The well-known Up with People tour is spending this week in Southwest Florida, making Fort Myers the first stop on the 2013 global tour. The group features 120 young people from 21 countries, including the U.S.
"I am thrilled, I am so happy to be here. It is amazing," says 19-year-old Giselle Carrasco of Mexico, one of the cast members.
Law enforcement officers and a fire truck escorted the tour buses through the city to the Alliance for the Arts. There, Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson welcomed the cast to the city and area.
While here, the cast members stay with host families, and they also perform community work.
They will work Tuesday and Wednesday at the Harry Chapin Food Bank and at the Community Coop Ministries soup kitchen in Fort Myers.
"We have to give back to the community, for all that has been given to us. It is our responsibility to help others," says Sifan Liu of China.
The Up with People organization dates back to the 1960s. This cast is the 183rd to tour the world, putting on performances designed to bridge cultural gaps.
"I think we can change the world, bdcause we ourselves are being changed. We can make a diffrerence," says Carrasco.
The group will peform two shows next Sunday m Feb. 17, at North Fort Myers High School. Show times are 2:00 and 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, 10 for students, children and seniors. You can get more information at: www.upwithpeople.org/FortMyers