Barnhart volunteers and is on the board of Backdoor after recovering from a near-death illness a year ago.
Since Connie Barnhart
moved to Wichita Falls more than 12 years ago with her
psychiatrist husband Benny and her
daughter Brianna, she
has selflessly donated her
time and considerable energy to nonprofits. She has volunteered with the Junior League of Wichita Falls, the Woman's Forum, the Center for Nonprofit Management, the PTA and Backdoor Theatre Board of Directors.
"I love the idea of giving back to the community," she
said."I feel like God has very much blessed our family and I feel an obligation and desire to do that."
Before moving to the area, Barnhart
taught music full-time in the Arlington Independent School District
went from being a full-time working professional to a "quote stay-at-home mom."
"I like to fill my time," she
said."But I think the main reason I volunteer is I truly believe God's word that 'to whom much is given, much is required.' And that is a way to give back." Barnhart credits the Junior League as the service organization that helped her become part of Wichita Falls, introducing her to the area and other like-minded women and organizations.
Through the Junior League
came to work on events such as Christmas Magic and Falls Fest publicity and was able to discover other worthwhile organizations as well as to meet leaders from across the community.
"That led to additional opportunities," she
said."The women I met there got me involved in the Woman's
Forum and the Hospice Golf Tournament."She
also served as president of the PTA at Crockett Elementary
daughter attended the school.
Until a year ago, Barnhart
took whatever opportunity she
was offered just to be able to help.But an illness last year changed her
"A year ago, almost exactly, I almost died," she
...While Barnhart has been active on the Board of Directors at the Backdoor Theatre for nearly four years, it became her primary volunteer focus.
It was an easy decision for her
has been around theater since high school, and because both her
daughter and husband also perform there.
"What's perfect about Backdoor
is that it's something that I love, but it's also something that my daughter loves and something she
is involved in.And now, my husband is starting the process to join the board," she
, an opera major in college, was also scheduled to sing with Havona this last weekend at Backdoor
at the group's second performance.It just so happens that making music together was how the couple originally met at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth when her
future husband played bass in her
jazz band. Barnhart grew up in Mansfield, Texas, and attended college nearby at TWU, though she was born in Missouri.
The Barnharts also have one daughter, who is 13 and will be an eighth-grader this year at Zundy Junior High.
In addition to appearing in Backdoor presentations, she
sang and acted at the Mansfield Community Theatre, where she
was one of the founding troupe of members of the theater back in high school. In college, Barnhart earned a bachelor's in music education and a master's in education and enjoyed her eight-year tenure as an elementary school music teacher.
misses teaching a little, Barnhart views her
life now as a journey that involves her
family and the arts.
not at Backdoor or doing things with her
family like watching films or working on plays or rehearsing music performances, she
manages to find time to read - mostly Christian self-help books - and also to decorate. Her
personal goals are straightforward."I want us to continue to grow as a family, to grow in my belief, and to continue to give something back."
is excited about the recent changes at Backdoor
and seeing the community theater become healthier.