by Kelley gusich | photo by Soul of Photography

Perfect Philanthropy

student_bernard2When Holly Bernard was in seventh grade she and her mom joined the National Charity League (NCL) as a mother-daughter team. NCL combines teams and provides them with the opportunity to serve in their community. “National Charity League has been an extremely rewarding experience for me,” Holly said. “I’ve grown so much closer to my mom while doing charity work with her through the league. NCL has taught me humility and gratefulness for all that I have.” She completed a whopping 221 hours of volunteer work during her six years with the program, earning her The Merci Award from The Santa Fe Christian School for having completed the most hours of service out of anyone in her senior class.

The Autism Tree Project Foundation (ATPF) is Holly’s favorite philanthropy, where the NCL girls serve as mentors to girls in the San Diego area who’ve been diagnosed with autism. ATPF coordinates over 16 free programs and services aimed at improving girls’ confidence and social communications. For example, the Del Sol Chapter of the Girl’s Mentor League was founded in 2009 with just four girls at the first event. Now this program serves over 260 mothers and daughters. Holly organizes activities such as art camps, beach walks, spa days, and dances – a rare variety of activities for girls on the autism spectrum. “The art camp was my favorite activity because the girls can’t always express themselves through words,” Holly shared, “so they learned how to express their feelings and emotions through art.”


Name: Holly Christine Bernard (18)
School: Santa Fe Christian
Grade: 12
Parent: Lynne Bernard
Siblings: Sister – Colette (35); Brothers – Brady (37) and Tyler (25)
Favorite Places in Del Mar: Power House Park, Poseidon Restaurant, and the beach


student_bernard3

Holly’s favorite subjects in school are art, Bible, government, and history, where she is encouraged by art teacher Mrs. Farrington, Bible teacher Mr. Lyons, and government teacher Miss Ruge. Her community in Del Mar stimulates her creativity and her mother inspires her as a role model and best friend. “My mom has always supported every decision I’ve ever made and has always told me that I can be anything I want to be.” She continued, “I always joke with her when she says that by saying, ‘Even an astronaut?’ and she says, ‘Sure, if you put your mind to it you’ll be an amazing astronaut!’”

Holly plans on attending Pepperdine University, where she’d like to study to become a pediatrician before returning as a medical missionary to Rwanda – which she had the chance to visit this past summer with 13 other students. What might people be surprised to learn about Holly? She has a pet snake named Snape.

Holly plans on attending Pepperdine University, where she’d like to study to be a pediatrician before returning as a medical missionary to Rwanda — which she had the chance to visit this past summer with 13 other students.