Someone You Should Know: Teen Using Community Service and Show Performance to Empower Others

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – An educational organization has sparked a change in a Sioux Falls teenager thanks to a trip he recently took around the world. The experience not only impacted his life but even ignited a career interest he’s long had.

From singing for Pope Francis to teaching dance lessons to children in Mexico. July 2017 will be a year that will forever stay with James Nelson. The once in a lifetime opportunity for him to visit 5 different countries started back in 2014 when the educational organization “Up with People” visited his high school. Once they returned back in 2016, James knew he had to join.

“It’s been a huge impact almost indescribable,” says Nelson.

The organization empowers youth to make a difference through community service and show performance. A combination that James says changed his life in more ways than he expected.

“It was really getting out and getting to know the community members of the community that we were in. Doing whatever service they needed us to do that I ended up enjoying the most,” says Nelson.

From dancing on the Spanish steps in Rome to countless other memories in different countries.The recollections he had are ones James says will be hard to top–especially meeting Pope Francis.

“I still have a hard time believing that I met Pope Francis, a beloved pope by those who even aren’t Catholic. So I was definitely in awe,” says Nelson.

Going on the trip has also sparked an inspiration for him to bring back changes in South Dakota.

“Change the curriculum for South Dakotans to learn another language starting at a much younger age. That way it just gives you the ability to be able to travel and talk with local community members at ease,” says Nelson.

It’s those goals and many that he hopes to accomplish in his political career one day.

“Eventually someday I would love to run for either state senate or some type of elected position,” says Nelson.

However, before he does that, he still has one more mission he wants to accomplish. Doing the program once again.

“I would just love to be able to go back and continue making a difference around the world,” says Nelson.

In order for James to do that he needs the community’s help. The trip will cost him around 10 thousand dollars. To help him with his funds visit:

To also learn more about Up with People visit:

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