Local residents help bring Up With People to Salt Lake areaOct 28, 2016 12:04PM ● By Sandra Osborn
Up With People aims to “bridge cultural barriers and create global understanding through service and music.” (Up With People)
By Sandra Osborn | [email protected]
South Jordan, Utah - For 51 years, the nonprofit organization Up With People has taken young travelers across the globe performing and creating an impact in the communities they visit. The UWP cast of more than 100 young people representing 21 countries came to Utah this September for a week of community action and a message to “bridge cultural barriers and create global understanding through service and music.”
South Jordan residents Terry and Kicki Schade played a key role in bringing UWP to Utah this year. Their connection to the program goes back to their own experience traveling with UWP 30 years ago. Terry is from Pennsylvania; Kicki is from Sweden. They met while on tour and later married and had two children. Now their daughter, Alicen, is a member of the Cast B16 traveling through cities in the American West, Mexico, Sweden, Finland and Estonia.
“We were excited to help bring UWP to South Jordan and the Greater Salt Lake Area because we know the impact it has played in our lives,” Kicki said. “Clearly, not only through our marriage and our children and the people we’ve met along the way, but we’d like others to share this experience, and why not have it here in our home community?”
The Shades worked to recruit families to host the cast and reached out to a network of connections in the area to create the service-learning experience characteristic of the program.
The cast started off hosting an international culture fair at the American International School of Utah in Murray and connecting to students from East High in Salt Lake City. Throughout the week, the cast also split off into groups of 10 or 15 to work with a variety of organizations, including the Catholic Community Services Homeless Shelter in Midvale, Bad Dog Arts in Salt Lake City, Pacifica Senior Living in South Salt Lake and the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper.
“We took the weeds out of the gardens at the aquarium,” cast member Daniela Gomez, from Mexico, said. “It was fun for us, but it’s about impact. The man in charge there said that it would have taken him hours to get that done since he was only one person doing it. But with our help, we were able to get it done in one hour.”
The cast also helped plant tulips at the Thanksgiving Point Gardens in Lehi and spent three days working on constructing a trail that is accessible for all abilities off of Deer Ridge Drive in Draper.
“Building the trail in the mountains was super hard but super nice,” Charlotte Villers. from Belgium, said.
“There’s power in the numbers of having a lot of people work really hard and get things done a lot quicker,” Gage Halverson from Portland, Oregon, said.
For their Regional Learning Day and Forum, Up With People focused on the topic of religion, a hot topic everywhere but one that characterizes Salt Lake.
The cast had the opportunity to do Q&A sessions with representatives from different religions, including Hinduism, Islam and Christian denominations, including Catholicism and Mormonism. They visited the Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple in South Jordan and toured Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City.
“The catholic churches in this region have been very helpful,” Kicki said. “We were able to connect with St. John the Baptist Parish in Draper, the St. Andrews Church in Riverton and the St. Joseph the Worker Parish in West Jordan. The cast has been speaking to their congregations and has participated in their festivals.”
Terry and Kicki joined the cast for a tour at the Hindu Temple.
“What a wonderful opportunity here in the heart of the LDS church to have an opportunity to learn about the Hindu faith,” Terry said. “You have that juxtaposition of religions and setting that makes the experience really unique. What could be more memorable? Because then, when they tour the LDS Temple and the Visitor’s Center, they get the chance to compare and contrast and talk about things.”
UWP is a non-religious, non political group,” Terry said. “But religion is a part of our daily lives—individually and collectively. Much of the conflict around the world revolves around religion, so giving these young people a chance to be exposed more deeply and differently is part of resolving some of that conflict and bringing peace to the world.”
“When you hear about bombings in Belgium, you immediately think of friends you have there,” Kicki said. “They’re not just places anymore; they’re faces connected to all those places. Even though we have different religions and different traditions, we are very much all alike.”
UWP concluded their visit to SLC with a musical performance at the Barn at Thanksgiving Point on Saturday, Sept. 24.