International group visits Albuquerque to work and dance

up-with-people

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The international non-profit Up with People travels all around the world to do volunteer work, and the group is on its way to Albuquerque. But the group doesn’t just plan to work while in town, it plans to dance.

“What we do is we take 100 young adults, 17-29 and they’re from 20 countries,” Addison O’Conner said.

O’Conner is a promotional representative with Up with People. She travels ahead of the group in search of host families and organizations that can use the help for the next week.

While in Albuquerque, O’Conner said the group will spend a week working with the ARCA, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Mandy’s Farm, Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program, Roadrunner Food Bank, Saranam and Talking Talons.

Then, at the end of the week, the group puts on a live musical.

Brianna Jimenez, 19, said she still remembers the first time she saw Up with People in her home town.

“They came to Tijuana,” she said. “It was actually the first time I fell in love with a concert. It was high energetic. There were people from all over the world in the same place,” Jimenez said.

Now Jimenez is part of that dream.

The group travels for six months at a time.

“This semester they’re going to the southwest U.S. and then Europe, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany,” O’Conner said.

O’Conner said the international non-profit’s main goal is bridge cultural barriers. They do that through volunteer work and music.

“The show this year is called The Journey,” O’Conner said. “It’s a journey through time, through regions and through humanity.”

She said the group works hard to demonstrate these themes throughout the show within the songs, attire and the dialogue.

“It’s to inspire community members and especially the youth to want to do good things in the community,” she said.

The group arrives on Monday. They perform at the end of next week at the Hiland Theatre.

“Thank you so much Albuquerque for bringing us to your town,” Brekken Baker said. “We’re so excited for you guys to have an impact on us but hopefully we have an impact on Albuquerque.”

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