabella Cohen, Sarai Golden-Krasner, Siena Guralnick, Eliana Harel, Madalyn Kasif, Nussbaum, and Kate Stutman. Lior Sibony, associate director of the school’s Global Jewish Education department, joined Yolanda Hovsepian as adult leaders of the trip.
Mbale lies near the Kenyan border and its economy is based on subsistence farming. The girls were visiting the drought-prone area to help peers there improve an already established program to cultivate nutrient-rich, algae-like spirulina. The cyanobacteria, which grows in greenhouse tanks and is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals, can be used as a nutritional supplement when other food is scarce. For Americans, spirulina is a take-it-or-leave-it novelty superfood, but not for the Ugandan students. “To them, it’s super important to be able to grow it,” says Cece. “So they took it very, very seriously.”
Science teacher Hovsepian leads de Toledo’s spirulina research program, an extracurricular effort that all the girls had participated in prior to the trip. “It was really nice working alongside students of our own age,” says sophomore Madalyn Kasif, who is considering becoming a marine biologist. “There was an openness. We had very real conversations.” (The Ugandan students speak Luganda as their first language, but most of them spoke English as well.) Madalyn adds that the students knew relatively little about their visitors’ daily lives in America: “One guy asked us how we farm at home,” she recalls.
The high schoolers’ time in Mbale spanned 10 days and included a Sabbath observance. When it came to Shabbat, the Americans and the Abayudaya were on common ground. “The basics were familiar,” says Cece. “They sing songs in Hebrew and read the Torah, but the rabbi will also talk in Luganda. There was a
lot more music and singing.” Adds Siena Guralnick, a senior, “It was beautiful to have the same traditions. It felt very welcoming.”
Head of school Shpall describes the trip as eye-opening and life-altering. “I give our girls so much credit for making a difference in the world, and for being part of the community.” He says the school hopes to make the Uganda trip an annual or biannual event. ■
“I GIVE OUR GIRLS SO MUCH CREDIT FOR MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD .”
Sarai Golden-Krasner, Eliana Harel and Madalyn Kasif take a selfie. Below left: Cece Nussbaum.
Middle: Siena Guralnick, Cece, Kate Stutman, Eliana.
Right: de Toldeo students chatting with some local girls.
discover ventura blvd on instagram @OURVENTURABLVD | 25
ALADDIN TURNS 30
Discover a whole new world of Disney magic with three spring concerts at The Soraya.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been three decades since Aladdin, Disney’s beloved animated musical fantasy comedy film, first swept us away on a magical carpet ride. Originally released on November 25, 1992, the Academy Award-winning movie enjoyed significant critical and commercial success. It is being celebrated this spring at The Soraya, located on the vibrant and diverse campus of California State University, Northridge.
Three concerts—each with ties to the Disney classic—will give die-hard fans as
well as those new to the movie an opportunity to enjoy the enchanting soundtrack by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. Aladdin won Oscars for Best Film Score and Best Original Song, and a Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1992.
On Saturday, March 25 at 3 p.m., The Soraya presents Disney in Concert: Aladdin 30th Anniversary—a screening of the film with its award-winning music performed live by New West Symphony. The engaging plot, amazing visual effects and charming characters will captivate audiences old and
young. Tickets are $35 to $75.
A Whole New World of Alan Menken will delight guests with an evening of stories and songs by the Oscar-winning composer on Sunday, April 2 at 7 p.m. The legendary songwriter will take his place at The Soraya’s Steinway piano for an intimate presentation of little-known anecdotes about the making of his legendary Disney songs and Broadway musicals. Menken will perform his celebrated classics including “A Whole New World” from Aladdin and “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast. The winner of
eight Academy Awards, Menken has created some of the most beloved songs and musical scores of our time—capturing the imagination of audiences for more than 35 years. Tickets range from $49 to $109.
The celebration wraps up with two concerts by powerhouse performer Lea Salonga, best known for her roles as the voice of two Disney animated princesses: Mulan from Mulan and Jasmine from Aladdin. She will perform Broadway hits, Disney classics, pop favorites and more on Saturday, April 22 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 23 at 3 p.m. Salonga’s concerts are always a sellout, so be sure to secure your tickets—from $49 to $109—before they are gone.
The Aladdin celebration is just one of many ways that The Soraya continues to offer a wide variety of performances that reflect Los Angeles’ distinctive communities, featuring work and artists from around the world.
YOUNES AND SORAYA NAZARIAN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS (THE SORAYA)
18111 NORDHOFF ST., NORTHRIDGE
| 27 SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION ARTS SPOTLIGHT
LEFT & RIGHT: PHOTOS COURTESY OF DISNEY; FAR RIGHT: PHOTOGRAPHED BY
ISAAC; BOTTOM RIGHT: PHOTO COURTESY OF ALAN MENKEN
When Your Girl Isn’t All Right
SCIENCE JOURNALIST DONNA JACKSON
NAKAZAWA DISCUSSES HER NEW BEST-SELLING BOOK GIRLS ON THE BRINK AND SHARES WAYS WE CAN HELP OUR DAUGHTERS COPE WITH DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY—AND ALL THE EXTRAORDINARY STRESSORS IN TODAY’S WORLD.
Illustrated by Yuiko Sugino
Today one out of four adolescent girls reports suffering from symptoms of major depression. And for parents of a girl who is struggling, nothing is more painful. Donna Jackson Nakazawa aims to help those parents, and their kids, with her new book, Girls on the Brink. Her mission is the book’s subtitle: “Helping Our Daughters Thrive in an Era of Increased Anxiety, Depression, and Social Media.” After two years of exhaustive research with scientists, medical practitioners, and mental health experts—and, of course, girls—she offers insight into why this is happening and what parents can do about it. Here the author discusses her book and findings with VB editor Linda Grasso.
You blame the increase in anxiety and depression among girls on a toxic combination: the earlier onset of puberty, the hideous effect of social media on selfesteem, and the misogyny in our culture. Yes, and I would add that this world is extremely stressful for kids across the board. The world has heated up socially, politically, environmentally. Wildfires,
floods, school shootings, political insanity, pandemic. Social media amplifies that and begins to literally change the brain. Kids are growing up in an environment when we really can’t understand the effects on the young brain, which asks itself: “Am I safe in this world or not?” The answer is increasingly no.
And it’s all happening during the critical window of adolescence when the brain is still forming. I talked to leading neurobiologists, girls, school nurses, pediatricians and public health researchers over two years. Two things became clear. Puberty is happening earlier and earlier. In the 1800s it was age 16; in 1900, age 15. Today it is age 11. That has shaved off a lot of girlhood. Puberty is happening before adolescence. That’s a problem. It used to be that you went through a period in the tweens and early adolescence to develop and figure out who you were in the world. For example: How should you respond to that mean girl that left you out in the classroom? The brain needs that time to figure out how to handle small stressors and large stressors before puberty sets in. “Is this a big deal or not? Is this life or death? How do I ask for help?”
In the book you indicate that this situation can actually impact adulthood.
More than 2,000 studies over the past 20 years look at how adversity affects mental health. Studies show that significant stress over time begins to create changes in the immune system and architecture of the brain. It is a state of fight-or-flight over a period of time. One doesn’t know if they’re safe or not or when the next bad thing is going to happen. That sets the brain on high alert and over time, sends the immune system into high alert, which causes complicated inflammatory factors to course through the body and brain. It is a big deal when it happens during puberty when hormones are coming in, which amplifies this remodel of the brain.
Why are we seeing girls more impacted than boys?
Boys are definitely struggling too. There are some differences in the brain. In boys we see more attention and behavioral issues, but girls tend to take stressors
more internally, especially social pressures. Boys tend to take their pressures more externally.
On social media, you see girls—from the moment they start getting curves and sometimes even before— posing in bikinis and skimpy clothing, trying to be sexy. You can see that their posts are eliciting responses and that is where and how they are trying to build their self-confidence and esteem.
Yes, and the girls I’ve followed for two years told me stories about how if you wanted to be popular in high school, you needed to be really active on social media. The earlier you sexualized yourself, the more popular you were. Popularity is based on how willing one is to be sexualized—way before the brain is ready for it.
I talked to girls who said the more clothes they took off on TikTok, the more followers they got. If a girl looks like an adult and is sexualized, she will become more popular. This really messes with the brain.
We have really good research that shows two things. One, the more time kids spend on social media and the more they see different behaviors getting liked, the more the brain reacts the same way that you or I might if we really loved chocolate. It activates the reward center of the brain in ways that become addictive.
Two, in an internal survey run by Meta (parent company of Facebook and Instagram), kids who spent a lot of time on Instagram said they wanted to spend less time—but they just didn’t know how.
You have words of caution even for parents of a well-loved popular girl.
Yes, even for that girl, her sense of herself and her possibilities in this world will be diminished over time in the face of this continual misogynistic, sexist and gender messaging. I learned this from girls I talked to. Even when girls grew up in loving families, their sense of possibilities, mattering and being valued began to diminish over time in this avalanche of negative messaging.
In the book you offer what you call the building blocks of good parent-child connection and the importance of family resilience. One is get in sync—understand
the connections between your own stress and trauma and what you are communicating to your child. We know when a kid grows up with a lot of stress and adversity, that begins to affect the way the brain and immune system fire up. If you were one of those kids yourself, later in life, when as parents we are in high-stress moments, our brain is more likely to kind of go offline. We become so caught up in managing our own feelings that we are not present to help the child in front of us.
It’s OK when that happens. What isn’t OK is to not do anything about it. There are ways we can reground ourselves. We can offer what we call parent attunement. Rather than having to fix your own state of being off kilter, you’re tuning in to your child’s emotional state.
Another one of your building blocks, and one I find tremendously challenging as a parent: When hard things happen, be prepared to respond in healthy, supportive ways, even when your child shares difficult-to-hear information.
When a child is upset, showing signs of depression ...
when the conversation begins to happen, it is so important that it is a good experience. Our child will remember what came out of our mouth and the way it made them feel. We want to do that by stepping back—being not just a good listener, but somebody who knows when to jump in and when not to.
Sometimes we can rewire our own brain by having a few scripts. I’ve had parents tell me that they’ve taken sections of my book and made crib cards or sheets. When your child comes to you and they are really struggling, don’t jump in as the fixer, the detective, the judge. (You want to say) “Who did it? Where were you? What happened? Show me!” But if you can come in with a script, it can be helpful. You can say to your child, “Look, I’m going to tell you what I think, but right now it is more important that you share with me, and I listen.” This allows our child to walk away thinking: I am loved, seen, and I matter, and this is a place I can return to for help.
It is challenging not to be reactive when a child tells you something disturbing.
It is a tall order. The idea is to create a different level of connection. We don’t have to do this alone. We can take some of the pressure off by getting professional help. We can bring in the help of the school and engage the power of mentors and benefactors.
What about parents getting therapy to help them cope? One hundred percent. In the book I talk about normalizing therapy for the whole family from a young age. We are better parents when we have someone to talk to about our stress and anxiety. I advise families to start the search for the right therapist early if you have any inkling that your child is struggling. The earlier we intervene with therapy, the better results we see. ■
For more of Linda’s conversation with Donna, listen to SheSez with Linda Grasso, available across all podcast platforms. Or access the SheSez podcast episode here: shesez.com/our-girls-are-not-alright
KIDS ARE GROWING UP IN AN ENVIRONMENT WHEN WE REALLY CAN’T UNDERSTAND THE EFFECTS ON THE YOUNG BRAIN, WHICH ASKS ITSELF: “AM I SAFE IN THIS WORLD OR NOT?” THE ANSWER IS INCREASINGLY NO.
When she was a college student studying business law at California State University, Northridge, Adi Livyatan never dreamed that she would be a top luxury home specialist for the San Fernando Valley, selling more than $300 million annually. Fast-forward to today, and that’s exactly what she’s doing— and the accolades are there to prove it. In 2021 Adi was recognized for her sales volume and ranked #41 in the nation by RealTrends + The Thousand. She is in the top 1% of all 1,400 Rodeo Realty agents and the #1 agent in the Valley. She was included in Los Angeles Business Journal’s “Leaders of Influence” list for 2021 and 2022. Obviously, she’s great at what she does. But what Adi values most—more than professional recognition—is her reputation. “Reputation is everything in this business,” she points out. “My biggest rule is: Don’t ever burn bridges. Be focused, loyal, ethical and most importantly, honest!”
Her career in real estate began when she and her husband, Asaf Livyatan, started flipping houses. She realized that she enjoyed the process, and people began to approach her to list their homes for them. Adi says it became “an addiction,” so she began to work in real estate full time. “I have always been interested in real estate development,” she explains. “Seeing dirt turn into a masterpiece really excites me! I also love negotiating and making deals happen!” Now, 12 years later, Adi has represented hundreds of buyers and sellers in various price ranges. “Each client is different and unique,” she says. “A good agent needs to recognize the individual needs of each client.” Specializing in new construction, Adi works with residential buyers and sellers as well as developers. She advises her clients throughout each step of the process—from finding the land or the teardown property to selecting finishes and design choices to staging.
A marketing whiz, she and her team take a comprehensive approach to promoting their clients’ properties: creating videos, custom websites, international listings and advertising in local publications. After all, it takes a high-end marketing campaign to sell a high-end property. And that’s what Adi Livyatan Group is all about. Adi’s success is partially due to her association with the firm. “Rodeo Realty is an amazing company, owned by Syd Leibovitch,” she shares. “He is a very special person who is super involved and is always there to support me.” This Encino homeowner is one of the Valley’s biggest fans— particularly when it comes to her neighborhood, Amestoy Estates. “There is a strong sense of warmth and community,” she shares. “People walk in the neighborhood, greet each other, have community meetings. It gives me a sense of belonging.”
Adi has been married to Asaf for 20 years and is a mom to three kids: Lielle 17, and twin sons Adam and Ben, 15. She has been an active volunteer at their schools and is also involved with the Israeli-American Council and Larger Than Life, an organization that gives Israeli kids with cancer a dream trip to the United States. A couple of Adi’s passions are traveling and focusing on fitness and nutrition. “It’s not easy with such a busy schedule, but I do my best to do things that make me feel good. The better you feel, the more you have to give to your family, your clients and people in general.” The highlight of her successful career has been breaking records all over the Valley—specifically Encino. “I currently hold two of the most expensive listings in the history of Encino,” says Adi, who has watched the area transform into one of the most sought-after places to live. “I love what I do. Every day I get to meet new people and experience new things.”
Adi Livyatan New Construction and Luxury Home Specialist Wall Street Journal Ranked #15 in CA | #28 in the Nation Mobile: 818.919.4060 • Office: 818.285.3220 Email: email@example.com DRE# 1892750 www.AdiLivyatan.com $500 MILLION SOLD IN 2021 &2022
A LOOK AT THE VINTAGE CRAZE AND WHY IT HAS TAKEN HOLD WITH A NEW GENERATION—PLUS A TRIO OF VALLEY STORES THAT ARE MAGNETS FOR FANS OF FASHION FROM DAYS GONE BY.
Written by Chloe King | Photographed by Shane O’Donnell
Can you remember what you were wearing on your first day of 9th grade? In my mind that’s the pivotal point where a child begins their shift into a fully realized adult self. Clothes and appearance play a major role in that transition.
As it happens, I remember exactly what I was wearing that day in 1981. With my hair dyed pink, I was wearing tight leggings beneath a floral, vintage 1940s dress. A ’50s cowboy belt graced my waist, used combat boots my feet, each adorned by a set of chains. Yes, chains—and pertinently, only the chains were purchased new.
The funny thing is, just months before, I dressed only to conform. I wanted nothing more than to fit in. I begged my parents to buy me whatever was the retail rage of the day. Then, as that monumental first day of high school grew near, and hormones raged, I decided it was time I expressed my truer self—and not to conform anymore. Paramount in that decision was “thrifting.” One man’s trash was now my treasure. And the hunt for it, the self-expression therein, helped form the woman I am today.
Too bad I was not praised for it. Nor was I accepted
for it. Far from it. Rather, I was labeled something akin to a freak. But that was OK. For the first time ever, I felt like me.
Cut to 2023. Thrifting is all the rage. In fact, I now hear from my teenagers, “It’s the only way.” My son, Keats, 16, expresses himself not at the mall, but at vintage and thrift shops. Same for my stepdaughter, Lucy, 17 (whose hair also happens to be pink; go figure). In her words, “I love the idea of giving clothes a second life, while expressing myself when I wear them.” Lucky for Keats and Lucy and so many of their peers, we live just blocks from one of the major meccas of thrifting in LA: Ventura Boulevard.
So here we look at the three top vintage stores on the Boulevard and why they are capturing the fancy of fashion lovers, young, and, well … not so young.
One of the longer-established stores on the Boulevard, American Vintage opened its doors in 2000 with a goal of “recycling the vintage fashion industry.” The shop provides a cornucopia of carefully hand-curated clothes, shoes and accessories spanning the decades, but with a focus on the truly vintage. In other words, harder-to-find and rarer pieces from the 1920s through the ’90s. If you’re in the market for a suit from the ’50s or you’re looking for ’70s flares, an authentic vintage rock band T-shirt, or just a cool Halloween outfit, this place is for you. In contrast to many thrift shops, everything at American Vintage is incredibly well organized and displayed, and the staff is helpful in the hunt. The sales items, noted by multicolored tags, can be epic. We suggest bringing along a friend or two to
“I LOVE THE IDEA OF GIVING CLOTHES A SECOND LIFE, WHILE EXPRESSING MYSELF WHEN I WEAR THEM.”
shop. Playing dress-up is key here, and it’s always nice to have a set of objective eyes when choosing that outfit (or many) that best expresses the most unique version of you. 14438 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks
Their flagship store opened in Japan in 1996, quickly spreading to 700 stores in that country alone. In 2018, the company opened their first store in LA on Melrose Avenue. More recently, another outpost was opened in the Valley. At 2nd Street you can buy and sell one-ofa-kind pieces as long as they are in premium secondhand condition. With a decidedly urban vibe, the store offers a more “modern vintage” bent, focusing on street styles, Japanese and international designers, and luxury accessories. With stark architecture, bright lights, a groovy young staff, and blasting house music, it’s the kind of place where you might find yourself dancing (or dashing) as you peruse the wealth of choices on display. 14548 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks
This spacious, light-filled store was first established in Berkeley in 1985—a time of big hair and loud clothes. However, its owners were more inspired by the down-to-earth grunge trends of the day trumpeted by bands like Nirvana, U2 and the Psychedelic Furs. Though styles have fluctuated wildly over the decades, the Studio City store still feels like a step back to that gentler, grungier time. Unlike American Vintage and 2nd Street, Wasteland really feels like a place by and for the people, with options for every demographic and budget. On the well-organized racks, you’ll find everything from a good condition vintage T-shirt ($18) to a mesh jersey with the Playboy logo by the coveted brand Supreme ($150) to a pristine Yves Saint Laurent dress for $450. The expression “one person’s trash is another’s treasure” rings true here. Still, there’s nothing like the sense of satisfaction when you dig and discover a treasure that speaks to the true you. It might take a minute, but it will be worth it. 12144 Ventura Blvd., Studio City ■
Ewan Wright says, “Shopping at thrift stores, you can get something with good value and you won’t see it on anyone else.”
“A lot of the stuff you’d never wear,” Eliza King Lassman admits. But she adds, “and then you dig around a bit and find something and you go ‘wow!’”
Lucy Lassman trying on a $108 leather jacket from Wasteland. “I like to avoid fast fashion because of the environmental impact. Here you can shop without guilt.”
IT’S A CELEBRATION!
Good times await the owners of this entertainers delight.
PHOTOGRAPHED BY HOME SWEET HOME PRODUCTIONS
Turn your vision of luxurious living into reality in this impeccably remodeled smart home in the prestigious Westchester County Estates community. With 24-hour security, this guard-gated enclave is considered one of the most safe and desirable locales in Los Angeles.
Entertainment buffs can entice friends and neighbors with an invitation to your new home with its sweeping layout and flair for both indoor and outdoor comfort. After parking in the attached three-car garage, enter the six-bedroom home through a striking foyer with a magnificent curved staircase and elegant chandelier. Gorgeous flooring and crisp white tones are bathed in abundant sunlight streaming through multiple large windows with contrasting black trim.
The home’s sprawling design—spanning 9,500 square feet—includes impressive living and dining rooms overlooking the lush grounds. Crafted for the avid cook, the expansive chef’s kitchen has two waterfall islands, a walk-in pantry and high-end appliances, including a Miele refrigerator and a PITT stove.
Ultimate comfort awaits in the exquisite primary retreat showcasing double closets, one of which is two-story with an elevator. Dual vanities lie at the center of the spainspired five-piece ensuite. The home boasts eight bathrooms with an additional two in the guest house and pool cabana, plus two laundry rooms.
Take celebrations to the next level with deluxe features designed for California royalty. Enjoy post-dinner cocktails in the sitting room with an exquisite built-in bar and wine racks. Host a screening of the latest blockbuster hit in the soundproofed home theatre.
| 35 ON THE MARKET
Automatic sliding glass doors frame the backyard oasis and allow a seamless indoor-outdoor flow. The generously sized yard welcomes your tribe to enjoy the built-in barbecue under a patio with a louver cover. The athletes in your crew will relish the regulation-size college basketball court, putting green and large gym, while those with relaxation in mind will find great satisfaction in the pool, spa, and pool cabana with convenient bath and shower. When the party winds down, friends can retreat to the separate one-bedroom guest unit with steam shower, or any of the five bedroom suites in the main house.
This stellar property is listed by real estate broker Ailine Vakian, who has more than a decade of experience working with both residential and commercial buyers and sellers all over Los Angeles County. A hardworking agent who prides herself on providing value-added customer service to her clients, Ailine has consistently been in the top 3% of 1,200 Realtors within Pinnacle Estate Properties.
Inventory is rare in this neighborhood of only 104 homes. If your goal is to bring people together in the ultimate space for hosting friends and family, don’t hesitate to make this your own by reaching out to Ailine today.
20620 CHATSBORO DR., WOODLAND HILLS 818-399-0060
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
PRICE UPON REQUEST AILINE VAKIAN PINNACLE ESTATE PROPERTIES HOMESBYAILINE@ GMAIL.COM DRE #01902716
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HUNTINGTON LEARNING CENTER
Your child’s education is our priority!
Individualized K-12 tutoring in-center or online
All subjects from beginning phonics to advanced math
Motivating and engaging certified teachers
45 years of experience
Call today to schedule a comprehensive academic evaluation
17200 Ventura Blvd., Suite 214, Encino 818-907-3456 | huntingtonhelps.com/center/encino firstname.lastname@example.org | @huntingtonlearningencino
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | 37
Kids Camps Summer Programs &
CAMP INSTAGRAM TYPE AGES/GRADES BUCKLEY SUMMER CAMP @thebuckleyschool Day camp Entering grades K–8 CAMP LOS ENCINOS @camplosencinos Day camp Grades K–6 (campers), 7–9 (CITs) HARVARD–WESTLAKE SUMMER @harvardwestlakesummer Academic, art & athletic day programs Ages 9 & up SIERRA CANYON DAY CAMP @sierracanyondaycamp Day camp Ages 4–13 SUMMER AT VIEWPOINT @viewpointsummer Day & sports camps (K–8), physics & geometry high school classes Grades K–12 SUMMER KNIGHTS 2023 AT NOTRE DAME HIGH SCHOOL @notredamehighschool Advancement & enrichment Ages 5–12 SUMMER@STRATFORD @stratfordschool Academic, specialty, day camps, sports Grades PK–8 (Ages 2½ –15) THE HELP GROUP’S KIDS LIKE ME @thgkidslikeme Day camp Ages 6–17
LOCATION SPECIALTIES WEBSITE PHONE Sherman Oaks, in person Sports, crafts, theater, tech • • buckley.org/academics/ summer-programs/summer-camp 818-783-1610 Encino, in person Art, sports, math/reading enrichment, digital, cooking, yoga • • • • losencinosschool.org/campfun 818-990-1006 Studio City & Los Angeles, virtual & in person Academics, art, athletics, debate • • • hw.com/summer 818-487-6527 Chatsworth, in person 30+ activities including 2 pools, go-karts, bungee jumping and 10 waterslides • • • sierracanyondaycamp.com 818-882-8132 Calabasas, in person Specialty day camps, field trips, service learning, academics • • • • summeratviewpoint.org 818-591-6591 Sherman Oaks, in person Advancement & enrichment courses, athletic camps • • • ndhs.org/2023-summer-knights 818-933-3600 Altadena, Mission Viejo, West Los Angeles, in person & some virtual Academic, STEAM-based curriculum, Mandarin bilingual program • • • stratfordschools.com/summer Altadena 626-794-1000 Mission Viejo 949-458-1776 Los Angeles 424-293-2783 Sherman Oaks, in person Enrichment (art, science, athletic, field trips) & social for neurodiverse children • • • kidslikemela.org 818-947-5565 • ACADEMIC • SPORTS • ARTS • FIELD TRIPS
Kids Camps & Summer Programs
A summer full of possibilities!
Our camps are packed with awesome, hands-on experiences that allow your child to discover new skills and talents while having fun and making new friends!
Campers can enjoy sports and games, exciting STEM projects, arts, crafts, music, dance, drama and more. Just wait until you see what they’re capable of! Spaces are filling up, so enroll today!
Notre Dame High School is pleased to open registration for Summer Knights 2023, a unique summer program that provides opportunities for students to enrich, equip and excel in their learning journey.
Summer Knights is open for students entering grades 5-12 and provides an opportunity for students to learn new skills, enhance their knowledge, and develop their athletic and artistic capabilities in a fun, meaningful and an exciting summer program.
Registration opens on March 1, 2023
*Please note: Academic courses for 9th-12th graders are only available to current or incoming NDHS students.
For more information on Notre Dame High School’s summer programs, visit https://www.ndhs.org/2023-summer-knights.
West Los Angeles Mandarin Bilingual Program 2000 Stoner Avenue (424) 293-2783 Altadena Now Offering Middle School 2046 Allen Avenue (626) 794-1000 *Camps offered vary by location. Preschool State License: 198018949, 197493889 Copyright © 2023 Stratford Schools, Inc. 2023 Specialty Camps Sports
Camps Academic Camps Day Camps
CAMPS Preschool THROUGH Grade 8* Register at StratfordSchools.com/summer
Where the best memories are made and friendships last forever. www.summeratviewpoint.org 23620 Mulholland Highway, Calabasas, CA 91302 • 818-591-6591 Open to All Viewpoint and Non-Viewpoint Students. GRADES TK-12 • Day Camps for all ages • Service Learning Program • Performing Arts • Sports Camp • For-Credit Courses • Specialty Day Camps • Technology • Academic Programs • Counselor-in-Training Program
www.hw.com/summer THIS SUMMER DO SOMETHING AWESOME
Kids Camps & Summer Programs
email@example.com | kidslikemela.org REGISTRATION NOW OPEN Sherman Oaks, CA SUMMER DAY CAMPS 2023 For 6 to 17 year olds across the autism spectrum STARTS JUNE 19TH Learn More Check out the camp guide online OurVenturaBlvd.com
when they were young
BONNIE SCHIFFMAN HAS BEEN PHOTOGRAPHING FAMOUS PEOPLE FOR MORE THAN 40 YEARS. HERE SHE SHARES SOME OF HER MOST ICONIC IMAGES OF CELEBRITIES WAY BACK WHEN.
Written by Linda Grasso | Photographs courtesy of Bonnie Schiffman
That intimate setting—coupled with Bonnie’s innate ability to connect with her subjects—created riveting images. Take, for example, a shot of Martin Short naked, covered by a gigantic leaf. “People just trust me,” she explains. And that trust fostered long-term relationships and repeat assignments. She photographed Robin Williams, Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg many times over the years.
A quote from Billy is featured on Bonnie’s website: “She caught a side of me that’s more revealing than any other portraits I have. When I look at this shot, I understand why I actually enjoy being before Bonnie’s camera.”
Ask her about Robin, whom she started working with in his Mork & Mindy days, and she takes a deep breath. “He was just amazing. A real genius.”
Bonnie’s love of photography blossomed out of a class she took at Van Nuys High School (she grew up in Sherman Oaks). After graduating, she attended CSUN but dropped out after two years. Her brother, the manager Todd Schiffman, was an agent at the time, and his clients included Janice Joplin and The Doors. That offered her a sneak peek into the music world—and she was intrigued.
“I started shooting musicians. I’d go to the Troubadour and sit in the front row and just take pictures of, say, Joni Mitchell or whoever was there that night,” she says. Without an appointment, in 1974 she took her portfolio to A&M Records, “the coolest place on the planet,” talked her way inside, and ultimately
got offered a job.
Relaxing on a sofa at her Sherman Oaks home, she is surrounded by some of her most iconic portraits, which have graced publications from Rolling Stone, where she started working in the mid-1970s, to People. In addition to shooting for magazines, Bonnie would regularly shoot for movie studios, snapping shots used for promotional posters.
“I started my career by shooting musicians, but then shifted my focus to comedians,” she says. “But there are no boundaries when it comes to subjects.” As someone who has a keen appreciation of art, Bonnie has also shot many artists, including Edward Ruscha and Andy Warhol.
Stories come with every photo. She points to the closeup of Muhammad Ali (one of her favorites) that was ultimately used for a Tag Heuer ad campaign. “We went to his house. It was fairly early on in his illness (Parkinson’s disease). He was kind of quiet and at times nodded off. But then when I started shooting, he came alive as Muhammad Ali, raising his fists. It was so powerful.”
Bonnie’s portfolio includes numerous shots of celebrities before they were household names. Jerry
“It all started with lunch,” Bonnie Schiffman explains when asked how she was able to get her subjects to relax, have fun and trust her creative judgment. “Back in those days, it was just me and the person I was shooting. No publicists came. I’d invite the person over to my home, which was near what is now The Grove, and serve lunch. Then we’d get to work.”
Bonnie with John Belushi in 1981
Seinfeld sitting in a big red chair before his sitcom had hit the airwaves. Steve Martin lying on his bed in his Hollywood apartment eating Froot Loops cereal. A tight shot of Eddie Murphy when he was just a newbie on Saturday Night Live. A baby-faced Bruce Willis in a convertible, just as Moonlighting was taking off.
These days, with her photos displayed at more than 50 museums around the world, Bonnie is busy organizing and archiving her body of work from the past 40 years.
“I’m concentrating on getting more of my work out into the world via social media, galleries, hotels, businesses, etc. I want lots of people to be able to enjoy my iconic images of famous people,” she says.
For our FACES OF THE FUTURE issue, Bonnie shares some of her most riveting portraits.
For more on Bonnie and her work, go to bonnieschiffman.com. ■
The Clash, 1982
“I STARTED MY CAREER BY SHOOTING MUSICIANS, BUT THEN SHIFTED MY FOCUS TO COMEDIANS. BUT THERE ARE NO BOUNDARIES WHEN IT COMES TO SUBJECTS.”
Jerry Seinfeld with Bonnie’s daughter Grace in 1993. Above: Whoopi Goldberg in 1985; Muhammad Ali in 1982.
To Her Own Drummer
13-YEAR-OLD MIRABELLE KING DOESN’T EXACTLY FIT IN WHEN IT COMES TO THE SOCIAL SCENE AT SCHOOL, BUT SHE IS RUNNING WITH IT—AND SUCCEEDING WILDLY.
Written by Linda Grasso | Photographed by Shane O’Donnell
Ask Berkeley Hall eighth grader Mirabelle King to describe herself, and she eschews all the typical adjectives used by high-achieving kids.
“I’m a nerd. No one in my class has been like me for a very long time. I don’t feel the need to keep with things like pop culture and just all the senseless frivolity. While my classmates are listening to the terrible sounds of some rapper, I’m listening to David Bowie’s ‘Under Pressure.’ I’ve never felt the need to fit in. I see myself as a structured nonconformist.”
What she does conform to is good grades. A straight-A student, Mirabelle was selected to receive the school’s Ruth Loeb Merit Scholarship this past year.
“If you strive to be the best, then people expect the best from you. Sure, you put some pressure on yourself, but I think you get more opportunity,” she notes.
She’s always been a doer. Back in third grade, she voiced disappointment that there was no school newspaper at Berkeley Hall. “My dad said, ‘Why don’t you start one?’ So I did.” She also vied for changes to the school uniform policy, which she believed unfairly targeted female students.
Her strong sense of initiative goes back even further. When she was 5 years old she came up with the idea of using upcycled materials to create stuffed animals for
sale and donating a portion of the proceeds to charities. She has worked on the concept through the ensuing years, researching and developing stuffed-animal prototypes, and plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign later this year.
“We will take upcycled fabrics and recycled plastic and turn them into stuffed animals. We want to keep plastics out of stream. I also really want to create a place where we can sell the stuffed animals. They are not just for people who shop at the back of vegan candle shops.”
Oh, and then there’s the YA book she is working on.
“It is an allegory for racism. The story is about the first human—a girl—in an all-monster school. Racism is viewed as a one-sided experience. In this story, both sides do terrible things. It is that experience— what happens when different people coexist.”
Her dad, Matthew Yang King, is an actor (Riverdale), and her mom, Catherine, is an artist—and she describes her two younger siblings as artistic and imaginative. Although she comes from a family of creatives, Mirabelle, always one to do her own thing, has other aspirations.
“I’d like to go into marine biology when I grow up. And just like when I’m addressing topics like racism and sexism, with environmentalism, I want people to question me.” ■
“IF YOU STRIVE TO BE THE BEST, THEN PEOPLE EXPECT THE BEST FROM YOU.”
The Violin Is His Voice
VIOLINIST AND CONCERTMASTER MATTHEW CHANG MAY BE SOFT-SPOKEN IN PERSON, BUT WHEN THE TEEN STANDS IN FRONT OF AN ORCHESTRA, HIS TALENT ROARS.
Written by Anne M. Russell | Photographed by Stephanie Girard
Playing an instrument with a full orchestra for a packed house takes nerve—not to mention having the added pressure of being concertmaster. But it is when Matthew Chang assumes those roles that he truly feels alive. “When I play the violin and lead the string section, I feel transported by the soaring sound of the orchestra, a feeling of exhilaration as I immerse myself fully in music,” he says.
When asked if he considers himself a prodigy, Matthew Chang shyly demurs, pointing out that there
are hundreds of YouTube videos featuring 3- and 4-year-old virtuosos.
That may be true, but one can’t help but be impressed by the Harvard-Westlake School senior’s astonishing talent on the violin. “He’s extraordinary,” says Mark Hilt, music theory teacher and director of the upper school symphony.
Matthew serves as concertmaster and lead violinist for the 52-student orchestra, and Mark says there wasn’t even a question of whom the position would go
Matthew at age 11 playing in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall as a first-place competition winner. He is accompanied by his mom, Margaret Lee.
“I FEEL TRANSPORTED BY THE SOARING SOUND OF THE ORCHESTRA, A FEELING OF EXHILARATION.”
to: “It’s given to the person with the greatest technical prowess, and that’s Matthew without a question.”
Matthew, who also performs regularly with the Palos Verdes Symphony—he is concertmaster there, too—began his musical journey playing the piano at age 4. He moved on to the violin at 6, partly due to the influence of his older sister, Megan, also a skilled violinist. He showed talent early; as a student at Curtis School he was invited to join its orchestra in 1st grade, two years earlier than normally allowed.
Harvard-Westlake 7th grade dean and middle school symphony conductor Emily Reola first met Matthew when he was a grade schooler attending his sister’s concerts with his parents. “He was always quiet, shy, and sweet,” she says, but he took a huge leap forward in 9th grade when he was tapped to perform Paganini’s intensely emotional and technically challenging Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major with the school orchestra. “It was a very special moment,” Emily recalls. “To see him come alive and to hear what’s inside of him. There’s no hiding in that concerto.”
Matthew says he practices the violin about an hour a day and with that, college applications, and his focus on
math and science academics, other hobbies and sports have largely fallen by the wayside. In addition to his regular roles with the two local orchestras, he performs four times a year with the American Youth Symphony. As winner of dozens of competitions, he has soloed at Carnegie Hall and already this year, he won in the Classical Music/Violin category at the 2023 YoungArts national competition.
Mark says that he believes that “for Matthew, music is a language that allows him more freedom of expression than spoken language.” Matthew is indeed focused on the psychological aspect of music. “At the end of day,” Matthew says, “it’s about being able to bring the emotion and joy out of the music.”
Although the teen hasn’t completely ruled out following in his parents’ footsteps in medicine—his father is cardiologist Donald S. Chang and his mother is radiologist Margaret Lee—the 18-year-0ld is more interested at this point in exploring the complex effect of music on the mind—how it influences mood, emotion, and memory. He hopes to put his science and math skills to work in cognitive science studies of musicbased interventions. ■
In 2020, as featured soloist for Harvard-Westlake Middle School Symphony, with Emily Reola conducting the orchestra.
LEAVE IT TO LORENA!
Trusted Valley Realtor® mom helps local families find their dream home.
Some people put you at ease the moment you meet them. You feel as if they have been your neighbor for years, and you trust them to safeguard even your most precious possession— like your home. Lorena Costino was born with this gift, which is why people trust her with what may be the single largest transaction of their lives: buying or selling their homes. And sometimes both simultaneously.
When you meet Lorena, her radiant smile is the first thing you notice. That smile landed her many television commercials when she worked as an actor prior to pursuing her passion in real estate. Now Lorena has established herself as the “Trusted Valley Realtor Mom.” Clients, colleagues and friends describe her as a “walking Google search” for all things related to the Valley.
“I don’t know anyone who knows the
Valley better than Lorena,” shares client Julie Kang. “When she helped me purchase my dream home, I would mention a location and she would rattle off every detail of each street! I was blown away by Lorena’s depth and breadth of knowledge of the Valley.”
Finding the right area to live in the Valley—especially with school-age children— can be overwhelming. Lorena helps clients identify the school that best meets their kids’
needs and find their dream property in that area. There is no substitute for talking to a real mom who has conducted exhaustive research on schools for her own children.
Lorena loves seeing people’s stress evaporate as all the pieces of the real estate process come together. “I recently helped a couple sell and buy a house while helping them decide on the right school for their son,” she says. “Their initial stress level was a 10 out of 10, but I made sure it declined with every step. They were thrilled with the sale of the old house, the purchase of their new, and their chosen school.”
Client Calleen Cordero says, “Lorena is not only one of the best real estate agents I have ever worked with, she is also a really awesome person. Immediately I felt she had my best Interest at heart. I never felt any pressure, and she made the whole process easy and fast.”
Selling and buying a home at the same time is a juggling act that requires flawless execution. Lorena has successfully helped many clients with the dual transaction and made it look easy, while working relentlessly in the background. She credits her own hard-working mom as a big influence for her unparalleled work ethic and commitment to deliver on her promise.
“My mom never rested, and now my husband and kids tell me that I never rest,” explains Lorena, who lives with her husband, two teenagers and an adorable miniature dachshund. “I take this as a compliment!”
Lorena enjoys volunteering at her children’s school and helping her community provide opportunities for less-privileged children. You can also find her cheering at her kids’ soccer games. “One of these days, I’m going to relax for an entire day and do nothing … OK, maybe half a day,” she laughs.
LORENA COSTINO HOMES | COMPASS
150 S. RODEO DR. #100, BEVERLY HILLS 323-359-2950 | DRE #01940336
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION AGENT SPOTLIGHT
PHOTOGRAPHED BY MONICA OROZCO
Lorena and family
CELEBRATING THE BEST OF CALIFORNIA
They’re warm, chewy and best with a cold glass of milk.
More on page 64.
All Hands On Deck
JOAN MCNAMARA WEARS MANY HATS: RESTAURATEUR, CHEF, BUSINESSWOMAN AND GRANDMOTHER. HERE THE OWNER OF JOAN’S ON THIRD SHARES SOME TRIED-AND-TRUE SUGGESTIONS FOR MAKING THE KITCHEN EXPERIENCE ENJOYABLE FOR CHILDREN—AND MANAGEABLE FOR ADULTS.
Written by Chelsee Lowe | Photographed by Cara Harman
Watching Joan McNamara preside over her Studio City restaurant is a sight to see. Customers greet and hug her as she moves in the space, stopping here and there to wipe crumbs from a glass display counter, straighten a table or make a cappuccino. Her loyal fans and strong community relationships are no wonder—the restaurateur has been at it since 1995, when she opened Joan’s on Third on a then-sleepy stretch of West Third Street. In 2014, she opened her second outpost on Ventura Place, making signature dishes that she describes as “home cooking stepped up a notch.”
As her business has grown, so has her family. If Joan isn’t working in one of her restaurants or creating new recipes for the menu, she is likely to be cooking with one of her four grandchildren. Here we get the impresario’s suggestions on how to make the experience with kids light and fun from start to finish.
“I grew up cooking,” Joan recalls. “I was in a Czech family, and you didn’t stay away from the kitchen, no matter your age. Cooking was as natural as breathing.”
Even a very young child can work with dough, Joan says. Let them mix, knead and play with pizza or pie dough for a sensory experience, even if you don’t end up cooking with it. Older toddlers can rinse produce and stir alongside you, and a supervised 5-year-old could even be stationed at the stove. Then as their skills improve, reverse roles, and play assistant to them.
Once the kids know they are welcome in the kitchen, they’re more likely to share their personal food interests. When they request a specific recipe, gather the ingredients and let them go at it. If they aren’t asking you if they can cook, don’t force it; little good can come from that.
“My granddaughter Molly, at 13, is nearly professional level in the kitchen. My 16-year-old grandson, Henry, is skilled too, but I think he’d rather eat the food than make it,” Joan shares with a laugh. “And that’s fine. If they are interested, great, because if they enjoy doing it, it’s not a chore.”
OFFER FULL RANGE
Knowing you trust them to do every step in the process builds a child’s confidence in any arena. With kid-safe knives, which are readily available, there is almost nothing a child can’t do in the kitchen. Let them try all the tools you’ve got—mashers, mixers, spiralizers, peelers—with you (quietly) supervising. Even a recipe that appears challenging won’t feel insurmountable to a child as long as you gently support them along the way.
EMBRACE THE PROCESS
Cooking is often an imperfect experience, so why put any pressure on kids? “There’s no reason to think things have to turn out perfectly,” Joan says. “At the restaurant, we test and test a recipe, but the kids don’t see that process. Reassure them that nothing has to be 100%.”
60 | THE SAUCE
Joan with grandchildren Molly, Andrew and Henry
Grandson 2-year-old William gets in on the action.
ACCEPT THE MESS
This might be the hardest task, Joan admits, especially for parents who run a tight ship in the kitchen, with everything in its place and with clean countertops. “Working with kids means chaos and clutter. So expect it, and team up with the kids to tackle whatever mess gets made.” As Joan sees it, it is all part of the process, and hopefully, part of the fun. ■
JOAN’S ON THIRD CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
4 ounces high-quality dark chocolate (90% cacao)
8 ounces high-quality dark chocolate (70% cacao)*
2 sticks unsalted butter, 8 ounces total
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup all-purpose flour
*To simplify: Instead of using the two chocolates listed, use 12 oz of semisweet chips in this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Generously grease a 13-by-9-inch baking pan and line the base with parchment paper, greasing the paper as well.
Break the chocolate into pieces. Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter. Pour the melted mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla extract and salt and beat well. Gently fold in the flour, just until no lumps remain. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake for 40 minutes or until the sides begin to pull away from the tin. Allow to cool in the tin before cutting.
An Uncom mo n Perspective Premium f ine -ar t p hotography f rom the worl d’s b e st creators Explore the collec tion at driftward.com
Chewy In The Middle
BAKING MAVEN COURTNEY COWAN BRINGS HER CHEWY CREATIONS TO ENCINO WITH THE FIRST VALLEY OUTPOST OF MILK JAR COOKIES.
Written by Chelsee Lowe | Photographs courtesy Milk Jar Cookies
When Courtney Cowan opened Milk Jar Cookies on Wilshire Boulevard in 2013, I was among the first through the doors. I had heard word of her confections, and once I tried her chocolate chip and her cinnamon sugar cookies in the Miracle Mile shop, I was hooked.
So I was excited one day last fall when I walked past a wide storefront in Encino emblazoned with “Milk Jar Cookies” on its windows. As good (cookie) fortune would have it, Courtney is opening a second outpost at
Encino Commons in March.
“I wanted a great neighborhood with lots of foot traffic and a sense of community,” Courtney says. “But I also needed a large storefront and space for our commissary kitchen. This location is perfect. It checks all the boxes.”
Crisp on the outside and doughy in the center, Courtney’s cookies are made from scratch, with dough rolled by hand, and baked in small batches. They are also pretty hefty, weighing in at nearly a quarter-pound each. Each day the shop sells 17 flavors, including gluten-free and vegan options and a rotating seasonal flavor that changes at the start of the month. For example, there’s lemon blueberry in July and peppermint bark in December. Her original chocolate chip cookie is the top seller year-round, Courtney says, but banana split comes in second. That version is made with banana dough, chocolate, walnuts and fresh strawberries.
“In developing these cookies, I was aiming for my perfect cookie,” Courtney recalls. “And they are. They are baked to perfection, always fresh, and every step we take helps us achieve that texture we’re known for.”
The new shop features bar-top tables and a built-in banquette. Guests can also sit on a spacious outdoor patio, enjoying their cookies plus milk by the glass from Rosa Brothers’ Dairy, delivered fresh from California’s Central Valley twice a week. The new Milk Jar location will also offer a full menu of espresso drinks, along with a few flavors of ice cream. Cookie cakes by the slice are for sale too, as are gift boxes with each cookie individually wrapped and labeled.
“You can feel the care with which each and every cookie is made, and that’s what has resonated with people all these years,” Courtney says. “I want to be a bright spot in people’s day and lives. That’s our sole focus.” ■
HARVARD-WESTLAKE SENIOR AND BALLPLAYER WILL GASPARINO CAN RUN, THROW AND HIT REMARKABLY WELL. IT IS AN UNUSUAL COMBINATION OF SKILLS—PARTICULARLY FOR SOMEONE WHO’S 6’6”—THAT HAVE MADE HIM ONE TO WATCH IN THE UPCOMING MLB DRAFT.
Written by Steven Stiefel | Photographed by Eric Dearborn
Private school Harvard-Westlake is known for its challenging curriculum—and for growing professional baseball players. That was hammered home during the 2021 MLB season when three graduates started as pitchers for different teams—and one, Max Fried of the Atlanta Braves, emerged with a World Series win.
That point isn’t lost on senior and varsity center fielder Will Gasparino, who also has big aspirations— and has generated some pretty lofty expectations.
At a weeklong high school showcase in Tampa last summer, the MLB draft website Prospects Live reported: “If you’re looking for a tool shed to dream on in the 2023 class, then look no further than Will Gasparino…. Gasparino is a plus runner with one of the best first steps in the class (1.49 10 yd. split) that covers a ton of ground in center field and brings an above-average arm to only strengthen the long-term staying power…. Found barrels all week long, and produced the highest exit velocity of the week.”
UP IN THE AIR
Despite his skill level and excellent track record, Will’s future is completely up in the air. It’s not because he’s indecisive. It’s because the upper echelon of baseball works in complicated ways.
“Pro baseball teams will draft players after this year’s baseball season. My decision will depend on the outcome of the draft in June and how much pro teams value me,” Will says.
Other factors that play into Will’s decision: Pro baseball players start in the minor league after they’re drafted, typically spending about four years in the
minors before they’re called up to the majors.
Also, college athletes are now eligible to earn a salary while they attend college—due to a rule change last year, after decades of debate. “Getting a college education is very important to me, and it’s even more attractive if I can earn a salary playing baseball at the same time.”
Amid all the uncertainty, Will remains optimistic and grounded. “I’m excited about the future, whatever options are available to me,” he says. “I hope I have the privilege to play professional baseball, but I’ll make that decision based on what my family and I think is best when the time comes.”
In the meantime, he has verbally committed to University of Texas, which he chose over UCLA. “Both have great programs,” says the Santa Monica native. “But UT gets much larger crowds for their games, and it’s much more fun to play in front of a lot of baseball fans.”
IN HIS GENES
Will’s parents have been very involved in his academic and sports background. His mother, Jenna, is an English teacher at Harvard-Westlake, and his father, Billy, is vice president of amateur scouting for the Dodgers. Billy is also a former infielder who was drafted by the Colorado Rockies. He spent a year in the minor leagues before leaving the sport as a player.
Will’s baseball career began when he was 3 years old. “My parents had to stretch the truth about my age because you had to be 4 to play in Santa Monica Pony League. But I was always bigger than other kids my age, so no one ever questioned it.”
“I HOPE I HAVE THE PRIVILEGE TO PLAY PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL, BUT I’LL MAKE THAT DECISION BASED ON WHAT MY FAMILY AND I THINK IS BEST WHEN THE TIME COMES.”
Will also had early interest in soccer, but by spending time at Dodger Stadium and traveling to Arizona for spring training with his father, he became more and more interested in baseball.
Asked about his son’s ability, Billy demurs. “I’ve chosen to try to maintain my persona as a dad rather than a scout in this case,” Billy says. “But I do think Will is a unique player with tons of upside. You don’t see a lot of guys like him out there.”
When pressed, Will says that he agrees with the scouting reports, the consensus of which is that he can run, throw, and hit remarkably well for his size.
As far as achievements go, Will says the pinnacle of his athletic career so far has been winning the 2021 California Interscholastic Federation championship in perhaps the most competitive state for baseball. He also played in the Perfect Game All-American Classic, an
invitation-only game for top college and pro baseball prospects held last August.
“My parents have instilled in me the importance of having a plan B,” Will says. “I’m taking sports and science classes at Harvard-Westlake that include focuses on physiology, sports psychology, and nutrition.” These are all areas of possible academic concentration should Will attend UT.
Asked what advice he has for other young athletes, Will says, “Keep your head down and work hard. Trust the process. Know that some kids bloom early and some bloom late.”
And keep a sense of humor. “I like to joke that after I’ve played major league baseball for 20 years I’m going to play in the NFL.” ■
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in perfect harmony
A DRAMATIC DOWNSIZE TO A HOME THAT MIXES BUSINESS AND PLEASURE, CREATING A SEAMLESS LIFESTYLE FOR A SHERMAN OAKS COUPLE.
Written by Chelsee Lowe | Photographed by Shane O’Donnell
Sit down with prolific music producer Rob Cavallo, and chances are he has a guitar on his lap and he’s strumming along as you converse. Through three decades in the music industry, the three-time Grammy winner has helped artists like Green Day, Dave Matthews Band, Fleetwood Mac and Phil Collins create Billboard-topping albums and songs. While producing is his mainstay, Rob has been everything from chairman of Warner Records to piano player on the Green Day tune “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” He says regardless of the job at hand, creating music never gets old.
“I’m sure I’ve made more than my fair share of hit records, but I still want to do it. There’s not a better thrill in the world than driving down the road when one of your records comes on,” he says.
For years, Rob, his wife, Kim, and their two sons lived in a 14,000-square-foot home in Hidden Hills. But once the kids started attending Milken Community School (up off Mulholland Drive), they determined to move closer.
In 2015, the couple spotted a realtor hammering a for-sale sign into the front lawn of a brand-new, 5,400-square-foot, two-story Cape Cod on a quiet street just south of the Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. From the moment they saw it, they were sold.
“Other than converting the movie theater into a recording studio, we really didn’t need to do much. The house was just perfect when we bought it,” Kim shares. They quickly went about making the 5-bedroom,
A series of Robert Motherwell abstract paintings is the focal point of the dining room.
Rob, who is also an accomplished musician, in his home recording studio with one of his many guitars.
5½-bath spec home their own, incorporating their favorite furnishings from the Hidden Hills home, including a formidable collection of art (much of it curated by Martin Lawrence of Beverly Hills) as well as Rob’s music awards. There’s also a Picasso in the living room, a collection of rock ’n’ roll photography from the Michael Ochs Archives and playful paintings by French artist Philippe Bertho.
A long-time yoga practitioner, Kim is dedicated to mental health awareness. Her company, lilspace, took over Unplug Collaborative in 2020 and made it a global initiative that helps schools, churches and other groups raise money through “unplug-a-thons.” Participants benefit too, as they reflect on their tech-life balance and how they feel when they step away from devices for a period of time.
Kim and Rob, who have been married for 30 years,
recently joined professional forces as well. Last year, they formed Done Deal Management, a company aimed at discovering and fostering young artists. Kim acts as chief operating officer.
“Artists have more power now, but it’s also more treacherous than ever in this business, and harder to get noticed,” Rob explains. “It’s easy for young people to get taken advantage of. I’d come in contact with some of these kids and think, ‘I have to do something.’”
The Cavallos use their home as both a creative and business space. Assistants work from a sunny breakfast nook. The formal dining room serves as a presentation space, with a pop-up projection screen to one side and Robert Motherwell abstract paintings hanging in the background. The kitchen doubles as a boardroom, where lucky guests might be served linguini and clams or jambalaya—Rob is an accomplished chef.
And the Cavallos are putting deeper roots into the Valley. The couple is building a musical compound in Woodland Hills, with collaborative spaces and recording studios for their artists. Wellness practices will be integrated, too. Kim is already organizing events with Done Deal artists, including an unplugged beach cleanup and a meditation and breath work class.
“We are shepherding, or mentoring, these artists,” says Kim. “We are also giving people access to Rob’s experience. To see him talk to these young people is a magical situation. I have a front-row seat now.”
Rob admits he wasn’t sure he wanted to move to a much smaller home, not to mention one at the hub of the Valley.
“But honestly, now I love it. It is amazing how quickly and easily you can adapt to living differently. For us, this house just works,” he says. ■
Nicole and Shahrokh Basseri have been operating Steamer Cleaners in Sherman Oaks for more than 30 years. They are a family-owned business (one of the couple’s two daughters works there too) and community hub. With the new season approaching, we asked Nicole for suggestions on transitioning our closets to spring.
Before putting away your clothes, take each item out of your closet and into a space with bright light, preferably outside in daylight. Look at the items closely. Turn them inside out and examine for perspiration and food stains. A garment with anything that even looks like it has a stain should be cleaned.
When you get your clean garment back from the dry cleaners, remove the plastic bag. The bag is only meant for protecting garments while at the dry cleaners. Textiles need to breathe.
Springify Your Closet
WITH SPRING ARRIVING ON THE 20TH OF THIS MONTH, IT’S TIME TO START PUTTING AWAY WINTER DUDS. HERE’S ADVICE FROM TWO EXPERTS ON HOW TO DO IT RIGHT.
Have a skylight or window in your closet? Keep your garments away from the light to avoid fading color.
For storing cashmere, it is best to avoid ziplock bags. From a preservation standpoint, cashmere does better with access to fresh air. Instead, store inside cashmere bags or zippered containers made from cotton or muslin.
Don’t store cashmere and wool with scented items like moth balls, cedar chips or lavender oil-dipped cotton balls. None of these scents are deterrents to all types of moths and insects.
If you are getting holes in your garments, don’t throw away the item thinking that will solve the problem. Moths aren’t in clothes; they are in houses. My suggestion is to have a good exterminator come to your residence to get rid of your moth infestation.
Valley resident Janelle Cohen is a professional home organizer, interior decorator, and author of The Folding Book, in which she shares organization techniques including photos on how to fold over 100 items—ranging from clothing to fitted sheets. Here Janelle shares some tips on getting your closet organized for spring.
Things you should always hang: blouses, dresses, blazers, dress pants, bulky jackets, coats. Things that can be folded or hung: T-shirts, buttondowns, polo shirts, sweatshirts, casual pants, denim, skirts (depending on the fabric), nightgowns.
2Always fold on a flat surface and smooth out any wrinkles with the palm of your hand. The smoother the clothes are, the less bulky the folds will be—a key to keeping your rows clean and consistent. Close buttons, snaps and zippers. 3
Decide what to keep and what isn’t serving you anymore while you are putting away items for a new season. Say goodbye to outgrown children’s clothing, mismatched socks and worn-out undergarments. Donate items that you aren’t wearing, that don’t fit you well, and those that don’t make you feel good. 4
Give sentimental items a critical eye. If you decide to keep a little-used garment, put it in less prime real estate. Keep your closet uncluttered and filled with items you reach for consistently. 5
For storing folded kids’ sweaters and sweatshirts on a shelf, fold with the neckline facing up and place the garment face up with the neckline visible. That way the style and size is easily identifiable. 6
When storing dress pants on a hanger, make sure the bottoms of the pants are even with the waistband. This will keep the pants balanced on the hanger and help them hang level.
Janelle Cohen PHOTOGRAPHED BY MARY CLAIRE ROMAN
When You Bid Upon a Star
DISNEY MEMORABILIA COLLECTORS HAVE LONG HAD VAN EATON GALLERIES & AUCTIONS ON THEIR RADAR. NOW, WITH A NEW VALLEY LOCATION, THERE’S EVEN MORE REASON TO VISIT.
Written by Hadley Hall Meares
If you’re in the market for a Goofy head, Mary Poppins dolls, or various other collectibles of childhood enchantment, you’re in luck. After more than 30 years in Sherman Oaks, Van Eaton Galleries has moved to a larger space in Studio City that includes an alluring sidewalk display window. The new 12,000 square-foot venue is a wonderland of everything Disneyana—a term coined to describe artwork, souvenirs, animation cels, toys and other ephemera produced or licensed by the Walt Disney Company.
The studio art on sale at the spacious new Van Eaton extends beyond Disneyana. Works from Warner Bros., Hanna-Barbera, Fox, Don Bluth, Marvel, Pixar and Sony artists are all showcased in the gallery. Collectors can find everything from a $20 porcelain Minnie Mouse to a $13,000 original Dr. Seuss drawing of Horton from the children’s book Horton Hears a Who. Other noteworthy artifacts: film cells, whimsical Mary Poppins dolls from the 1960s, and a collection of Peanuts artwork and production stills.
The new space also features a special wing for Van Eaton’s famous auctions, where rare, one-of-a-kind items go to the highest bidder. In December 2022, a character head of Goofy worn at the Magic Kingdom was auctioned at the gallery for $19,000—more than
triple the pre-auction estimate.
“The schedule of auctions this year at our new location presents an amazing slate of items that trace the history of Disney and popular culture from all over the world,” says co-owner Mike Van Eaton, who opened the Gallery in 1994.
Mike is particularly excited about two upcoming auctions. The collection of attorney Paul Morantz will go up for auction April 29–30. The sale will include original illustration art, original animation art, Disneyana, rare Disney toys, tin toys, Davy Crockett memorabilia and a rather unusual auction item: a 1957 Porsche Speedster.
Also: The massive Joel Magee Disney Parks Collection will be offered July 17–19. Magee is a Disney expert and appraiser and a regular on Pawn Stars on the History Channel. He has amassed what Van Eaton affirms is the largest collection of its kind ever up for sale.
For all auctions, the public is invited to view the collections online in advance. The auctions are then held live at the gallery. Online, phone and absentee bidding are also available.
To the delight of all “Disney adults,” additional auctions will be announced throughout the year.
For more, go to vegalleries.com ■
Family Style On The Mayan Riviera
MEXICO’S ROSEWOOD MAYAKOBA IS THE RARE FIVE-STAR RESORT THAT HITS THE MARK FOR BOTH PARENTS AND KIDS.
Written by Linda Grasso
There’s a difference between a vacation and a trip, my mom always says. A vacation is when you go somewhere with adults. A trip is when you travel somewhere with your kids. As a parent, you still have to do all the work you’d do at home, just at a different place.
The key, I’ve learned as a mom, is to stay at resorts where kids and parents can spend quality time together—with a myriad of mutually entertaining activities—but also enjoy time apart. (Mommy likes to read her book on the beach.) The Rosewood Mayakoba, a 45-minute drive from Cancun International Airport, fits that bill.
Situated along Mexico’s Riviera Maya between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, the Rosewood resort is part of the 620-acre Mayakoba gated community. Mayakoba is also home to three other luxury resorts, all of which share an electric golf cart transportation system and a Greg Norman-designed golf course. The course, which is irrigated by recycled water, hosted Mexico’s firstever PGA Tour event last November.
The 70-acre Rosewood Mayakoba lives up to its reputation as a subtropical garden of Eden. It is surrounded by natural mangroves and is home to hundreds of indigenous flora and fauna species. The lagoon may be manmade, but with careful attention to detail and integration of fish and wildlife, it looks organic. The icing on the cake: a powdery, pristine white sand beach with stunning views of the aquamarine Caribbean Sea.
It’s that setting, plus all the activities available, that make it an ideal place to bring kids. We loved the
complimentary eco boat tour, where we were accompanied by a biologist and heard about the flora and fauna. We also enjoyed renting paddle bikes for a tour of the lagoon (also guided), seeing spider monkeys, long-tailed lemurs, gray herons, iguanas and more. The lagoon would seem ideal for a dip or a swim, but the presence of crocodiles means it’s off-limits to humans.
Another cool activity: a guided tour of the bat-filled cenote on Mayakoba. Cenotes are caves with crystal-clear pools of water at the bottom. We were spellbound watching the nocturnal bats hanging like sculptures from the top of the cave. Visitors can also check out Kantun Chi, an eco park where you can swim in the cenotes.
Rosewood Mayakoba’s complimentary bikes are another kid-pleasing element. Because the community is gated, you can give teenagers a bike and let them loose. For younger children, an on-site kids club has a daylong roster of activities ranging from yoga to Mayan storytelling.
As for accommodations, each villa comes with a butler, available 24/7 to tend to your every need. You can stay beside the lagoon with a patio and pier, or by the sea. We opted for a deluxe lagoon villa. In addition to having an indoor shower with floor-to-ceiling crystal walls, the bathroom opened to a small private garden with an outdoor shower.
The staff and service at Rosewood make you feel like nothing is out of the question. Oh gee, we loved those spicy margaritas you served when we arrived. Could we get the ingredients sent to our suite so we can make
them ourselves? Sure. Even when my husband asked if we could find the not exactly high-rated Washington Commanders vs. Atlanta Falcons football game (we are both are from D.C.), our butler made it happen.
Of all the Mayakoba resorts, the Rosewood offers the best beach experience. My three beach pet peeves are when lounge chairs are spaced too tight; when you are forced to listen to bad music; and when the waiter simply won’t leave you alone. The waiters at Rosewood seemed to know instinctively when I needed something; the rest of the time they left me alone to relax.
The resort’s expansive, serene Sense Spa is situated on a small island surrounded by lush vegetation. It offers a wide array of therapeutic treatments that incorporate Mayan culture. As an avid gardener, I chose the Kuxtal Sensory Garden experience to learn about the indigenous plants and their healing properties. A tour of the spa garden with a medicinal plant expert, followed by a massage, was a heavenly way to spend an afternoon.
The resort has four distinct pool areas and numerous dining options on site, plus a food truck that serves top-notch tacos. They also regularly host festive themed evenings with food and drink stations and a live band. These events are casual and family-friendly; we saw kids dancing as well as parents.
As for off-campus excursions, the touristy town of Playa del Carmen, which has a number of good restaurants, is about a 10-minute drive away. A more interesting option is a day trip to see Mayan ruins. Playa Del Carmen lies between the great Mayan sites of Chichen Itza, Tulum, Coba and Ek Balam. Chichen Itza, a twoand-a-half-hour drive, is the most famous and the most crowded of the sites. Tulum and Coba are great options for those who would rather not spend a whole day driving. At Ek Balam you can climb to the top of the highest ruins; the other sites don’t allow climbing.
Together time soaking up Mayan culture with the kids, then returning back to the resort for alone time so Mommy can continue reading her book. It’s about as close to a vacation that a parent can get. ■
The Rosewood Mayakoba open-air lobby is dramatically situated on a lagoon that snakes around the entire resort. Below left to right: The writer marvels at the beauty of a lantern-lit tree; Mexican eggs Benedict with chipotle Hollandaise sauce; the medicinal garden at the resort’s Sense spa.
ALL ABOUT KIDS
There is no better place to raise children than the Valley—and not just because we can get more house, yard and green space here. It is because the Valley is home to Los Angeles’ best schools. Whether you are interested in a traditional or progressive program for your child, no region of the city has more top-notch educational resources.
In this All About Kids profiles section we introduce you to some of those schools, sharing about their educational philosophies, staff and facilities. Like parents, these schools want our kids to be educated and prepared for adulthood.
But parents and schools today also realize that there are some other objectives. We also want our children to be educated in environments that foster well-adjusted, wellrounded and happy human beings—a holistic approach, you might say, to cultivating the next generation.
88 STRATFORD SCHOOL
90 VIEWPOINT SCHOOL
92 THE BUCKLEY SCHOOL
93 THE HELP GROUP’S SCHOOLS
94 THE COUNTRY SCHOOL
95 SIERRA CANYON SCHOOL
96 OAKS CHRISTIAN SCHOOL
97 THE WESLEY SCHOOL
EDITED BY LAURA L. WATTS
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
Stratford School is an independent private school founded on the belief that education is a significant influence in the life of a child. Educator Sherry Adams opened the first Stratford campus in Danville, California, in 1999. Since then the school has opened three Southern California campuses, serving children in early preschool through middle school and offering a Mandarin Bilingual Preschool and an online school.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL MOTTO.
We know that each child has a unique set of skills, passions and dreams. We encourage students to pursue their curiosities, and we are committed to supporting them in achieving those dreams. Our motto, Summa Spes, Summa Res (Highest Hopes, Highest Things) embraces Stratford’s spirit of providing students with an uplifting education. Our goal is to prepare and mentor students for admission to competitive high schools and colleges, and our students achieve outstanding results.
WHAT ARE SOME EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES YOU OFFER?
From drama to chess, sports, speech and debate, Stratford offers a variety of afterschool clubs. Extended day is available until 6 p.m., which includes homework time and ample outdoor play and activities.
WHAT ARE A FEW HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR ACADEMIC PROGRAM?
We believe high expectations lead to extraordinary results. Beginning in preschool, we apply our innovative and intentionally balanced curriculum in order to inspire and nurture the hearts and minds of every student. We infuse our curriculum with sequential instruction in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) to help students develop the diverse set of problemsolving skills and talents they will need in this changing world. Our passionate teachers cultivate a secure and nurturing classroom environment where children feel safe and eager to try new things and learn through
hands-on discovery. This strong foundational approach challenges students, accelerates achievement and prepares students to become tomorrow’s creative problemsolvers, imaginative innovators, insightful thinkers and confident leaders.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING STUDENTS LEARN AT YOUR SCHOOL?
They learn that we support their voices. Key elements of supporting student voices include establishing relationships, building necessary skills, sharing prior knowledge, modeling listening and incorporating voice in stories. Cultivating this supportive environment encourages students to be actively involved in their learning by asking questions, sharing insights and providing their opinions.
HOW DO YOU ENCOURAGE INCLUSIVITY?
We live in an increasingly diverse world where children encounter people of varying races, cultures and abilities. As parents and educators, teaching children about diversity and inclusion is paramount as we focus on raising tolerant, accepting and empathetic children. So how can we teach children to have a positive attitude and approach?
Be a Role Model: Message to children at an early age that diversity is a smart goal. Diverse groups make smarter decisions than homogenous groups. Inclusion policies and practices can bring deep, long-lasting benefits to team dynamics, organizations and interactions among children in the classroom and on the playground.
Explain Differences, Don’t Ignore Them: When developing curriculum and programming related to diversity and inclusion, one of our favorite resources is Beyond the Golden Rule, published by Teaching Tolerance. The book features advice and resources for parents of toddlers, teenagers and all ages in between. Children are naturally curious about the world around them. When we help them understand our differences, they will be
one step closer to respecting and celebrating all people, cultures and experiences.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR OTHER PROGRAMS. We are passionate about learning at all levels. This commitment to always improving has enriched our premier educational offerings to meet the growing demand from our families. In this spirit, we enhance academic programs and explore new opportunities that allow our students to continue to grow and thrive. Two hallmark programs include our Stratford Mandarin Bilingual Preschool and our online academy.
Our Mandarin Bilingual Preschool builds upon foundational knowledge, skills and concepts in our core STEAM curriculum and provides culturally enriched activities that promote Mandarin language acquisition. Eager bilingual learners also enjoy new school experiences while developing socialization skills.
We’ve created an immersive bilingual environment designed to promote consistency and continuity for young learners. Stratford’s advanced curriculum is taught by teachers who speak and instruct in both Mandarin and English. This team-teaching approach creates an inclusive and responsive space in which individual needs are met, ensuring that students feel safe and secure to explore, take risks and learn without limits. Our Stratford Mandarin Bilingual Preschool program is available at Stratford School in Altadena and West Los Angeles.
We offer a fully aligned virtual learning experience with Stratford Online Academy, which features small class sizes; specialty teachers for music, Spanish and PE; and a learning approach complete with uniform pacing aligned with our students’ on-campus experience—all while engendering a sense of community for our online students and their families. Most importantly, our teachers are experienced and well trained in online teaching methods to deliver an engaging, personalized approach for each student throughout the virtual school day.
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION 88 | 2046 ALLEN AVE., ALTADENA | 626-784-1000 24741 CHRISANTA DR., MISSION VIEJO | 949-458-1176 2000 STONER AVE., LOS ANGELES | 424-293-2783 STRATFORDSCHOOLS.COM
ALL ABOUT KIDS PHOTOGRAPHED
BY MONICA OROZCO
Founded in 1961, Viewpoint School prepares children in grades TK–12 for college and beyond at its scenic, 40-acre campus in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. Head of school and president Mark McKee has been a leader in education for more than 20 years.
DESCRIBE SOME OF YOUR STUDENTS’ ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
In every classroom, sport, art and activity, we see the results of motivated students and gifted educators connecting to fulfill our mission of exceptional future readiness. During the fall and winter sports seasons, we scored girls and boys CIF championships in cross country and a bonus third-place win for the girls—a historic accomplishment. Our middle school boys tackle football team earned a Delphic League championship, and two of our students in the class of 2023 signed a National Letter of Intent for a collegiate sport. Two of our upper school students earned YoungArts finalist status in film, which is granted to just 10 students nationwide out of 70,000 applicants in all the arts.
Our first semester also saw memorable theatre productions in our middle and upper schools and compelling strings, choir and band concerts. Our middle school robotics team recently qualified for state championships. All of this reflects our vision that “tradition connects us and innovation propels us.”
HOW DO HEALTH AND WELLNESS PLAY A ROLE IN WHAT YOU OFFER STUDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES?
We want to ensure that our students’ social, emotional and physical health is cared for. One of the major goals of our wellness initiative, led by director of wellness Rebecca Heller, is to connect our programming from TK through 12th grade. A theme we are exploring with all ages is emotional intelligence.
As anyone who has been around young children knows, children experience big
emotions and tend to feel more intensely as they are exposed to new situations. We teach students that all feelings are valid and to use skills like “name it to tame it”— based on the work of Dr. Dan Siegel—in order to regulate our nervous system and begin to relax and move on. At a follow-up lesson on mindfulness, we talk with students about how we can use the superpower of breath to calm minds and bodies when big feelings occur. Practicing yoga during physical education class introduces students to an activity that connects mind and body. Exploring feelings and emotions with our youngest students sets them up for emotional intelligence into their older years.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO ENCOURAGE A LIFELONG LOVE OF LEARNING?
Love of learning does not emerge necessarily from a quest for grades; it emerges naturally from authentic engagement in the process of learning. In order to remain mindful of the quality of the student experience, Viewpoint teachers incorporate Collaboration, Creativity, Classroom Climate and Application into their classrooms and curricula.
Perhaps the most important of these is Classroom Climate, since establishing a trusting, safe space is an important part of inspiring students to engage with learning. When we speak with our seniors about the best aspects of their experience at Viewpoint, they often cite their relationships with their teachers—how the willingness of teachers to mentor their interests and provide a space for authentic participation gave them the confidence to explore and take on new challenges and achieve outcomes beyond their expectations.
We believe that the future will belong to those who know how to work successfully in diverse, creative, problem-solving teams. This priority is reflected in our “World Ready” mission, namely that we seek to cultivate “the critical skill set, courageous mindset and resilient identity of each individual Viewpoint
student.” When students are working together creatively to solve problems in which they are invested, and when they perceive those problems and solutions to have relevance for them, a love of learning emerges naturally from the process.
Robert Bryan, associate head of school, says, “When we say that education changes lives, it is true primarily because of what students are able to learn about themselves through direct experience, trial and error, and the opportunity to embrace a breadth of challenges with their classmates and teachers along the way. Our Viewpoint values also cite unity in diversity, which is a great way to think about how each Viewpoint student can contribute uniquely to a stronger, more purposeful outcome.”
Love of learning is the result of curiosity, engagement, inspiration and agency. At Viewpoint, we will continue to strive to make this ambitious goal a reality in the educational lives of students—no matter their grade, background, talent, ability or interest.
IN WHAT WAYS IS VIEWPOINT SCHOOL EXTRAORDINARY?
Mark McKee: Beyond our legacy of academic distinction and college preparedness, Viewpoint School is dedicated to the ideals and drivers of exceptional future readiness. We see in students the leaders they are becoming—ready to serve and fulfill a purpose beyond themselves.
Among Viewpoint’s core values, honor connects to our founding commitments to educating for character and instilling the values that will build one’s identity and support one’s growth throughout a lifetime. Every day, we engage in conversations about what honor means—for individuals and to our school. Our team is also working to ensure each member of our community experiences a deepening sense of belonging, which creates the conditions for academic and personal success and fosters the connections that promote happiness and well-being.
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION 90 | ALL ABOUT KIDS 23620 MULHOLLAND HWY., CALABASAS | 818-591-6500 | VIEWPOINT.ORG | @VIEWPOINTSCHOOL
THE BUCKLEY SCHOOL
Founded in 1933, The Buckley School is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. The all-gender, K–12 school is located in a residential neighborhood, nestled in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains.
WHAT IS YOUR SCHOOL’S MISSION?
The Buckley School is a nurturing learning community committed to equity and inclusion. Our innovative teachers and challenging programs inspire creativity, courage and collaboration. By promoting the balanced development of mind, body and character, we encourage each student to find joy and meaning in life and make an impact in the world.
WHAT SETS YOUR SCHOOL APART?
Buckley sets itself apart from other independent schools by its commitment to equity and inclusion. The school’s robust diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) program is one of the oldest among Los Angeles independent schools, with reach
into the K–12 curriculum, cocurricular programming and wider community culture. Buckley’s Center for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (“the DEC”) is the hub for this work—where students in Diversity Club and affinity groups meet and plan assemblies and monthly DEI symposia, where ninth graders take the flagship course Intersections of Identity, and where faculty come to hone their work on equity literacy and curriculum mapping.
WHAT IS YOUR SCHOOL’S DEFINITION OF SUCCESS?
Buckley’s definition of success is in our Portrait of a Graduate, which outlines the qualities and skills we believe all students should possess when they cross the stage at graduation—those of a Creative Thinker, Dynamic Storyteller, Resilient Explorer, Inclusive Leader and True Friend.
WHAT ARE SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR ACADEMIC PROGRAM?
With a new strategic plan focused almost
entirely on new academic programming, Buckley is at the forefront of innovation around teaching technology and environmental literacy in schools. Two new high school classes lead the charge: Tipping Points, which addresses the scientific implications of climate change, and How to Save the Planet, which tackles the geopolitical effects. This spring Buckley will launch a Climate Conference, in which our students and those from other Valley schools will present works of art, activism and independent research.
WHAT DO YOU FEATURE THAT’S NOT TYPICAL FOR SCHOOLS IN THE AREA?
In a big city where nature is not often an integral part of school life, Buckley’s setting offers a curriculum that integrates the environment and the natural world. All grades enjoy the same lush campus, which features a nature trail, green wall and indigenous garden, in addition to a field that boasts one of the best views in the San Fernando Valley.
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION 92 | ALL ABOUT KIDS 3900 STANSBURY AVE., SHERMAN OAKS | 818-783-1610 | BUCKLEY.ORG
PHOTOGRAPHED BY BENJ HEWITT
THE HELP GROUP’S SCHOOLS
The Help Group, a nonprofit organization, offers 13 specialized schools for children with social, emotional and learning differences from preschool through high school and transition-age school. Certified by the California Department of Education, the schools provide prescriptive teaching, small classes, individualized curriculum and enrichment activities to maximize learning. Counseling, speech and language, and occupational therapy complement the curriculum. More than 1,000 students are enrolled across four campuses throughout Los Angeles.
WHY SHOULD PARENTS CONSIDER THE HELP GROUP’S SCHOOLS FOR THEIR CHILD?
The appropriate learning environment is critical to the success of children with social, emotional and learning differences. We offer small classes and individualized attention with staff members who use an interactive, hands-on, multisensory approach. Intensive intervention as well as other supportive services are integrated into the curriculum.
The Help Group’s schools offer a unique learning environment in which the goal is to enable each student to realize their fullest potential of independence and skills across all academic areas.
IN WHAT WAYS DOES THE HELP GROUP PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS’ EMOTIONAL HEALTH?
Our students thrive with academic, emotional and social support. We offer in-house services such as counseling, speech and language, and occupational therapy. Our teachers are trained in mindfulness techniques to help reduce stress and help children be more aware of their surroundings and each other.
HOW DO THE HELP GROUP’S SCHOOLS SUPPORT STUDENTS’ PASSIONS?
In addition to a range of academic and enrichment offerings, our Help Group teachers work with students to explore their interests and identify their strengths. Depending on the school, we offer competitive
California Interscholastic Federation athletics programs and/or intramural sports, active student councils, creative and performing arts, robotics and clubs. Throughout the year, students participate in community service activities to promote the value of giving back as well as to enhance their selfworth. Our programs work to develop caring human beings who understand that their compassion and energy can make a difference in the world.
WHAT IS YOUR APPLICATION AND ADMISSIONS PROCESS LIKE?
Parents can attend an open house or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our programs, philosophy and approaches. The application provides a checklist of required documents. Parents will be contacted to arrange an interview where we will review the child’s needs, provide time for questions, and give the parents and child an opportunity to see the school. Decisions are typically made quickly, and The Help Group employs rolling admissions.
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | 93 ALL ABOUT KIDS
BURBANK BLVD., SHERMAN OAKS | 6455 COLDWATER CANYON AVE., VALLEY GLEN | 15339 SATICOY ST., VAN NUYS 12095 W. WASHINGTON BLVD., LOS ANGELES |
THE COUNTRY SCHOOL
The Country School was founded 75 years ago by a couple whose intention was to create a revolutionary preschool program centered on identifying and nurturing children’s developmental stages and the important milestones achieved at each level. Over the years the school has grown to include elementary (in 1972) and middle school (in 2005) and today serves students in preschool through eighth grade.
WHAT STEPS DO YOU TAKE TO ENCOURAGE INCLUSIVITY?
We celebrate differences and respect the individuality of every child and family in our community. Our educators meet biweekly with our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team to ensure students receive an education taught through an antibias and anti-racism lens.
WHAT SUPPORT DO YOU OFFER STUDENTS BEYOND ACADEMICS?
Our students practice daily meditation in their classrooms. We have a school counselor for students to talk to. Our head of
school and principal have an open-door policy, and students feel comfortable talking with adults on campus. All of our teachers and staff have been trained in restorative justice. By incorporating this philosophy instead of punitive consequences, we help students feel heard and give them tools to navigate and repair conflict. Our athletic program is inclusive and encouraging, and we offer enrichment classes in upper, elementary and middle school, along with an after-school extended care program for all students.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOMEWORK.
Ten years ago we prioritized student wellness by eliminating homework in elementary school, recognizing the stress it caused and its lack of correlation to improvement in learning. Student performance each year continues to prove that our choice was correct. What’s most important is that students feel good about themselves and get time to play, rest and reset each day. In grades 5–8, when homework begins to have a relevant
and measurable impact on performance, our gradual and intentional approach helps students develop solid study habits and life skills.
WHAT ARE SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR ACADEMIC PROGRAM?
Our academic program promotes creativity and prepares students for citizenship by bringing together diverse students from varied backgrounds and mindsets. Our classrooms allow students to hone decisionmaking and problem-solving skills as they consider other perspectives and opinions. We give our kids opportunities to examine the world critically and encourage them to be active and positive change-makers.
WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING STUDENTS LEARN AT YOUR SCHOOL?
How to be themselves. We work hard to dissolve stereotypes and increase identity safety by affirming all types of identity in our classrooms. Children grow up with a sense of knowing who they are, and that who they are is wonderful and amazing.
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION 94 |
818-769-2473 | COUNTRY-SCHOOL.ORG ALL ABOUT KIDS
LAUREL CANYON BLVD., VALLEY VILLAGE |
PHOTOGRAPHED BY SHANE O’DONNELL
SIERRA CANYON SCHOOL
Sierra Canyon School is a private school serving 1,100 students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. It started in 1972 as Sierra Canyon Day Camp, which led to the creation of Sierra Canyon Elementary School in 1978 with 150 students enrolled in grades K–6.
By 2001 the school was serving nearly 700 students through grade 8. In 2005 the upper school was opened for grades 7–12, and the following year the two schools merged and incorporated as a nonprofit organization. Sierra Canyon School graduated its first senior class in 2009.
WHAT DOES YOUR CAMPUS FEATURE THAT’S NOT TYPICAL FOR SCHOOLS IN THE AREA?
In October 2019 Sierra Canyon renovated a computer lab into a state-of-the-art technology facility called the Branca Center for Technology and Esports. The modernized classroom is home to our publication and digital design courses and our middle and upper school esports teams. The space
is outfitted with state-of-the-art technology. This classroom is designated for our students to foster creativity and compete at the highest level.
WHY ARE YOU CALLED THE TRAILBLAZERS?
We draw uncommonly creative thinkers, leaders and learners to our school. Our trailblazing philosophy drives everything we do, which is why we are affectionately called the Trailblazers. The Sierra Canyon School journey is a communal endeavor in which our entire Trailblazer family—students, teachers, parents, alumni, grandparents and friends—joins together to strengthen our unparalleled school culture. We are—and always will—bleed blue. Go Trailblazers!
HOW DO YOU HELP YOUR STUDENTS FEEL AT HOME?
The relationship between teacher and student is at the heart of a Sierra Canyon education. With small classroom sizes, we create an environment that advances each student’s knowledge through an exploration
of ideas and thoughtful discussion. We take pride in our ability to cultivate close-knit relationships with our parents as well. The presence of our many parent volunteers on campus brings joy to our students when they see a familiar face serving lunch in the Farmhouse, reading in the Rubin Family Library, or setting up a holiday classroom party or our graduation reception.
WHAT SCHOOLS DO SIERRA CANYON GRADUATES ATTEND?
Sierra Canyon School’s college counselors guide students and families through every step of the college admission process, and graduates consistently enroll in highly selective colleges and universities across the country and around the world. Students are empowered to take ownership of the process with the support of the college counselors to maximize their success. Members of the class of 2022 currently attend Columbia, NYU, Duke, Stanford, Johns Hopkins University, Howard University, Princeton, USC and UC Berkeley.
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | 95 ALL ABOUT KIDS 11052 INDEPENDENCE AVE. | 20801 RINALDI ST., CHATSWORTH | 818-882-8121 | SIERRACANYONSCHOOL.ORG
PHOTOGRAPHED BY RICK
OAKS CHRISTIAN SCHOOL
Oaks Christian School is a nondenominational, coed, college-preparatory school serving grades 5–12, with an approximate enrollment of 1,600 students. This fall, grade 4 will be added. Oaks Christian is both a day school and a residential boarding facility open to domestic and international students. It gives back to the community through partnerships with various local organizations.
WHAT DO YOU OFFER THAT’S UNIQUE?
Oaks Christian embraces the concept of “school outside the walls,” giving students opportunities to learn directly through offcampus experiences. Advanced film students attend the Sundance Film Festival. Global leadership students visit Homeboy Industries and Sony, among others, to learn how nonprofits and for-profits work. Photo students create a book on burn victims to raise awareness and funds for burn injury survivors. And engineering students travel to forest areas and build fully functional tiny homes for people displaced by fires.
HOW DOES YOUR SCHOOL GIVE KIDS A WINDOW INTO OTHER CULTURES?
Under the guidance of our director of world missions and community services, our students are given opportunities for educational and service-oriented international and domestic trips. Beyond textbook study of other cultures, these experiences provide real-life engagement with other peoples and customs. Students often comment on how these opportunities have been transformational.
HOW DOES YOUR SCHOOL PROMOTE THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY?
We believe that students can be innovators, designers and inventors who can impact the world through their gifts. Our 13,000-squarefoot IDEA (innovation, design, engineering and aeronautics) Lab gives students a jump in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) career paths. The lab allows students to make basically anything including robots, aerial and underwater drones, rockets and even basic prosthetics. It is home to our Institute of Engineering
DO YOU ENCOURAGE PARENT INVOLVEMENT AT OAKS CHRISTIAN?
We see our relationship with our parents as a partnership whereby we support and encourage them as they raise their children. One way we do that is by providing regular parent coffees with experts in different fields related to child-rearing and educational and/ or emotional concerns. We also have three social-emotional wellness counselors who are available for students and families.
HOW DOES YOUR SCHOOL SUPPORT THOSE IN NEED?
Oaks Christian has a rich history of partnering with community nonprofits to serve families in the Conejo Valley. Students volunteer at James Storehouse to help foster-care children, Children’s Hunger Fund, homeless shelters and homes for battered women and children. During the Woolsey Fire and the Borderline shooting crisis, Oaks Christian stepped in to spearhead fundraisers for affected families, sent crews to clean debris and provided support for first responders.
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION 96 | ALL ABOUT KIDS
818-575-9900 | OAKSCHRISTIAN.ORG
LA TIENDA DR., WESTLAKE VILLAGE |
PHOTOGRAPHED BY BLANCA SCHNOBRICH
THE WESLEY SCHOOL
The Wesley School is a coeducational independent day school in North Hollywood established in 1999. Today the school serves a diverse community of students in grades K–8.
WHAT ARE THE WESLEY SCHOOL’S GOALS FOR 2023?
For this school year, our theme is Joyful Moments. The joy of children interacting with their school and home adults, as well as the adults enjoying each other, is palpable. Even the campus holds renewed joy with consistent updates and refurbishments, and there are plenty of opportunities for parents to engage fully with their children’s joyful learning.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL MOTTO.
Our motto is Academic Excellence and Character Development Within the Circle of Family. The Wesley School builds confidence and encourages independence through a challenging academic program that
stretches each student to reach the highest level of individual achievement within a supportive, nurturing environment. Wesley cultivates strong creative, physical and spiritual foundations to prepare students to be productive and respectful contributors to a global society.
HOW DO YOU HELP YOUR STUDENTS FEEL AT HOME?
On the Wesley campus, there is a feeling of collaborating and connecting. Students feel safe, nurtured and loved, and in turn they feel a sense of pride when reflecting on their school. To quote a Wesley student, “The size of the school and its overall community makes students feel like their family is right here with them throughout the school day.” They all know each other and love being a part of their bigger Wesley family.
HOW DO YOU ENCOURAGE INCLUSIVITY AND DIVERSITY?
We believe our community is stronger
and our program is more dynamic when we make diversity, equity and inclusivity central commitments of our school. They enrich the lives of all our school constituents and deepen student learning—helping children become more creative and collaborative problem-solvers, empathetic friends, engaged citizens and productive contributors to a global society.
WHY DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE K–8 SCHOOL MODEL?
It provides a safe space for children to come of age at an appropriate pace, and a place where they can avoid some of the social pressures found in a secondary school environment. The well-rounded and exemplary academic program helps our children matriculate at the best independent high schools in the Los Angeles area. Wesley gives them a safe place to grow and develop while providing them the academic foundation to be very successful in the next step of their academic journey.
HOLLYWOOD | 818-508-4542 | WESLEYSCHOOL.ORG ALL ABOUT KIDS
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | 97
PHOTOGRAPHED BY SARAH FRANCIS
The information contained herein has been obtained through sources deemed reliable but cannot be guaranteed as to its accuracy. Buyer to verify accuracy of information. DRE #01811831. 11728
AD ANDREW DINSKY THEDINSKYTEAM.COM 310.729.3393 ANDREW@THEDINSKYTEAM.COM DRE #01724985 3358 COY DRIVE | SHERMAN OAKS 11726 BLIX ST | VALLEY VILLAGE 3531 COLDWATER CANYON | STUDIO CITY 16759 OTSEGO ST | ENCINO 10506 BLOOMFIELD ST | TOLUCA LAKE 4137 MARY ELLEN AVE | STUDIO CITY INESCROW INESCROW INESCROW JUSTLISTED FORSALE 20684 DE LA GUERRA | WOODLAND HILLS *REPRESENTING BUYER *REPRESENTED BUYER 13917 LA MAIDA ST | SHERMAN OAKS 3818 BENEDICT CANYON | SHERMAN OAKS 11622 HUSTON ST | VALLEY VILLAGE FORSALE JUSTLISTED JUSTLISTED JUSTSOLD JUSTSOLD JUSTSOLD OVER $155 MILLION SOLD IN 2022!
HARTSOOK STREET | VALLEY VILLAGE
Stunning New Construction
Striking new construction Modern Farmhouse with manicured gardens, natural wood shingle siding, wide plank wood floors, and clean architectural lines. Inside you are greeted with a massive open floor plan with a formal living room with fireplace and entertainment bar adjacent to an elegant formal dining room with designer lighting and built-in buffet. A gourmet Chef’s kitchen with stainless steel appliances, built-in refrigerator, walk-in pantry, and island with waterfall counter overlooking the inviting family room with fireplace and an outdoor Entertainer’s dream backyard. The romantic primary suite boasts a fireplace, incredible walk-in closet, and spa-like master bath Entertainer’s yard with sparkling pool, infinity spa, BBQ center.
4541 Dempsey Ave, Encino | Listed at $4,995,000
6 Bed | 6.5 Bath | Approx. 5,171 sq ft | 8,456 sq ft lot
Adi Livyatan | Rodeo Realty | 818-919-4060 | #1892750
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | 99
MARINA DEL REY
©2023 The Beverly Hills Estates. Broker does not guarantee the accuracy of square footage, lot size or other information concerning the condition or features of property obtained from public records or other sources. Equal Housing Opportunity. DRE 02126121 | DRE 01897529
Compass is a licensed real estate broker and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdraw without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. Exact dimensions can be obtained by retaining the services of an architect or engineer. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. *Data sourced from americandreamnetwork.tv MICHAEL BERGIN | LUXURY ESTATES DIRECTOR The Bergin Group 310.600.0715 Michael@MichaelBergin.com DRE 01845572 Top 1% Agent in Southern California #1 Compass Agent in Studio City / Sherman Oaks NEIGHBOR • EXPERT • FRIEND • REALTOR REAL ESTATE ALL-STAR 2023
LittleHouseLosAngeles.com Mia Capanna & Garrett McKechnie M 818.489.0781 | G 323.481.0585 email@example.com | firstname.lastname@example.org follow us — @littlehousela DRE#020119926 / DRE#02123000 © 2022 Sotheby’s International Realty. All Rights Reserved. Sotheby’s International Realty® is a registered trademark and used with permission. Each Sotheby’s International Realty office is independently owned and operated, except those operated by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. The Sotheby’s International Realty network fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Mia Capanna, DRE#020119926, Garrett McKechnie, DRE#02123000. We help you turn one day... into right now.
Michael J. Okun is the #1 Sotheby’s International Realty agent in the San Fernando Valley based on the total number of sales from January 01, 2022 to December 31, 2022. © 2023 Sotheby’s International Realty. All Rights Reserved. Sotheby’s International Realty® is a registered trademark and used with permission. Each Sotheby’s International Realty office is independently owned and operated, except those operated by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. This material is based upon information which we consider reliable but because it has been supplied by third parties, we cannot represent that it is accurate or complete and it should not be relied upon as such. All offerings are subject to errors, omissions, changes including price or withdrawal without notice. If your property is listed with a real estate broker, please disregard. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other real estate brokers. We are happy to work with them and cooperate fully. Equal Housing Opportunity. SouthOfTheBlvd.com For More Information Visit BROKER ASSOCIATE 818.415.1819 Michael@theMJOgroup.com DRE#01430970 Experience Matters OVER 2 DECADES OF EXPERIENCE WITH UNRIVALED RESULTS #1 SOTHEBY'S INTERNATIONAL REALTY AGENT IN THE VALLEY 500+ HOMES SOLD & COUNTING... REAL ESTATE ALL - STARS 2021 | 2022 | 2023
WHO YOU WORK WITH MATTERS
SOLD 13614 ADDISON ST | SHERMAN OAKS GEORGE OUZOUNIAN Estates Director George.Oz@TheAgencyRE.com 818.900.4259 | DRE 01948763 GINA MICHELLE Estates Director Gina.Michelle@TheAgencyRE.com 818.850.1458 | DRE 01503003 12080 Ventura Place #D, Studio City, CA 91604 | 23975 Park Sorrento #120, Calabasas, CA 91302 THEAGENCYRE.COM RECENT ACTIVITY 6312 MIRROR LAKE DR | LOS ANGELES 8693 FRANKLIN AVE | LOS ANGELES 14065 VALLEY VISTA BLVD | SHERMAN OAKS ACTIVE ACTIVE ACTIVE ACTIVE 2681 COUNTRY RIDGE RD | CALABASAS 7 BED | 9 BATH | 9,108 SQFT. | 479,160 LOT OFFERED AT $9,499,000 | $45,000 LEASE 6 BED | 9 BATH | 7,005 SQFT. | 11,432 LOT OFFERED AT $6,850,000 3 BED | 3.5 BATH | 3,200 SQFT. | 5,388 LOT OFFERED AT $5,395,000 5 BED | 5 & 2 HALF BATH | 5,198 SQFT. | 9,409 LOT OFFERED AT $4,495,000 | $20,000 LEASE 543 - 545 N. HELIOTROPE DR | LOS ANGELES 5243 FULTON AVE | SHERMAN OAKS 1520 S. BEVERLY GLEN BLVD #207 | LA ACTIVE ACTIVE ACTIVE ACTIVE 13202 CHANDLER BLVD | SHERMAN OAKS 6 BED | 6.5 BATH | 6,105 SQFT. | 13,941 LOT OFFERED AT $3,750,000 8 BED | 4 BATH | 4,608 SQFT. | 8,000 LOT | 4 UNITS OFFERED AT $2,300,000 4 BED | 3.5 BATH | 2,638 SQFT. | 5,516 LOT OFFERED AT $1,699,000 3 BED | 3 BATH | 2,070 SQFT. | 38,001 LOT OFFERED AT $1,499,995
16671 CALLE BRITTANY | PACIFIC PALISADES 4138 SEPULVEDA BLVD | SHERMAN OAKS SOLD SOLD SOLD 4418 FARMDALE AVE | STUDIO CITY SOLD 1126 MANHATTAN AVE | HERMOSA BEACH 4718 ATOLL AVE | SHERMAN OAKS 4110 VANETTA PL | STUDIO CITY 5742 WILLIS AVE | SHERMAN OAKS SOLD SOLD SOLD 3356 PROSPECT AVE | LA CRESCENTA SOLD 5136 LLANO DR | WOODLAND HILLS SOLD 10831 W. RIVERTON CT | TOLUCA LAKE 19106 TAJAUTA AVE | CARSON 22700 CRISWELL ST | WEST HILLS SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD 6302 ETHEL AVE | VALLEY GLEN 4303 ELMER AVE | NORTH HOLLYWOOD SOLD
10346 MOORPARK STREET | TOLUCA LAKE OFFERED AT $29,000,000 THEAGENCYRE.COM KEVIN DEES DEES & ASSOCCIATES KDEES@THEAGENCYRE.COM 818.414.3404 | LIC. #01915567
Kevin Pane, Brian Pane, Mary Pane, Realtor ® Associates. DRE #02007794, DRE #01209478, DRE#00661949 #1 Ranking is Based on 2022 Sales Volume at Sotheby’s International Realty,Sherman Oaks Brokerage © 2023 Sotheby’s International Realty. All Rights Reserved. Sotheby’s International Realty® is a registered trademark and used with permission. Each Sotheby’s International Realty office is independently owned and operated, except those operated by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. The Sotheby’s International Realty network fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Kevin Pane | Brian Pane 310.308.7595 info@PaneTeam.com PaneTeam.com Nothing Compares #1 Team Sherman Oaks Brokerage Sales Team 2022 CONGRATULATIONS for being named among Sotheby’s International Realty Sherman Oaks Brokerage’s Top Team. Kevin Pane, Brian Pane & Mary Pane DRE#2007794 | DRE#1209478 | DRE#00661949 Pane Team
TRENDS TO WATCH
By Andrew Manning
I'm not a big fan of jumping on bandwagons (unless that wagon happens to be luxuriously wrapped in velvet and ambles along the Southern California coastline during a beautiful wintry sunset) but for now, let’s jump.
There are a few topics everyone’s been talking about lately (interest rates, home prices) and these can’t-get-away-from-them industry conversations are indicative of some trends we can expect to see in real estate this year.
First, pristine listings are in. No longer can sellers kick problems or cluttered rooms down the proverbial road because properties today are in such high demand. It's true you can do that when the market is fast-moving, but in a more balanced environment, buyers pay a lot more attention to the details of your home.
Another trend is that contingencies are officially back. In 2021 and for the first half of 2022, buyers were waiving appraisal contingencies and inspections like they were walking in real estate’s version of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
In reality, having no contingencies or limited contingencies was abnormal and now, we’re returning to more normal circumstances where buyers are saying to themselves, “Wait a minute. This isn’t a multiple offer situation. I’m the only offer here. Why should I waive any contingencies?
On the subject of interest rates, we’re seeing the 2-1 buydown program happening everywhere. It’s helping to ease people into higher rates.
If a seller buys the rate down for the first two years, buyers rightly believe by year three they can refinance at a better rate.
Relatedly, analysts predict rates will most likely drop by the middle of 2023 to about 5 or 6% as part of a housing price regulation and deceleration as real estate moves to a more normal market.
And the final trend? In today’s real estate landscape, houses can't be put on the market (in all price ranges) with bad cell phone pictures. Photography and a listing’s overall online presentation is more important than ever. Completing those small fix-ups in a house, like repairing a crack in a wall or replacing the kitchen drawer knobs, could make the
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Oren David Mordkowitz ESTATES DIRECTOR | REALTOR ® CalDRE License #01246402 818-933-5866 email@example.com OrenEstates.com SOLD SOLD 24255 Abbeywood Dr. | West Hills | $1,599,000 3951 Anastasia Dr. | Encino | $3,149,000 12438 Laurel Ter. | Studio City | $1,399,000 17881 Av. Puerto Vallarta | Encino | $3,599,000 5656 Wish Ave. | Encino | $1,550,000 4630 Woodley Ave. #107 | Encino | $1,225,000 3928 Ballina Dr. | Encino | $2,249,000 4791 White Oak Ave. | Encino | $11,995 4450 Hayvenhurst Ave. | Encino | $12,000 317 S. Windsor Bl. | Hancock Park | $9,999,000 4314 Grimes Pl. | Encino | $2,389,000 3616 Green Vista Dr. | Encino | $2,349,000 SOLD Curious what your home is worth? Contact Oren for a complimentary home analysis! SOLD SOLD 5656Wish.com AnastasiaDrive.com LaurelTer.com SOLD IN ESCROW FOR LEASE FOR LEASE
ACTIVE 10024 Toluca Lake Avenue, Toluca Lake Offered at $6,495,000 SOLD 4638 Placidia Avenue Toluca Lake Sold for $2,425,000 SOLD 3572 Multiview Drive Hollywood Hills Sold for $2,625,000 PENDING 4265 Denny Avenue Toluca Lake Offered at $1,350,000 Compass does not guarantee the accuracy of square footage, lot size, or other information concerning the condition or features of the property provided by the seller or obtained from public records and other sources and the buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information. CalBRE 01450987 CRAIG STRONG Vice President, Luxury Home Sales Lead Mentor & Coach Top 1% Nationwide #1 Individual Agent Companywide $1.4+ Billion in Total Sales Volume 818.930.4050 firstname.lastname@example.org strongrealtor.com DRE # 01450987 ACTIVE 8803 Appian Way, Hollywood Hills Offered at $3,800,000 ACTIVE 211 S. Rose Street, Burbank / Toluca Lake Offered at $2,399,000 SOLD 17524 Jayden Lane, Encino Sold for $4,700,000 PENDING 4617 Placidia Avenue, Toluca Lake Offered at $2,895,000 PENDING 11019 Hortense Street Toluca Lake Offered at $2,069,000 SOLD OFF MARKET 10356 Woodbridge Street, Toluca Lake Sold for $2,500,000
1064 Drift Wood Ln | Ventura Sold: $3,192,000 16324 Meadowridge Drive | Encino Sold: $6,716,250 Adi Livyatan New Construction and Luxury Home Specialist Wall Street Journal Ranked #15 in CA | #28 in the Nation Mobile: 818.919.4060 • Office: 818.285.3220 Email: email@example.com DRE# 1892750 www.AdiLivyatan.com $300 MILLION SOLD IN 2021 15825 Woodvale Rd | Encino Sold: $10,000,000 16770 Morrison St | Encino Sold: $2,800,000 5330 Amestoy Ave | Encino 6 Bed | 7 Bath | Approx. 7,400 sqft | 18,998 sqft lot Offered at: $6,995,000 5321 Oak Park Ave | Encino 6 Bed | 7 Bath | Approx. 7,200 sqft | 17,577 sqft lot Offered at: $6,995,000 4541 Dempsey Ave | Encino 6 Bed | 6.5 Bath | Approx. 5,171 sqft | 8,456 sqft lot Offered at: $4,995,000 4447 Camillia Ave | Encino 5 Bed | 5.5 Bath | Approx. 4,300 sqft | 8,260 sqft lot Offered at: $3,950,000 12050 Valleyheart Dr #104 | Studio City 3 Bed | 2 Bath | Approx. 1,330 sqft Offered at: $899,000 13333 Kittridge St | Van Nuys 5 Bed | 3 Bath | Approx. 2,383 sqft | 5,350 Sqft Offered at: $1,495,000 19471 Rosita St|Tarzana 5 Bed | 4 Bath | Approx. 3,669 sqft Offered at: $3,195,000 SOLD SOLD FEATURED PRICE CHANGE ACTIVE ACTIVE ACTIVE ACTIVE SOLD SOLD PRICE CHANGE
Nobody does it better... Fine Estates® www.CarolWolfe.com 818.285.3688 DRE #00477745 WALL STREET JOURNAL JUST SOLD COMING SOON! Encino South of Boulevard Mid-Century Modern with 3,600+ Sq. Ft. $2,399,000 ACTIVE IN ESCROW 19323 Redbridge Lane, Tarzana 17440 Weddington Street, Encino 19200 Allandale Drive, Tarzana 5240 Zelzah Avenue, #101, Encino
BREAKING SALE IN MULHOLLAND PARK! Sold for $5,250,000 (Over $1,065 per sq. ft.)
AMESTOY ESTATES SINGLE STORY!
UPDATED MULHOLLAND PARK ESTATE! Offered at $4,999,000
SINGLE LEVEL CONDOMINIUM W/1900+ SQ. FT. Offered at $899,000 JUST SOLD #1 INDIVIDUAL AGENT
($101,000 Over the Asking Price) SPECTACULAR
SCG x AKG Encino Branch Office 15760 Ventura Blvd, Encino CA 91436 Andrew Spitz & Fran Chavez Executive Directors of Luxury Estates Top 1% Nationwide • Top 100 in So. Cal. 818.453.9119 | Andrew@AndrewSpitz.com 818.517.1411 | FranChavezRE@gmail.com DRE 00924610 | 01013357 SpitzChavezGroup.com AKG | Christie’s International Real Estate is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. License Number 01527644. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only and is compiled from sources deemed reliable but has not been verified. Changes in price, condition, sale or withdrawal may be made without notice. No statement is made as to the accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footage are approximate. If your property is currently listed for sale this is not a solicitation. 3915VistaLindaDr.com, Encino 5 BD | 5.5 BA | 5,552 SF | $5,495,000 3831ScadlockLn.com, Sherman Oaks 5 BD | 3.5 BA | 3,752 SF | $2,695,000 SPITZ | CHAVEZ GROUP KNOWS THE VALLEY $2.5B+ SALES VOLUME 50+ CLOSED TRANSACTIONS ANNUALLY 4331Meadowview.com, Encino 5 BD | 5.5 BA | 4,178 SF | $4,595,000 16093 Royal Oak Rd, Encino 4 BD | 4 BA | 4,056 SF | $4,895,000 Co-Listed With Aaron Kirman l DRE 01296524 19407 Shenango Dr, Tarzana 5 BD | 5.5 BA | 4,596 SF | $3,995,000 Co-Listed With Marc Shevin | DRE 00559629 15145Delgado.com, Sherman Oaks 4 BD | 3.5 BA | 3,677 SF | $3,350,000 Top >1% of over 1.6 Million Real Estate Professionals in the U.S. by RealTrends Top 100 Real Estate Agents in LA County by LABusinessJournal “Real Estate All Stars” by LosAngelesMagazine Serving The Ventura Boulevard Corridor Selling A Luxury Lifestyle 16430 Westfall Pl, Encino 5 BD | 7 BA | 8,600 SF | $8,995,000 Co-Listed With Aaron Kirman l DRE 01296524 Co-Listed With David Emanuel l DRE 01825239
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* Citi Mortgage Relationship Pricing A Citibank deposit account is required to receive the interest rate discount or closing cost credit. Automated monthly transfers of the mortgage payment from a Citibank Deposit Account using automated drafting will be required. Actual interest rate discount or closing cost credit will depend on the level of the Citi Eligible Balances, which will be veriﬁed after ﬁnal loan approval.
$200,000 – $499,999.99 1/4% (0.250%) off interest rate
$500,000 – $999,999.99 3/8% (0.375%) off interest rate
$1,000,000 – $1,999,999.99 1/2% (0.500%) off interest rate
$2,000,000 or more 5/8% (0.625%) off interest rate
Deposit Account Balances must be in the account ﬁve (5) Business Days following ﬁnal loan approval and Investment Account balances must be in the account six (6) Business Days following ﬁnal loan approval. Citi eligible accounts include a personal, consumer Citibank Deposit Account in which the borrower is a direct signer, Citibank IRAs, and Investments held in linked Citigroup Global Markets Inc. (“CGMI”) accounts. The borrower must be an account holder on investment accounts. IRA and annuity positions shown on linked CGMI Account statements are eligible (except tax qualiﬁed annuities under sections 401, 403, or 457 of the Internal Revenue Code). Balances from Citibank Business / Commercial accounts, ERISA accounts, Keogh accounts, Bank Collateral accounts, Foreign accounts, Fiduciary accounts, and Trust accounts where the borrower is only listed as the Beneﬁciary are excluded. All Custodial type accounts are excluded with the exception of Custodial IRA accounts through Citibank or Pershing LLC where the borrower(s) is the beneﬁciary, which are eligible unless otherwise noted. Citibank IRAs that are not linked to a Citibank Deposit Account are excluded.
The closing cost credit offer will be applied at closing and may not be used prior to closing. In Texas, the credit may not result in you receiving cash back.
If you are interested in Citi’s banking account relationship offers, please contact your Home Lending Ofﬁcer or Mortgage Representative. Speak to your loan ofﬁcer about whether the relationship offer is best for you.
Citibank Mortgage Relationship Pricing for Citibank account holders can only be applied prior to loan closing and is subject to account and balance validation. Citibank Mortgage Relationship Pricing is subject to change without notice.
Glossary of terms for this offer: Business Day means Monday through Friday and does not include federal holidays; Eligible Balances means total funds showing in the account at the time we verify the balances less any funds we determine you will need for a down payment or closing costs; Deposit Account means a Citibank personal checking and/or savings account as well as certiﬁcates of deposit and money market accounts; Investment Account means IRAs and investments held in Citigroup Global Markets Inc. accounts.
Terms, conditions and fees for accounts, programs, offers, products and services are subject to change without notice at any time. Offer may be modiﬁed or withdrawn at any time without notice. Offer cannot be combined with other offers, except when applied with speciﬁc Community Lending Programs. Offers are not applicable on Home Equity Loans and Lines of Credit. This is not a commitment to lend. This offer contains information about U.S. domestic ﬁnancial services provided by Citibank, N.A. and is intended for use domestically in the U.S. Investment products are offered through Citigroup Global Markets Inc. (“CGMI”), Member SIPC (http://sipc.org). Citibank and CGMI are afﬁliated companies under the common control of Citigroup Inc. © 2023 Citibank, N.A. NMLS# 412915. Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender. Citi, Citi and Arc Design and other marks used herein are service marks of Citigroup Inc. or its afﬁliates, used and registered throughout the world.
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Eligible Balance Relationship Pricing Beneﬁt
you bank at Citi, enjoy: $500 off closing costs* or 1/8% — 5/8% off interest rate Citi
$1 – $49,999.99 $500 off closing cost
– $199,999.99 1/8% (0.125%) off interest rate
A STUDENT MAKES A CASE FOR KEEPING EVEN THE MOST DISTURBING BOOKS IN THE CLASSROOM.
Written by Spencer Davis | Illustrated by Yuiko Sugino
In ninth grade, I read the book Night by Elie Wiesel, recounting his horrific experiences in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. Wiesel recognized that he had an obligation to bear witness to the horrors of Nazi Germany and teach others about what he had been through. Unfortunately, a friend of mine who attended school in a town outside of Austin was never educated about Wiesel’s experience. The book had been removed by the school district because of “violence and horror.” As a human and especially as a Jew, I recognize the violence and horror in Night. But that’s exactly what makes the book so powerful—it doesn’t shy away from the horrors of the Holocaust.
Book-banning efforts in the U.S. recently hit a 20-year peak according to the American Library Association, mainly targeting marginalized authors. In 2021 alone, 2,532 different books were banned from schools across America. A resounding 40% of these titles explicitly address LGBTQ+ themes, while another 40% have protagonists or prominent characters of color. Though the First Amendment guarantees the right to free expression, courts have ruled that schools can evaluate a community’s standards when considering a book’s suitability for the classroom.
In the 1982 case Board of Education, Island Trees Union Free School District v. Pico, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that schools can ban “pervasively vulgar” books and those that do not fit the curriculum. However, schools are barred from challenging books “simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books.” Since then, school districts have used pretextual excuses to remove books from the classroom and from school libraries.
PEN America estimates that at least 40% of school library bans are
connected to legislation in regional or statewide governing bodies. Though these governing bodies purport to protect children from sensitive content, they restrict students’ access to marginalized voices and important political and social perspectives. This perpetuates a system of discrimination, inequality and suppression. As Oscar Wilde once wrote, “The books that the world calls immoral are books that show its own shame.”
Reading about other perspectives may help our society develop empathy for diverse points of view. Empathy is developed as we analyze and interpret experiences different from our own. Children exposed to the perspectives of others, particularly through literature, can develop a stronger connection to other groups. One research team found that people who read Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abdullah—a fictional account of a Muslim woman facing racist attacks in New York—showed less negative bias toward people of different races or ethnicities. Book bans, therefore, limit the developmental capabilities of students and harm the empathy that develops within school classrooms.
Just as many parents advocate for politics to be kept out of the classroom, I believe politics should never influence my right to read books. I no longer want the partisan desires of parents and interest groups to impact my class curriculum. I think we should all consider how books that push our boundaries can help deepen our understanding of others. ■
Spencer Davis is a senior at Milken Community School and coeditor of the school newspaper The Milken Roar
LAST WORD 114 |
THE WONDER WOMEN OF REAL ESTATE HARRIET CAMERON GROUP Harriet Cameron Harriet@HarrietCameron.com | 818-380-2151 DRE#00675971 Jenny Birchfield-Eick Jenny@JennyBirchfield.com | 818-601-8663 DRE#02070744 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties © 2023 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (BHHSCP) is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC. BHHS and the BHHS symbol are registered service marks of Columbia Insurance Company, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. Properties may or may not be listed by the office/agent presenting this information. Based on information obtained from the MLS as of (include the date data was obtained). Display of MLS data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the MLS. BHH Affiliates LLC and BHHSCP do not guarantee accuracy of all data including measurements, conditions, and features of property. Buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information. HERE TO SERVE YOU! $1.625+ BILLION IN RESIDENTIAL SALES 4267 MOONCREST PL, ENCINO REPRESENTED BUYER & SELLER SOLD 15440 VARDEN ST, SHERMAN OAKS SOLD IN 4 DAYS REPRESENTED BUYER & SELLER SOLD 4020 BENEDICT CANYON DR, SHERMAN OAKS 4 BEDS | 3.5 BATHS | $2,150,000 JUST LISTED
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