by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

Using the Power of Volunteerism to Improve the Health of San Diego’s Children

Susan Atkins and Mary Reynolds are both long-time 92130 residents. Susan has been living in Carmel Valley for twenty-five years, Mary for twenty-six. Both women cherish their community. “[It’s] a perfect place to raise kids, the beach is close,” said Mary. “The families, the community emphasis, proximity to the beach, and ability to easily get anywhere in the county,” added Susan. In an effort to support their community, Susan and Mary have become leading volunteers for Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary Del Mar Unit, an organization that partners with Rady Children’s Hospital to advocate health and well-being of children, increase community awareness, and promote fundraising. “I was taken with the great work of the hospital and the auxiliary,” said Mary. “I quickly embraced their mission and became actively involved,” added Susan.

Both women are board members for the group, as well as co-chairs for one of its central fundraising events, Kids News Day – admittedly one of Susan and Mary’s biggest accomplishments. In addition to bringing the event into the classroom as a teaching tool, increasing paper sales and creating an essay contest for the event, Susan and Mary also helped to initiate the Kids Helping Kids program.


Today, the ladies are certainly San Diegans at heart, although neither of them are natives. “I grew up in the Los Angeles area and moved to San Diego to attend college,” said Mary. “I have been married for thirty-five years to a wonderful man, and have two adult children ages 25 and 27.” Mary had previously worked as a realtor, but retired in 2009 after a boating accident left her with a broken back. Now, she mainly concentrates on her many volunteer endeavors and taking care of her elderly father.


Susan, who grew up in nearby Newport Beach, moved to San Diego in 1984. “[I] have been involved in several community service/philanthropy organizations over the past thirty years,” she shared. “My husband Jim is a deputy district attorney of thirty years. I have two children, Rachel (21) and Mark (20).” In addition to her volunteer work, Susan has a day job as a mortgage banking consultant.

Even with all that’s on their plates, these do-gooders manage to keep volunteering a top priority. And when asked about one wish they have for the organization, they replied: “That Rady Children’s Hospital continues to provide unparalleled medical treatment and education and that it remain on the cutting edge of technical and medical advances in the treatment of children through on-going research, community outreach, and attracting outstanding medical professionals.”


Group: Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary
Mission: To work in partnership with Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego and to support its mission through advocating for the health and well-being of children, increasing community awareness of Rady Children’s, and fundraising.
Phone: 858-966-8477

Names: Mary Reynolds and Susan Atkins
Community: Carmel Valley
Volunteer Affiliation: Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary – Del Mar Unit;
Mary – Auxiliary Board Member
Occupations: Mary – Former Realtor now caretaker for her elderly father;
Susan – Mortgage Banking Consultant
Family: Mary – Husband: Jim; Children: Cora and Jimmy;
Susan – Husband: Jim; Children: Rachel and Mark
Hobbies: Mary – Cooking, hiking, gym workouts, fashion;
Susan – Reading, volunteering, walking/hiking, time with friends