Euroleague Basketball legend Ramunas Siskauskas last week visited Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius to meet the young participants in the Lithuanian powerhouse’s One Team social responsibility program.
For the second successive season, the EuroCup club is delivering its One Team activities jointly with Capital Basketball School, whose ‘The Power of Basketball’ initiative provides Day Centers, free basketball lessons and mentoring programs for children in Vilnius.
The activities are aimed at raising awareness around important subjects such as bullying, alcoholism, suicide and human trafficking, and Lietuvos Rytas is working with 12 boys aged 14-16 who live in difficult conditions – a few are in orphanages, some have only one parent or guardian, and others come from families that are financially dependent on the state.
The main objective of the program is to use basketball to teach positive life values, and two-time EuroLeague champion Siskauskas – who spent six seasons playing for Lietuvos Rytas – was deeply impressed by his visit to last week’s session.
"I am 100% for this project,” he said. “It is a wonderful initiative from Euroleague Basketball, where basketball and life skills are taught to people who have problems in their lives.”
The program has been supported throughout the season by Lietuvos Rytas players and One Team Ambassadors Drew Gordon, Corey Fischer and Deividas Gailius, and during last week’s session saw Siskauskas talk to the participants about the importance of teamwork.
“Of course, maybe these kids will not grow up to be professionals,” he added. “But playing for its own sake with friends is a much better activity than growing up on the streets doing bad things.”
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 program has reached already directly and indirectly 12,000 participants through its various team projects.