Polo Ralph Lauren features social program for young equestrians in new campaign
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Polo Ralph Lauren has launched an ad campaign featuring a nonprofit that provides children and teenagers from the poorest neighborhoods in Philadelphia with the opportunity to learn how ride a horse and skills to help them succeed in the classroom.

According to a recent article published by the clothing company’s publication, RL Mag, the program featured in its ad campaign is called the Work to Ride program and it operates out of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park.

Lezlie Hiner, the founder of the nonprofit behind the effort, told the magazine that the program seeks to introduce children and teenagers aged 7 to 19 who come from economically-distressed backgrounds in the city "to as many new things, within our power, that we can."

“We want them to get good grades; we want to expose them to a wider world, provide them with as much opportunity as we can,” she said.

As part of the program, according to Philly.com, students can learn how to ride a horse and play polo. They also have the opportunity to compete on the organization’s polo team, called the Work to Ride team, which ended up featuring the first African American team to compete in the National Interscholastic Championship.

In exchange, Hiner said that each of the students in the program are required to dedicate one day of their week to help maintain the stables and are also required to meet the program’s academic grade standards.

“It’s gone from just trying to get them through high school to, at this point, really stressing moving on to college. And that’s not going to be for everybody. We don’t groom them to be professional polo players. The polo is a vehicle,” Hiner said. 

Several alums from the program were featured on Polo Ralph Lauren’s official Instagram page modeling the brand’s clothing.

One of the alums, Shariah Harris, who the company said was the first African American woman to play at “the highest tier of US Polo,” said she “saw the impact I had on other women of color, who were inspired by what I was doing … It drove it home that I was doing something more than just playing the game.”

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The first African-American woman to play at the highest tier of US Polo, Shariah Harris is a natural born-leader with skills in many arenas. When she isn’t leading the women’s polo team to the National Intercollegiate semi-finals or mentoring younger players in the Work to Ride program, she’s pursuing her degree at Cornell University. . She says: “I saw the impact I had on other women of color, who were inspired by what I was doing…It drove it home that I was doing something more than just playing the game.” . Read more about Shariah Harris’ full story on #RLMag—link in bio. . Ralph Lauren is proud to support the Work to Ride foundation with a grant that will directly fund collegiate scholarships for the Work to Ride high school athletes. . #WorkToRide

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