Polo match benefits House of Hope

From left, V.I.P. guests Sterling Mock, Bradly Mock, Winston Mock, Sutton Mock, Caroline Mock and Summit Mock pose for a family photo at the first annual polo benefit.

From left, V.I.P. guests Sterling Mock, Bradly Mock, Winston Mock, Sutton Mock, Caroline Mock and Summit Mock pose for a family photo at the first annual polo benefit.

Virginia’s House of Hope will be kicking off the fall season at Greenwich Polo Club with its second annual Polo Benefit this Sunday, Aug. 31.

The nonprofit fund-raiser will provide an all-day open bar, a silent auction and food from local eateries as the Melody Capital team faces off against Los Machitos on the field.

Virginia’s House of Hope (VHH) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2006 and based in New York City. As VHH looked to expand its humanitarian efforts beyond the city and into the tri-state area, VHH Executive Director Sophia Gangei, who is from Greenwich, saw the Polo Club as a prime destination for a Connecticut fund-raiser.

All proceeds from this year’s event will benefit VHH’s Tugboat Program, a mentorship program that helps underprivileged youth from New York City gain the knowledge and hands-on experience necessary to begin a maritime career. Participants engage in a three-year live-in program on a tugboat, emerging as a certified tugboat deckhand at the end of the period. VHH then helps program graduates earn placement in the field so they can put their newly learned skills to immediate effective use.

“They can actually compete with college-level competitors in getting entry level positions after the program ends,” Ms. Gangei said. “It’s a good program because we take these kids who are really deserving of the higher education and deserving of these positions but for different reasons, background, how much money they have, can’t pursue the program.”

The Tugboat Program costs approximately $7,000 per student, but offers an opportunity that would otherwise have been unavailable. VHH requires that prospective mentorees are 18 years old, have a high school degree and are drug-free before taking them on, to ensure that both sides are fully invested in making the program a success.

“So far we’ve been really successful. All of our students are getting jobs and we’re getting good feedback,” Ms. Gangei added.

Food sponsors for the event include Eatalian, Harvest Wine Bar, Whole Foods, Prima Dolce, A Dash of Salt and Cafe Oo La La. A full spread of unique culinary treats will be laid out beneath the club’s tent for VHH guests, who will also be able to enjoy a full open bar as well as a Bloody Mary bar. Car sponsor Miller Motorcars will be on hand showcasing some of its rare models.

Gift bags will also be distributed containing gifts from La Mer, Ioma, Tom Ford Beauty, Clarins, Kilian, Bulgari and Joe Malone. A bracelet from Andrea Del Bello will be included in each bag.

The event is scheduled to run from noon to 5, with the match set to start at 3. Tickets for the event are still available at Virginiashouse.weebly.com.

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