Lithuanian champion Zalgiris Kaunas has started its fifth season with Euroleague Basketball’s social responsibility program One Team, one that will be full of meaningful activities with youngsters from the Kaunas district probation service who have behavioral problems.
The goal of Zalgiris’s One Team program is to use authoritative basketball stars and the sport in general as an educational tool to help young people find purposeful goals and develop strong discipline.
Other goals of the project are to help children deal with their problems, find the right solutions in difficult situations, improve communication skills, develop a stronger sense of values and create positive habits of behavior.
Zalgiris – the first-ever Best One Team Programme Award winner at the end of last season – began its new mission with the selection of its project ambassadors for the 2017-18 season.
Center Antanas Kavaliauskas, last year’s One Team Ambassador, prolonged his participation in the program and newcomer Brandon Davies was also happy to accept new responsibilities.
Together with representatives from the Zalgiris administration and coach Justinas Grainys, Kavaliauskas and Davies welcomed the participants to the practice court of the magnificent Zalgirio Arena.
The workshop kicked off with an empowering speech from Kavaliauskas, who emphasised how important it is to find purpose by knowing what you want in life, and then to keep working step by step no matter the difficulties you come across.
“I always wanted to be a basketball player,” said Kavaliauskas. “I started practicing as a seven-year-old, but then as a teenager there were days when nothing was going right and I just wanted to spend time with my friends outside.
“I skipped practices and school, but luckily my grandmother noticed it and pushed me back into basketball. I grabbed onto that new chance, moved to the USA to study and everything worked out well in the end.”
For his new teammate Davies, it was the first time he had opened up to such a young audience, and he told them about his struggles growing up in a multicultural family.
“I am happy to be a One Team Ambassador,” Davies said. “I see that it is important to the kids and it is important to me as well. Hopefully I can help them to thrive by telling about my experiences in life.”
This season the One Team and Zalgiris project is strengthened by RAMIRENT. The organization, which have been socially active for several years, recently became the sponsor of the Kaunas team and immediately took the opportunity to join the One Team project.
RAMIRENT Corporation is already known as a front-runner of Baltic Sea cleaning activities and now they decided to invest their time into the club’s social campaign helping children. This cooperation with Zalgiris will help the participants of the One Team project find more creative ideas for the weekly workshops.
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 meaningful social impact in our communities across Europe and is supported by every club in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup.
Since its founding in 2012, the One Team program has already helped more than 14,000 participants through its various team-focused projects.