Three years ago, Jeri Lewis, community development and marketing director at Kingswell Seminary in Middletown, decided that Middletown needed more “positive family friendly events,” so she decided to take matters into her own hands.
“I was researching community events that bring families and communities together and movie nights seem to do that in other cities,” Lewis explains. She mentioned the idea to a friend, who helped her gather resources, and soon her brain child, the Family Movie Nights program, was born. “I’m amazed how big they have gotten.”
Family Movie Nights are available to children of all ages and their families. Both the program and the snacks provided are free thanks to sponsors like the Community Building Institute, who provided equipment as well as two screens when it secured funding for Family Movie Nights for two years. Because everything is free, families from all walks of life can enjoy these events without worry.
“It builds into families by giving them no reason to not bring their kids and spend time with them,” Lewis says of the impact Family Movie Nights have on families and the community. “I love being involved in the movie nights because there is just something about all walks of life coming together in one location. Seeing so many interact together laugh together and love on these kids and other families there’s no other feeling in the world like that. For three hours a week everyone is at peace and enjoying their family, neighbors and a good family friendly movie. It’s pretty awesome.”
Movies will include Storks, on June 2; Moana, on June 9; Angry Birds, on June 23; Finding Dory, on July 14; Lego Batman, on July 21; A Dog’s Purpose, on July 28; Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, on August 11; and The Jungle Book, on August 25. The movies are chosen based on what came out in 2016, and the movie shown on the first Friday of each month is picked based on the theme of the First Friday downtown.
Family Movie Nights take place in community parks, such as Damon Park, Goldman Park, and Jacot Park, as well as downtown Middletown behind the PAC. The program starts for the summer in June and going on until August 25. Many community organizations are involved, such as the city of Middletown, the Middletown Community Foundation, Kingswell, Forge Middletown, the Breiel Church, the Berachah Church, the Mercy Point Church, the Calvary Baptist Church, and the Salvation Army. Parking will be provided by each location, but guests will need to bring their own blankets or chairs.
To keep updated and learn more, visit Family Movie Nights on Facebook.