Marni and Berni Barta, ages 16 and 15, co-founded Kid Flicks five years ago. They collect new and used DVDs to donate to Children's Hospitals and Pediatric Departments throughout the United States. To date, they have donated 23,500 movies to 235 different hospitals. Each hospital receives a "movie library" of 100 assorted films that appeal to toddlers through teenagers.
Kid Flicks began when they realized their family had many movies that they no longer watched. One of Marni's friends was treated for Leukemia when they were in first grade and they remembered that she watched movies when she was in the hospital to help district her. Marni and Berni, along with their older two sisters, delivered their old movies to the hospital where Marni's friend had been treated. They were so well received that they decided to collect as many movies as possible to donate to as many hospitals as possible. They started a "collection drive" at their elementary and religious school and asked their older sisters to start drives at their Middle and High School. They also wrote letters to everyone they knew and to movie executives. Their pediatrician advertises for Kid Flicks in the weekly on-line newsletter that goes out to the 2,000 families in her practice and her office serves as a "drop off" site for movie donations.
Marni and Berni have involved many other young people in their efforts. They have been invited to speak at different schools and organizations and have inspired students from all over the country to start their own Kid Flicks drives through their schools, clubs, churches, temples, etc.
Kid Flicks is an ongoing activity. Marni and Berni plan to continue their work once go on to college. Their goal is to supply every Children's Hospital and Pediatric Department in the country with a Kid Flicks "movie library."
They began donating to hospitals in Southern California, but when donations continued to pour in, they expanded, eventually covering the whole country. In 2005, Kid Flicks became a 501 © (3) not-for-profit. Marni and Berni have received some grant money and awards to cover the cost of shipping the movies, and they also send an annual fundraising letter to past movie donors to cover their costs.
The girls know there is great impact from their endeavors by the numerous thank-you notes that they have received from the hospitals. Too give some idea of the thousands of children they are serving., here are two quotes from notes they have received: "Your generosity will brighten the day for the 50+ inpatients and 200+ outpatients served by our department daily," from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "Each year nearly 400,000 children visit Cincinnati Children's Hospital from all over the country and around the world," from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
Kid Flicks is innovative and unique in that, according to a number of the Child Life Specialists Marni and Berni have spoken to, there is no other organization that provides this service. When children are in the hospital, they are often scared, lonely, bored, and possibly in pain; the idea behind Kid Flicks is to help them get through a difficult time in their young lives.