Marni Barta never expected that a little bout of spring cleaning would turn into a full-fledged charity.
“We were out of our house for a year, and we had to pack suitcases with the essentials of what we would be needing,” Barta said. “It was very eye-opening in the sense that we were able to see what items were necessary and what were excessive.”
After moving back into her home, the Weinberg sophomore and her three sisters, Lexi, Romi and Berni, cleaned out the closets and noticed how many movies they had outgrown.
“My friend had been in the hospital a few years earlier and by talking to her mom we were made aware that children watch movies to pass the time and get through what can be a scary experience,” Barta said. “So then we decided to donate our movies to the hospital where she had been treated. From there we decided to ask our friends and families for donations.”
Barta and her sisters founded Kid Flicks in 2002. Within the first week, the girls collected more than 100 movies.
“It was very encouraging to see the support our family and friends were giving us,” she said. “It was almost as if their enthusiasm is what inspired us to develop this ongoing project.”
Each hospital receives a movie library of 100 assorted films that appeal to both boys and girls of all ages. Once Kid Flicks collects 100 movies, it finds another hospital to donate to. As of November 2010, Kid Flicks has donated 55,500 movies to 555 hospitals throughout the United States and South Africa.
“I never expected that at such a young age I would be doing something so extensive in regards to business and community service,” she said. “It shows that it does not matter how old you are, if you are passionate about something you can make it happen.”
Currently, Kid Flicks is one of 10 finalists in the L’Oreal Women of Worth grant. Already they have received a $5,000 grant and a $5,000 donation to ovarian cancer research in Berni’s name. If Kid Flicks becomes the competition’s national honoree, by receiving the most number of votes by November 24, it will receive an additional $25,000, which would be enough to donate to approximately 940 hospitals.
“I encourage Northwestern students to help support Kid Flicks by voting for the organization and for Berni Barta,” Marni said.
More information about Kid Flicks can be found on its website, www.kidflicks.org.