CSKA Moscow superstars Victor Khryapa and Kyle Hines supported their club's One Team program last week by joining a special session with young participants from the Russian Federation's Ministry of Defense Girls Cadet School.
Uniquely, CSKA's One Team program works only with girls through its partnership with the boarding school, where most of the girls are daughters of army officers who work away from home, and often grow up without seeing their parents.
The girls live in a closed government-school environment and therefore don't have much social contact as they pass into adulthood, but participation in the school basketball team is one opportunity for them to be exposed to the outside world.
Every two weeks, 40 girls aged between 12 and 16 attend CSKA's One Team sessions to develop their social interaction outside the school walls, to participate in sport and to engage with role models from outside the military.
Under the leadership of CSKA's One Team coach Yakov Tarasov, last week Hines and Khryapa joined a session that was only partly devoted to basketball.
The two players are long-time supporters of One Team, with Khryapa serving as the club's One Team Ambassador while Hines has an even bigger role as the league's One Team Global Ambassador.
Breaking into pairs and teams, the girls and players took part in drills that focused on the ability to communicate, trust and help teammates, which is the wider goal of the project with the school.
Khryapa said: "We tried to teach them not only basketball elements, like dribbling or shooting, but also teach them how to trust partners, communicate with them, and how to be part of a team. This is important not only on the court but in real life as well."
Partly thanks to the guidance of CSKA's One Team coaches, the school basketball team has become very successful, recently finishing second in the Moscow championship, and Hines is particularly happy to see girls being encouraged to play.
"A lot of people often assume that basketball is only for boys or men, but really there are no boundaries in sport," Hines said. "Whatever your race, background or gender, anyone can play and enjoy sports. CSKA's One Team program proves that, and it has been a great experience to work with the girls."
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 already reached, directly and indirectly, 12,000 participants through its various team projects.