As a new charity we are still building and growing, here are a few stories so far…..
1. Introducing Ronnie Kusi.
Ronnie has been with us since the start, helping us to build the programme and returning as a youth leader. He has also represented the voice of youth on the management board.
Growing up in the Angell Estate in Brixton, Ronnie has a challenging background which has been heavily influenced by gang culture. When Power of Polo (‘PoP’) first met Ronnie, he was understandably sceptical about what polo, the sport of kings, had to offer him or even what it was but was keen to change the direction of his life.
Since playing polo and meeting many role models in the polo community, Ronnie has been able to think of himself differently- as someone who has opportunities to succeed, to imagine a life away from local gangs and to start building towards that life. The connections he has made with the military have been very informative and at one point he considered a career in the army but now has a full time job in London.
Ronnie has finally moved out of Brixton and his determination to continue to distance himself from local gangs is a credit to him. He has embraced every opportunity that PoP has made available to him and PoP continue to support him. Ronnie is now not only an ambassador for the charity but also a mentor to younger participants in PoP programs and our youth representative. He is currently working fulltime. Ronnie shared his story with Rod Gilmour of The Telegraph:
He was also a model for the portrait of Britain Competition through his work with PoP (photo opposite). This was shown in public places across the UK.
2. In their words.
‘A lot of things have happened in my life and sometimes I think is life worth living and ....being here its like changing my mind and being around the animals and being around the people. It’s like people care for me its like certain things, it’s starting to change slowly and its helping me manage..... like I was upset one time here and my attitude changed straight away as soon as people started to talk to me and I was around the animals and the horses and yeah so thank you for the chance to do this.......’
‘I’ve never actually rid a horse before at all I never even dreamt about riding a horse.... when we first came to the field i mean we saw the horses and they were huge big heads very scared very scared to even stroke or touch the horse theres a lot of positive people around erm around the game of polo and the people that are involved in polo and you know like being able to come out from our backgrounds and be able to come here to do this is a privilege.....’
‘I enjoyed to see the young people kind of see a different side to life and get a better view and possibly get motivated to possibly do more than they’re possibly doing it really is that a chance to see how you can change your life and how you can move forward....’