By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Today is the last day to shop to raise money for a unique Philadelphia program that uses horses to teach inner city kids about life.
“My mom was driving through Fairmount Park and she made a wrong turn and found the barn,” said Shariah Harris, 15.
Getting lost in Fairmount Park that day was probably one of the best things that could have happened to Harris, who was nine-years-old at the time.
She says her mother discovered the Chamounix Stables and went inside.
“She asked around and they told her about the Work to Ride program,” says Harris, who had never been on a horse, “I was scared, the horses were huge.”
Six years later, there is no fear and the Upper Darby High School sophomore is an excellent rider and has spent the years learning more about life.
“I used to be a really impatient person,” says Harris, “but working with horses, you can’t expect them to do everything you want at that moment so it taught me patience.”
Harris also plays polo on Work to Ride’s varsity team and wants to play the sport in college.
Board Chair Uche Ojeh says it can happen since Work to Ride has the first and only African-American polo team in the US.
“These kids have gone from being laughing stocks when they show up at matches to be being back to back national champions,” he says, “one of our kids is away at Roger Williams on a full ride and it only happened because he plays polo.”
Boyds Philadelphia held a shopping fundraiser this week and is donating a portion of the proceeds to Work to Ride.
“We have a vested interest in Philadelphia and we want to help support the children of the city,” says Jeff Glass, co-owner of Boyds, “it’s wonderful to watch a young person, go from being an underdog to being a winner.”
In addition, Psycho Bunny, a men’s apparel line, is donating 15% of its sales to Work to Ride through the end of today.
“We’re an underdog story and so are the kids from Work to Ride so it makes sense that we get involved with such a great organization,” says Robert Goldman, co-founder of Psycho Bunny.