Up With People

The world-renowned organization Up With People recently had a show-stopping performance here in Naperville. Each year, about 100 young adults from more than 20 countries travel the globe, celebrating life and bringing different cultures together through song and dance.

The group’s calling this year’s show “A Song for the World.” Members say that the message is all about empowering individuals to bring peace to their communities.

“We’re trying to get people to leave here tonight thinking that they’re one person and that one person can really make a difference,” said Up With People CEO Alain Thiry. Thiry performed with the group back in 1975 and has been working for the organization ever since.

Between performances the group also serves the community. In Naperville, they put together more than 6,000 binders for children in Haiti and played games with kids at the YMCA.

“We get to know the communities a lot more and see what’s going on, and I think it’s really beautiful to impact & to make a difference,” said Cecilia Dantas, an Up With People performer from Brazil.

Proceeds from the performance’s ticket sales benefit local not for profits, such as KidsMatter, Kidz Kabaret, and NCO Youth and Family Services.

“Having Up With People in this community has been fantastic. Not only because of the monetary benefits but mostly because of what they represent to our community,” said IdaLynn Wenhold, Executive Director of KidsMatter. “They are all about being positive roll models.”

And the audience felt that positive energy throughout the show.
“It’s just moving. It makes you wanna smile, makes you wanna think,” said Up With People Alumnus Linda Mongin. “And it just makes you feel alive.”

Naperville resident Carol Anderson agrees. “It was absolutely wonderful, very very upbeat, fantastic talent. I loved every second,” she said.

Up With People began 45 years ago and there are more than 20,000 alumni world-wide. The next stop for this year’s cast is the Phillipines.

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