Monday, May 2, 2011

Thompson receives one year 'Up With People' scholarship

 By K. NANCOO-RUSSELL

Freeport, Grand Bahama- Nineteen-year-old Grand Ba-hama resident Edrico Thompson has been awarded a scholarship to join the cast of Up With People for the next year, allowing him the chance to travel the world, performing and participating in community service projects.

Up with People is a non-profit organization, headquartered in Colorado, the United States, which provides young people between the ages of 18-29 with an international and intercultural experience that teaches service leadership and uses the performing arts to deliver messages of hope and goodwill throughout the world.

The 100-person cast of Up with People visited Grand Bahama in February, performing at the Jack Hayward High School gymnasium, and conducting volunteer work around the island.

The organization's CEO, Alain Thiry, was in Grand Bahama two weeks ago and disclosed that a scholarship would be available for Bahamians to participate in the program.

Thompson, a former student of the Jack Hayward High School, told The Freeport News how he became the lucky recipient of that award, explaining that he was performing with the "Dis We Ting" cultural show at the Freeport Harbour and was introduced to Up with People Marketing and Promotion Coordinator Brandon Serna.

"He talked to me and he got me involved in the program by asking me to become a host family to one of the kids that was coming over. So after talking with him and doing the show, I signed up for the program," he said.

"I went online and filled out an application and was interviewed... From there, I got accepted and did an audition online as well as an essay about why I should be accepted."

The rest, as they say, is history, and Thompson was awarded the highest scholarship possible for the organization to award, valued at $13,750, a large part of the total cost for the year-long program, which is $19,800.

"I'm extremely excited," Thompson said about the upcoming tour, for which he will leave on July 9.

To achieve his goal, however, he will need an additional amount of approximately $8,250. He said he has appealed to several corporate citizens for assistance, and is hopeful that he can raise the required funds. He has set up a FACEBOOK page to help spread the word.

Thompson has been performing for as long as he remembers, and is currently the headline entertainment act at the Treasure Bay Casino at the Our Lucaya Resort.

He is also a hip hop dance instructor at the Lois Seiler Academy of Dance and the YMCA, and is a former member of the Starlighters singing group.

"I've been a part of the Freeport Players Guild and the Regency Theatre for almost six years now. I've done a number of shows, backstage work, sound, spotlight, cleaned the theatre," he said.

"I tried to get involved with as much performing arts as possible because the more I can be on-stage, the better."

Thompson said other than the performing aspect, however, he is looking forward to making a difference in the lives of the people he encounters in his travels with the group. He got a taste of the gratification that can come from helping others he said, when he joined Up with People cast members to do volunteer work with the Harvest Foundation in Lewis Yard.

"We rebuilt houses from scratch. There were houses that were literally sitting on four concrete blocks with a piece of wood as the floor and cardboard boxes making up the walls. We rebuilt roofs, we rebuilt rooms, we made beds, we carried some air mattresses in, we did some cleaning around the houses there was rubbish that needed to be carried out," Thompson said.

He was moved by the experience and appreciated the chance to make an impact, he added.

"It was a really cool experience. That has definitely inspired me to go with up with people because I always want to perform but to be able to perform and travel at the same time, and also make an impact wherever I go through volunteer work. That's what's making me so excited to be a part of the program. I think it's going to be absolutely amazing."

He said he is also looking forward to educating others about The Bahamas. Overall, he said, the experience will be an invaluable one and "a dream come true."

"I can do what I am good at whilst learning new skills and gaining a better understanding of the world. I want to bring back ideas and contacts that can make a positive difference to our island," he said.
 To sponsor rico in any way please visit his page here

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