Yet another incredible week for our UWP participants in Laconia!

Jenn Gifford - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

By Tanya Colton, France

Laconia, New Hampshire has not had an Up with People (UWP) show in the last 16 years. This allowed us as a group to both experience amazing audiences that were really excited to see us back in the town and meet wonderful people on CI sites as well as in host families during our week here. 

This week during our Saturday show, I had a great experience meeting a young woman of 14 years that is a very keen potential future UWP participant. She and I had a wonderful conversation on how we, as UWP participants, try to translate our message to our audiences. This young lady told me that she was always hooked to her phone and never really paid attention to the world around her. However, after coming to our show, she understood that she never realized the severity of the many world events that are happening around due to always being on her phone. She then decided to stop and look around more. 

This conversation made me realize how much we impact people while we perform. It's a realization I'm glad I've made. 

We're progressing through the tour and it never fails to amaze me the amount of people who get touched just by what we do. 

Historical Facts and Memorable Experiences!

Jenn Gifford - Tuesday, September 09, 2014
Having the opportunity to travel around the world and seeing all different kinds of cultures and cities has made me value the little things that make each of those places unique.

By: Giselle Kuri, Mexico

My name is Giselle Kuri and I am Promotion Manager for Up with People, so I have had the chance to travel with a purpose while interacting with cultures from all over the earth for the past year and a half. I have been living in Plymouth for the past 3 weeks with a wonderful family, and I have really gotten engaged to the story and culture of this region. 

Coming from Mexico, I have had a fantastic experience discovering the history behind the United States and I have enjoyed hearing how proud people are to belong to America's hometown! I learned that in September of 1620, about 100 pilgrims came to America looking for freedom and with that trip they changed the course of the world. I like to think that we are doing the same now by bringing 100 students from 15 countries to Plymouth during the week of September 8-15.

In Up with People this semester we have 100 students from 15 different countries who are dedicating these six months to volunteer and make an impact around the world. Every week, our group travels to a different city where we work with local organizations. We live with host families and then share the message of global understanding through a professional performance that features songs and dances from all over the world, original music and pop medleys.

I am very proud to have the opportunity to be one of the people organizing this visit to the South Shore that Rogers & Gray is making happen as they did 2 years ago when they first sponsored us to come here. I have seen the power that the cast has when impacting the communities we visit and I believe that we are making history as the pilgrims did almost 400 years ago. I hope to have a lot people joining us for the performances on September 12 and 14 at the Plymouth Memorial Hall to enjoy a dynamic, cultural, life-changing show! 

The proceeds from both performances will benefit Rogers & Gray Charitable Foundation.

Tickets available at:

Cumberland, RI

Jenn Gifford - Thursday, September 04, 2014

By TJ Neilson, Colorado, USA


My name is TJ Neilson and this is my first semester in Up With People.

We are currently in Cumberland, Rhode Island. Although this is only our second stop in our tour, so much has already happened. I am rooming with Kota, the drummer in our cast this semester and we have a wonderful host mother named Claudette. She lives in a house with a wonderful view of a hillside that used to hold milk cows. Her daughter is an UWP alumna.

Monday was a travel day, and after some regional learning in Boston, we arrived in RI. My first real impression in Rhode Island was the building we arrived at; a gorgeous church with scenery to match. After arriving at the church we spent some time with our home-teams where we shared our “Highs” and “Lows” of the week before and played charades! After our home-team time, we were released to find our host families! Upon arrival to our new home, Kota and I were greeted with an amazing view from the living room and pulled chicken sandwiches! Claudette opened up very fast to me and Kota and was friendly from the start. After she told us many stories, we went to bed at 10 PM sharp.

The rest of the week consisted of our community service projects. Throughout the week, I painted part of an elementary school, helped with a radio interview, did an activity called "Take a Stand" in a local school, and assisted the admissions crew. These were just the activities I participated in, though. Other students did many other activities. I even heard about some students doing a fashion show and Zumba at an elderly home!

As you can see, our week was already very busy. However, when Friday came, it got even busier. We still had two shows to perform. The first show was a shortened preview of our show for the students at Cumberland High School. The second was our full show that we performed that evening. Both of those shows were fantastic and the audience seemed to love it! During one of our shows, I noticed that one girl, and only one girl, in the second row stood up and starting dancing to a Britany Spears song in our 90's medley. That made me smile! Saturday's evening show had a very large audience. It was the most powerful performance up until now in my opinion.

During this short week I’ve already learned so much that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I’m so excited for the upcoming months and how much I will learn there as well :)

Response to the Ice Bucket Challenge

Jenn Gifford - Thursday, September 04, 2014
Cast B 2014 challenged multiple organizations to continue spreading the word about ALS Awareness during their Ice Bucket Challenge video. Kiwanis International, Cumberland High School, and Tec de Monterrey Campus Santa Fe have all accepted that challenge and have continued to spread awareness through their videos.  Watch their videos below:

Kiwanis International

Cumberland High School, RI

Tec de Monterrey Campus Santa Fe

Cast B 2014 takes the Ice Bucket Challenge to the Next Level!

Jenn Gifford - Thursday, August 28, 2014
Cast B 2014 not only accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge from the office staff and Rogers & Gray Insurance Agency, they took it to the next level with some help from the Andover Fire Department! 

To learn more about ALS visit

Cast B 2014 is on the Road!

Jenn Gifford - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

By Tanya Colton, France

Cast B 2014 has officially started our tour, and we have just finished spending a week in Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts. We arrived on Monday both excited and nervous to meet our host families, and start our first week on the road. After spending time with our host families on Monday evening, we started our Community Impact projects around Merrimack Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday. I had the wonderful opportunity to work with an organization called 'Girls Inc.' 

Girls Inc. is a non-profit that encourages young women to become inspirational, strong and bold. It was great fun to spend time with the girls from this wonderful organization. I got to experience the mission of the organization first hand when I asked one girl what her favorite movie was, and she replied with, "Mulan. Because she's strong, independent and can defend herself." That was truly the highlight of my day and made me appreciate the beauty of Girls Inc. 

Thursday and Friday night were our first two shows on the road, which brought a lot of extra enthusiasm and energy. We were able to come together as a cast and have two incredible performances in the city of Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts. 

We had the pleasure to have one of the girls from Girls Inc. and her mother come watch the second show. She was invited on stage to participate in 'Say Hey'. It was wonderful to see how many people were there to support the cast. But now, we will start heading off to Cumberland, Rhode Island! 

To learn more about Girls, Inc. visit their website at

The Adventure Begins

Jenn Gifford - Tuesday, August 19, 2014

By: TJ from Colorado, USA and Joram from Belgium

More than a month ago we arrived together to meet more than 80 other people from 15 different countries for a life changing experience. We all come from different backgrounds, cultures, habits, ages, and experiences, ready for our Up with People adventure. The first day was really hard: learning all those new names and being tired from long flights. We were all exited to meet our new host families.  The first month of our program was the staging period, and we stayed in Denver, Colorado in the United States.

During the first two weeks we learned the songs and dances for the inspiring Up with People show, Voices. However, it was not only singing and dancing. We also had some workshops about leadership skills, our different culture background, goals, visions for future life, as well as others. A very interesting workshop was about stereotypes. We discussed questions such as "So it is good or bad to organize all people from one region into one big group?" and "How do we see people around us and what impact has it on our behavior when doing so?" The most important question we discussed is that for the next six months we are the ambassadors of our country in USA / Mexico / Cuba / Europe. We must consider how we are going to represent our home country to the people we meet.

Last week was all about putting the individual songs and dances together and start to rehearse the entire show. Friday, August 15, 2014 was THE day! Our first show for a big audience. We were so tired from all the rehearsals and long days, but the adrenaline from knowing that we would perform for an audience of 700 people and the team spirit made us cross our own boundaries. That was an amazing feeling!

After each day in staging, we could look forward to going home to a nice place. Little by little we changed our sentence from: "I’m going to my host family's place" to calling them "my family" and "my new home."

Now we are heading off to the east coast of USA for the start of our tour, so more stories will follow soon!



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