White House recognizes sisters at volunteer event

Marni ’09 and Berni Barta ’10 listened to President George W. Bush’s “Remarks on Volunteering” speech at the White House Sept. 8. The Barta sisters received an invitation in recognition of Kid Flicks, an organization they founded to donate “movie libraries” to pediatric departments and children’s hospitals around the country.

The Barta sisters received the President’s Volunteer Service Award last January. In his speech, President Bush specifically welcomed this group of recipients to the event.

“It was inspiring to meet all the people there who had done great things for the country,” Marni said.

The event was held on the Southern Lawn of the White House. Roughly 300 people attended, but no more than 20 were students, Marni said. The first hour was spent meeting the other attendees and exchanging stories of volunteer experiences.

“A lot of the people had dedicated their professional lives to serving their community,” Marni said. “It opened my eyes to the possibilities of a future career in volunteering.”

Bush, who called on Americans to dedicate at least 4,000 hours over a lifetime to serving “our nation through acts of compassion,” applauded the attendees for their continued dedication to volunteerism. Bush called for Congress to permanently establish programs like Citizen Corps and Volunteers for Prosperity in an effort to foster an awareness of the benefits of volunteerism around the country.

“The whole trip was so quick that it seemed unreal to one day be listening to the President of the United States speak and the next day be listening to lectures in class,” Marni said.

“It was encouraging to see so many people that had helped the community and world in so many different ways,” Berni said.