Since it was conceived, the game of polo has developed a royal association. The upper echelons of society congregated around the sport, cementing its nickname as the "sport of Kings." Given it's elitist association, one may not immediately assume that equestrian activities are incredibly effective tools used to inspire, educate, and motivate financially need-based youth.
Work to Ride is a non-profit located in Philadelphia that helps disadvantaged inner-city youths develop life-skills through engaging in horsemanship, equine sports, and education. Children between the ages of seven to 19 participate in equestrian activities in Fairmount Park, get paid to maintain the horse stables, and can receive after-school tutoring so their grades don't suffer. Shortly after it was founded in 1994, Work to Ride's high school players made history as the country's first competitive polo team made up of players who were all Black and African American.
In celebration of the organization, and in an effort to spotlight their stories, Polo Ralph Lauren has partnered with Work to Ride for its latest campaign shot by Sharif Hamza.
"Ralph Lauren. a brand that has always had a deep affinity for the equestrian lifestyle, 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," the company's press release reads. "This structure creates a path to academic, athletic, and personal success, one polo match at a time. It provides a place for youth from around Philadelphia to learn how to ride and play polo, but it also teaches them responsibility."
In the campaign, the Work to Ride crew is styled in head-to-toe Ralph Lauren, and each of their stories are spotlighted throughout the spread. Some of the program's alumni are also included, as they showcase how their Work to Ride experience has been applied beyond the parameters of Fairmount Park. You can peruse a few of the campaign highlights below.