Up With People
What is Up With People? This crazy, surreal, unbelievable 6 month journey has completely altered the way I view the world we live in, and also how I function each and every day as a sister, a daughter, an employee, a global citizen, a human being. I left for Up With People as a girl who just wanted to travel the world, do some theatre, and make a difference while doing so. Never did I think that six months later I would return home maybe more confused as ever, but at the same time, with such a clear vision of who I am as a person; and what I can do to create change back home. I learned about how taking small steps in my community to alter the way society perceives pressing issues and global topics could lead to small changes made globally. I learned how to actively listen, use my voice for a cause, yell for those who cannot, but also silently observe when necessary. Up With PEOPLE. It’s about people. It’s about making places become faces, about how to make your world feel just a little bit smaller.
Up With People’s mission is to empower young people to be positive agents of change - using music and action as tools to do so. We believe young people have the power to create actual, lasting change, and we strive to bring this belief to others, all over the world. Cheesy and cliché may be two words that pop into your head when you hear these words, or you may feel motivated, inspired, ready to also take action - whether that be as a part of Up With People, or on your own. Either way, we really do just that - empower, inspire, and motivate others around us to want to be a part of a movement like this. Even by just spending an hour with a group of high school students discussing global issues - some sort of light is shed on topics that are so pressing in today's world. Some of these conversations may be ones that kids (or adults), have never had, or never felt comfortable enough to do so. I think that in Up With People you truly adapt to living outside of your own little bubble. You start to step into other people’s shoes, and really see the world from new angles, new perspectives. Uppies aren’t heroes - we’re just a big group of young people who want to see some change in the world we live in - so instead of just talking about it - we act. Needless to say, we’re also lucky as ever. Sometimes living on the road and adapting to new lifestyles every week can be draining. But constantly reminding myself that I have the privilege to be doing what I’m doing is helpful and extremely necessary.
It was while traveling with this organization that I realized how caught up we as a society become in everyday bullshit. Things that seem earth-shattering, trivial issues that we spend minutes, hours, days, weeks & months on end worrying about, are just that - trivial. In the long run, you will look back on your life - and what I learned is that you will not remember the day that bumper-to-bumper traffic made you a few minutes late for your hair appointment. You will not remember the times you worried about repeating an outfit, or how many likes your post got on Instagram. You WILL remember the nights you laughed until your stomach hurt - and your phone was plugged in upstairs. You will remember the morning you threw on clothes and skipped the makeup - just to go see the sunrise on the water. The little things become the important things, and the "big” things are swept to the side; because you finally realize the “big” things just aren’t that deep.
Being a part of Up With People reinforces so many of these morals. It shows you how small the world can be, and it constantly reminds you that it doesn't have to be pretty - because it’s beautiful.
If you took the time to read this wordy summary of one of the most amazing organizations that I am so damn passionate about, feel free to read more on the blog - some entries on early weeks of my first semester, as well as post-semester and pre-second semester thoughts!!