Polo Jeans invites
buyers to G.I.V.E.
of themselves

A Hawaii-born volunteer is
featured in an ad campaign

The fashion equivalent of reality is the "real people" campaign long used by Benetton, then The Gap, and now Polo Ralph Lauren.

The Polo Jeans Co. has launched its G.I.V.E. campaign to inspire and encourage community service through volunteerism -- giving of yourself, your time, your energy, your passion, and your talents to make the world better for kids, the elderly, animals, schools and the community.

Legendary photographer Bruce Weber shot the ads for the campaign, which features 14 real-life role models who are active volunteers. Among them is Honolulu-born Michael Vea, who now calls New York City home.

At 23 years old, he is a member of Teach For America, part of a movement to eliminate educational inequity in the United States. Since 2001, he has taught fifth grade at Public School 128 in Washington Heights, Manhattan.

Vea graduated from Northwestern University in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in education and social policy and, recently, from Pace University with a master's in teaching. While at Northwestern, he traveled to the Boston Living Center in Massachusetts, New England's largest community center for people living with AIDS/HIV. The following year, he worked with children and young adults with severe physical and emotional disabilities at the Crotched Mountain School in Greenfield, N.H.

As a former cast member of "Miss Saigon," Vea also aims to inspire young talent in an academic environment that is creative, challenging and exemplary. His long-term goal is to open a charter school in New York that embraces children from all walks of life who are eager about academics and the performing arts.

To support the efforts of such volunteers, Polo Ralph Lauren will donate 10 percent of all proceeds from sales of G.I.V.E. jeans to 39 participating charities featured in a booklet accompanying every pair of G.I.V.E. jeans. Charities include the American Red Cross, the Partnership for the Homeless and Rock the Vote.

Buyers can go online at and choose the charity to which they wish to donate their portion of the proceeds by typing in the bar code number found in the booklet.

The jeans retail for $60 at Macy's and

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