Meet Julia from Arizona in the United States!
Julia Performs the Role of ‘Hope’ in the Up with People Live on Tour Show!
Why did you join Up with People?
“Up with People was introduced to me when they came to my choir in school. Originally it was pitched to me as a choir and performing arts tour, and that intrigued me. Then I was told it also included community service as well as traveling with people who I would probably get very close with. All of it sounded perfect, a mix of things that are wonderful. I was immediately turned on, and that is when I decided to do it. The program was an opportunity to take a break from what I had been doing; high school and a lot of work. Also, an opportunity to grow, actually doing something important with my life, rather than checking off things from my to do list. I would then be able to ask myself what I have actually accomplished today.”
What were you doing before Up with People?
“I was working in order to graduate earlier from high school. I was in a situation where I was moving, and in order to do four years of high school instead of five years, I had to graduate. However, I decided to do three instead. So, in my last year of high school, I took nine classes and that is basically all I did. I didn’t sleep, and I was constantly working, which wasn’t mentally healthy. I went from an environment where I was never thinking about myself, being a machine, accepting the fact that I was depressed, and not doing anything about it, to now, only focusing on myself. Not just myself, but how I present myself to the world.”
What do you hope to gain from this experience?
“I hope to gain a more assured sense of myself and learn how to decide on my own course. I think this can bring me happiness where I can pursue the things that are important to me and that make me happy. These are now things that I can work hard on because I actually want to, not just because I’m a hard worker.”
As the character of ‘Hope’ in the show, how do you think this role has affected you?
“Right before the first performance, Camryn from the staff came up to me at dinner and asked me; “Who are you?” I answered with hesitation saying “Julia”. She said, “You are Julia. You are Hope. You are synonymous.” That really hit me. When we were reflecting today, we had to choose a word representing this semester and I chose metamorphosis. That is what I want. I want the hope to go from a hungry, scared caterpillar to a confident butterfly that can fly to wherever she wants because she has wings. For that kind of hope, for that kind of growth and the freedom to be. In all senses of the word, just be.”
What do you consider is your role or responsibility having the character of ‘Hope?’
“I want to show people that no matter how dark it gets there is always some little sliver, some little flicker of hope. If it comes to the point where you feel like there is no way out, that is the moment where someone is going to hold the door. You will have finally reached your breaking point, and that’s the most beautiful part of it because that is what you grow from. I hope to teach that this can happen at any time, and that it will eventually be okay which is what I love.”
Are there experiences in Up with People that have specifically impacted you?
“There have been a couple. For example, during one of the school performances, there was a little girl, sitting in the front row. When I came out for one for the ‘hope’ moments, she got really excited, gasping “That’s Hope!” That is one of those moments where I tell myself, this means something to her, this is important, and I get to be that person for her. It is so surreal. There are also moments where I just connect with somebody, and even though I have never had any interaction with that person previously, suddenly we are having this moment together. I was talking about school shootings to someone I had never approached before, and we had a connection. It was a moment where I understood that this person was hurting, and I held their hand because that’s what they needed.”
What are some of your dreams?
“I want to be in a position where I can help and inspire as many people as possible, in as many ways as possible. When it comes to a career, instead of not knowing what I want to do, I know that I want to do six different things; being a nutritionist, personal trainer, writer, music teacher and I want to open my own business where it combines nutrition, personal training and therapy. All of them connect to teaching or just inspiring people, so I hope that I can learn enough to start doing that. I think those three things aren’t combined enough, but it is essential, it is part of your health.”
We will trust in each other
When it’s all on the line
We will rise up, together,
We will keep hope alive
Keep it alive…
Keep Hope Alive © Up with People
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Topics: "On The Road"
Up with People is a global education organization which aims to bring the world together through service and music. The unique combination of international travel, service learning, leadership development and performing arts offers young adults an unparalleled study abroad experience and a pathway to make a difference in the world, one community at a time. Click here to learn more about the internationally acclaimed program, Up with People.