Sofie Ewerman joined Up with People for the opportunity to connect with others through community service.
“The community action is one of the main reasons I chose to travel, just because you get to go out into the community and meet people, to help them and to connect with others,” said Ewerman, an Up with People cast member from Sweden. “It’s an amazing opportunity.”
The international performance group’s 105 cast members spread out around Glynn County for a variety of service projects on Thursday. The group is in Glynn County until April 2.
One group helped build a house in Brunswick for Habitat for Humanity. Another group painted a mural at The Well homeless shelter. Some stocked and sorted shelves at the Second Harvest Food Bank, and others spent the day with residents at Marsh’s Edge senior living community on St. Simons Island.
Ewerman spent her day with a group of four cast members who helped Coastal Outreach Soccer with construction and clean up at the program’s site in Howard Coffin Park.
The group cleaned up around the Coastal Outreach Soccer building, pulled up carpet inside and spread dirt.
The service projects fit in with Up with People’s overall mission to spread hope as well as promote cultural connections.
“We have this message in our show, and by doing (community action projects) we’re doing what our show is about,” said Daphne Bolndel, a cast member from Belgium. “We’re not only saying the message, but doing it.”
Coastal Outreach Soccer club serves underprivileged youth through soccer. The teams play at a competitive level against other clubs, and the participants receive school mentoring that helps them find success both on the field and off.
The core of Coastal Outreach Soccer’s mission matches with that of Up with People, said Shawn Williams, founder of the Coastal Outreach Soccer program.
“It allows us to share our message … Their message of trying to inspire, to empower, to provide hope ties into a lot of what we do as a club,” he said.
The medium is different — soccer versus music — but the intent is the same, he said.
Several Coastal Outreach Soccer players attended Up with People’s show Wednesday at Brunswick High. Jaelin Williams, Shawn’s son and a coach for the soccer program, said several club members expressed interest in traveling with Up with People after the show.
And connecting the next day for a service project showcased the similarities between the programs, he said.
“Just having them out here, helping out, shows that they want to help and want to make a difference,” he said. “And that’s kind of what we’re about as well — making a difference in the community. It’s good having them out here.”