WEST PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- He's changing the face of American Polo.
From his West Philadelphia neighborhood to the some of most prestigious polo fields in the world, Kareem Rosser didn't just just document his journey in a book, that very memoir, "Crossing the Line," is now winning awards.
It all started at the Work To Ride program in Fairmount Park.
Now 29, Kareem Rosser found peace in the program as teen, escaping the ever present violence on Philadelphia streets.
"It completely changed my life, just all the opportunities it awarded me. Thinking about school, the ability to travel the world," he said.
His book talks about his journey form West Philadelphia to some of the most elite polo fields across the world.
"Just thinking about where I grew up in West Philly, down in the bottom. Most of the kids really don't make it past 18 or they drop out of school at a young age," he said.
Everything changed when he was handed a mallet. He documented his journey "Crossing the Line."
And last month, The American Library Association selected it as this year's Alex Award winner.
"I would have never set any goals writing something that was going to win awards, but more something what would have been able to tell an inspiring story," said Rosser.
Rosser along with his brother have changed the face of polo. Making history on the first all-Black high school team to win a national title, to gracing the ads of Ralph Lauren, and arriving in a space where few look like him.
When asked what the message is to other little boys and girls, he responded: "Don't be afraid to take risks."
"I think about all the kids where I grew up. A lot of is just being afraid to leave the five mile radius where you grew up," said Rosser. "My entire life, I feel like I've been taking huge risks and, fortunately, a lot of it has been rewarding."
Mentorship is a big part of Rosser's story, which is one of the reasons he currently sits on the board of the Work to Ride program, helping raise about $6.5 million of their $10 million goal to build a new facility.
West Philadelphia native changes the face of American polo, pens award-winning memoir
"Crossing the Line" talks about Kareem Rosser's journey form West Philly to some of the most elite polo fields across the world.
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