HAMILTON — Up With People is coming to town, and they’re looking for local families acoss Cape Ann to host their cast of international students.
The Denver-based nonprofit tours casts from all over the globe, ages 18 to 29, performing shows and community service with a focus on international relations and global education. Up With People will perform at Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School on Sept. 7 and 8.
The organization is looking for local households to house cast members from Sept. 3 through 10. They already have beds for half of the 100-person cast and hope to find another 50 beds as soon as possible, said Malin Winberg, promotion representative for Up With People.
Host families for the Hamilton-Wenham show can be from any town on the North Shore, she said.
To host, a family must provide a safe place for the cast member to sleep for one week, as well as breakfast, dinner and transportation to and from activities each day. Host families often carpool, Winberg said.
In return, host families receive two complimentary tickets to the Up With People concert, as well as the chance to make an international friend, Winberg said.
“It’s a great experience,” said Winberg, who is from Sweden. “You get a piece of the world into your home. What you really get is something to treasure for the rest of your life.”
Some cast members may not speak English, or they speak English as a second language. The organization doesn’t find this is an issue with host families, Winberg said.
“That’s also one of the great things about this program — you have to work to communicate and learn from each other,” she said. “... It’s a good experience for kids to see and talk to different parts of the world.”
Up With People is being hosted by the Hamilton-Wenham EdFund, a nonprofit that distributes grants for projects and equipment in the public schools. The Salem News is the local media sponsor.
While in Hamilton-Wenham, the Up With People cast members will do arts workshops in each of Hamilton-Wenham’s five public schools, with a focus on learning from other cultures. Proceeds from ticket sales at the Hamilton shows will go to the EdFund, said Winberg, who travels ahead of the cast and has been staying with host families for the last month and a half.
“I have been overwhelmed at how open-hearted people are,” she said, “... overwhelmed at how attached you get to a family in that short amount of time.”
For more information or to sign up to host, visit www.upwithpeople.org/hamilton or www.hwedfund.org, or email UWP promotion representatives Ashley Wright at email@example.com, Sergio Campos at firstname.lastname@example.org or Malin Winberg at email@example.com.