Lithuanian champion Zalgiris Kaunas has tipped off its fourth year with Euroleague Basketball’s corporate social responsibility program One Team.
This season Zalgiris has taken a big new step by staring to work with detained teenagers who made mistakes in the past.
Two of the team’s big men, Antanas Kavaliauskas and Augusto Lima, have volunteered to actively support the program by becoming One Team Ambassadors, and last week they started their involvement by visiting a juvenile detention center in Kaunas.
The two players taught some basketball fundamentals to the residents, and also had a long and important conversation about the future, which motivated the teenagers and gave them much-needed inspiration.
"This Zalgiris visit really boosted our self-confidence and taught us to never give up," said one of the boys. "One Team helps us to find our goals."
Even though One Team carries out weekly activities, this particular event really stood out. Not only could the young residents meet two EuroLeague stars, but they also had the chance to open up about their challenges, hopes and dreams.
"It was really nice to communicate with these guys, to see how they live," said Kavaliauskas.
"Maybe the boys have made some mistakes in the past, but I think that they have learnt from them and I truly believe these teenagers will achieve their dreams. They just need to work hard and study."
Lima had similar thoughts, adding: "The boys need to put their pasts behind them and try to be better each day."
One Team, supported by Turkish Airlines as the One Team Founding Patron and with the collaboration of Special Olympics as Proud Partner, uses basketball to achieve real social impact in our communities.
Since its founding in 2012, the One Team programme has reached already directly and indirectly 12,000 participants through its various team projects.