By Jesika Millano
AL DIA TODAY
MELBOURNE – Around 100 young adults from the nonprofit organization ‘Up With People’ recently visited Melbourne to spread unity through community service and music.
The volunteers, ages of 18 and 29, come from 20 different countries. They came to the city March 12-19 with musical to fundraise for various charity organizations.
“Live on Tour” is the name of the show this group presented at Eau Gallie High School on March 16 and 17. The two-hour show tells the story of a generation committed to unity and hope. They use their own original songs, top level choreography, and colorful costumes typical to the setting of the performance.
“Our main mission is to unite the world through the universal language of music and build bridges of understanding through the nations,” shared Lieke Van Den Berg, a volunteer from The Netherlands.
Every six months, this international cast of young people visit a different city each week. Approximately 60 countries, 40,000 cities and more than 22,000 people from 96 countries have been part of this unique project that has been taking place for 53 years.
In this opportunity, Brevard families hosted these young individuals in their households. They also worked on several community service projects such as beach clean up efforts and care for those with disabilities. After seven days in the city, the cast of “Up With People” continued its tour through Vero Beach, Grindelwald, and Glynn County.
“We are mostly art lovers. After a month of artistic and cultural training, we travel together with a professional staff throughout three regions of the world,” said Van Den Berg, who began working with the organization 8 months ago.
For these young people, the possibility of seeing a new city every week in diverse countries and continents is almost irresistible.
“Being in contact with different cultures, ways of life, customs, and ideologies is an exercise of respect and recognition. It can also be a challenge, because when you don’t have the language needed to communicate, you rediscover the things that make us human beings. You realize that even though we may not all share the same language, there are so many things that unite us. You realize that you are not the only person in the world, and the need to act with a global conscience,” she shared.
“Community service was one of the experiences that allowed me to gain a different perspective of sensitizing people in the world,” ,” said Van Den Berg, who is 25 year old “
“I feel very honored to have been given the opportunity to be part of ‘Up With People’, because we are opening the doors of understanding among people who are different from each other and generating friendships that cross all borders,” she added.
‘Viva la gente’, based in Denver, Colorado, was established with the purpose of uniting people from various groups and helping those who could benefit from community service initiatives. For more information, visit www.upwithpeople.org.