Up With People

In Community, Lola Shreveportby Lola Magazine

Up with People is a global education organization that empowers young people to be positive agents of change in their communities and the world. Through our unique blend of music, social action, and international travel, we impact communities for the better while providing youth the knowledge and experience they need for today’s complex global environment.  For more than 50 years Up with People has been breaking down cultural barriers and enhancing understanding to help create a more hopeful, trusting and peaceful world.

Families in Ruston and Shreveport will have the unique opportunity to bring a bit of the world into their home between September 16 and September 30 when an international cast of Up with People(UWP) arrives in Ruston on September 16 and then continues with their final U.S. tour stop in Shreveport on September 23. Ruston and Shreveport are two stops on the international cast’s 15-week world tour which will continue with stops in Canada, Italy, Germany and Switzerland.

UWP exists to empower young people to be positive agents of change in their communities, countries and the world. The group of 100 young adults from around the globe will volunteer, live with 40+ host families in Ruston and Shreveport, volunteer 1,000+ hours of community service and perform benefit concerts in each community. Kelly Hogan, owner of The Fashion of Ruston and Up with People alumna was asked what she hopes UWP will bring to the communities in Louisiana. Hogan’s response: “I would have to say joy and hope. The message which Up with People carries into a community is such a positive one.  The music is also extremely powerful to me and always has been…I look forward to it being an awesome celebration!”

There are many ways for locals in Ruston and Shreveport to participate in the Up with People visit, though a favorite always seems to be getting involved as a host family. Host families are being sought to keep one or more students from the 100-member Up with People cast, which represents 15 to 20 countries and more than 15 states in the U.S.A.  “I have so many memories living with host families! From staying with a college student in Hammond, LA to visiting Finland! Almost every night we would go to the sauna in Finland which is an interesting part of the Finnish culture,” said Mark Miller, Dean of Students for Centenary College and Up with People alumnus.

Local host families are asked to provide a bed, local transportation at the beginning and end of each day, as well as breakfast and most dinners. Families are being sought to host cast members between September 16-23 in Ruston and September 23-30 in Shreveport.  Up with People cast members are out of the house during the day volunteering at various locations across the Ruston and Shreveport community…such as Lincoln Parish Schools and Centenary College. This schedule leaves cast members free most evenings to be home with the family participating in their activities and interests.

Up with People’s visit to Ruston is presented by LA Tech with support from Century Next Bank, Argent Financial, ACHIEVE Program at Lincoln Parish Schools and Lincoln Health Foundation, Lola Magazine and The Peach Radio. The visit to Shreveport is presented by Centenary College with support from the Rotary Club of Shreveport, Shreveport Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau and Shreveport Chamber of Commerce. Shreveport ticket proceeds benefit The Centenary Fund for Student Scholarships.

Those interested in hosting should contact Sean Cortes at scortes@upwithpeople.org.