HOLDEN, Maine — Angela Pfleiderer, 24, of Holden, has been accepted into the January 2009 cast of Up With People, which she hopes will enrich her career as a teacher and the lives of future students.
Up With People has been around for more than 40 years. It is a program made up of an international group of young adults, ages 18-29. From its many applicants each year, Up With People accepts about 70 from around the world to be in the cast.
These people travel around the world, doing community service and participating in performances that promote respect, friendship and equality.
Up With People recently came to Bangor and volunteered in the community. Up With People performances have been held in the area many times in recent decades. Now, Pfleiderer will travel around the world and help other communities.
Her experience will start in January. The adults accepted into the program meet in Denver, where they get to know each other and learn the performance.
Each performance delivers messages of respect, friendship and equality through song and dance, a medium anyone can appreciate and understand.
Pfleiderer said she was excited to be singing and dancing again. She graduated from John Bapst Memorial High School in 2002, where she was a member of the chorus and concert choir. She also was on the cheerleading team all four years of high school.
The most important aspect of the Up With People program is the community service that Pfleiderer will participate in. At each stop around the world, the troupe will engage in various activities to help the community in which they are staying. Many of these services happen in local schools.
Pfleiderer said that one man she spoke with told her that the last cast was in Thailand and they helped a school of 800 students in kindergarten through grade two for two weeks.
“I am very excited to be able to make a positive influence in communities all over the world,” said Pfleiderer, who has been a kindergarten teacher in Maine for the past two and a half years. “I look forward to this opportunity, to strengthening my abilities to teach. This is an opportunity of a lifetime. Being able to participate in Up With People will teach me so much about the world. Not only will I be able to travel the world, but I will be immersed in many different cultures.
“I will be staying with host families around the world,” she said. “I will learn some of their language and about their beliefs and native foods. These are all aspects that will strengthen my teaching in the future, which I plan to continue when I return to Maine. I will be able to teach my students acceptance by using the information I gain.
“I will be able to collect some native artifacts from many different places around the world that can be passed around to the students. I will be able to cook foods from cultures that my students may never visit. My future students also will be introduced to some of the languages I pick up through my travels.”
During the six-month tour, Pfleiderer will visit two continents, three countries — the United States, Mexico and a third yet to be announced — and 25 cities.
In order to participate in Up With People, Pfleiderer needs to raise $14,000. Those who wish help by making a donation may make checks payable to Up With People. Write Angela Pfleiderer on the memo line. Send checks to: Angela Pfleiderer, 50 Holbrook Road, Holden, ME 04429.