One of the women, DeeAnn Resk, is originally from California and used to work at an international development office in Washington D.C. before coming to Up with People. While in D.C., she worked on a program called the “African Peace and Development Initiative” at the NGO, World Learning for International Development, doing project backstopping for peacebuilding initiatives in East Africa. She is an alumna of Up With People and traveled as an Applied Education facilitator with Up with People last fall.
DeeAnn was kind enough to do an e-interview with me:
Describe what Up with People does and a little about the work you do with them.
Up with People is a global education program whose mission is to train young people in global leadership and to spark them to action in meeting the needs of their communities, countries, and the world while building bridges of understanding as a foundation for world peace. For over forty years, international young people ages 18-29 have traveled with the UWP program, living with host families in each community visited, volunteering for various community service projects, connecting with each community through performing arts, and engaging in various internships while developing skills in cross-cultural communication, leadership, and global perspective. We currently travel throughout North America, Asia, and Europe, and some college credit is available. Up with People is apolitical and nonsectarian with no ties to any government, religious or political organization.
I’ve currently been working on developing the Stand for Peace project and collaborating with the Programs Manager on the program’s education curriculum. The Stand for Peace project teaches elementary school kids about diversity, respect, and peace. Beginning in July, I will be traveling as part of the Up with People road-staff again as the Applied Education Department Manager.
What do you enjoy the most about your work with Up with People?
The biggest thing I enjoy about working for UWP is the people I work with and the people I meet through the organization. I work with a talented and diverse team of good-hearted, hard-working, dedicated people who are passionate about making a difference in their communities and the world. I also get to meet many amazing individuals from the communities we work with around the world and the participants who travel in our program.
What are the biggest challenges in your work with UWP?
I’d say the biggest challenge, like many non-profits, is limited time and resources.
What keeps you motivated and energized to do this work?
• To paraphrase Margaret Mead, it’s the belief that we really can make differences, no matter how big or small.
• My colleagues’ teamwork; there is sort of a “can-do” attitude here where people work hard to come up with creative solutions to inevitable challenges.
• Continual learning.
What tips, resource and advice would you give to someone who wanted to do the kind of work you are doing?
• Find what makes you passionate.
• Educate yourself on the world around you.
• Learn about what work is being done out there, explore your options and network.
• Don’t be afraid to try new things or to fail.
If you know a young person who might be interested in working with Up with People, they are accepting applications for their programs in July 2006, January 2007 and July 2007. You can get more info at www.upwithpeople.org.
And if you know a Solutionary Woman who works at a nonprofit or NGO who you think I should profile, please email me at britt at brittbravo dot com with their name, organization and contact info.
Up with People