Up with People brings its message to the Grand Valley

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GRAND JUNCTION (KJCT) -- The Up with People organization is celebrating its 50th year of traveling, performing and creating change all over the world.

The global tour group made a stop in the Grand Valley this week to share their message with our community.

Up with People volunteers are college-aged, and many say they're taking a break to do some good while traveling or just building their resume after graduation.

Up with People group member Michael Johnsen said that travelling around the world has shown him that people are more alike than they are different.

The Up with People tour has brought more than 115 people to the Grand Valley from 21 different countries, volunteering at our local non-profits this week and using music to inspire others.

“It really restores your faith in humanity to see a group of people from such diverse backgrounds come together and work together— it has been a real inspiration,” said Starlene Collins, manager of the Western Colorado Food Bank of the Rockies.

On Wednesday, the group was lending a hand at the local Habitat for Humanity and the Western Colorado Food Bank of the Rockies.

"There are lots of other deserving organizations, but I think that housing is a huge issue for folks,” said Maranda Wolter, volunteer coordinator for Habitat for Humanity. “These folks just don't perform on the stage, they perform in communities, and this is one of the ways we give back."

The week of service will end with an off-beat performance.

"We have songs about women's rights, racism and the refugee crisis, these are things that people aren't usually talk about at work or just on the street, this opens up the door for that conversation," said Johnsen.

Ana Gutierrez, an Up with People staff member said the group wants to show people that they can help and make change in their own communities.

"You inspire other people to follow in your footsteps, and make the world a better place, as cheesy as that sounds," said Johnsen.

The international tour takes place twice a year with more than 100 participants between the ages 17 and 29.

Grand Junction is the group's first stop they will continue onto Utah, Montana and California. Then take things international in Mexico, Sweden, Finland and Estonia.

Up with People will perform at Grand Junction High school this Friday at 7 p.m. For more information how to get tickets go to upwithpeople.org or click the link on the side of this screen.

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