After more than a decade away from the historic Strand Theatre, Cathy Amato has returned to her managing position just in time for her first Summer Kids Series in 12 years.
The series offers weekly showings of recent children's movies where the price of admission is simply a donation to that week's charity. Amato started the program with her husband, Jerry, before handing over management of the theater to Kara Long in 2002. Long kept the series growing and grew its charitable donations program.
"(Long) finished up the donations part of it that we had just started to enforce," Amato said.
The program takes place at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays, and it has been a big hit in Delaware, with anywhere from 800 to 900 people attending each week. This makes for quite a few donations to the local charities, which include the Common Ground Free Store, People in Need and the Delaware General Health District's Women, Infants and Children program.
Amato said the list of charities is fairly established, but she was aware of a few new ones to add this year.
However, the large crowds flocking to the Kids Series also can be overwhelming for the small theater. Amato continually stressed how busy the summer season is for her, especially because of the summer series movies. Still, she's happy to be back.
"It's wonderful, refreshing and challenging," she said.
The theater must make a minimum amount of money through concessions and other ticket sales in order to pay for the films, since it does not make any profit on the movies.
The Kiwanis Club of Delaware County will sponsor one of the upcoming films to help relieve this financial burden.
In addition to supporting charities, the program also strives to bring the community together.
"I like (the program) because it brings a diverse group of people who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it," said 14-year-old Griffin Clark, who attended the weekly movies as a young child and is now volunteering with the program.
"It gives other people a chance to feel included."
This mission statement is fulfilled through other programs, as well. The Strand hosts an annual Comics for a Cure night to raise money for the American Cancer Society. It also offers free viewings of popular television programs such as Downton Abbey and the June 26 World Cup game.