Valencia Basket surprised its One Team participants by organizing a very special session this week.
One Team is Euroleague Basketball's social responsibility program, and this season Valencia is continuing to work with charity Caritas and its Santa Marta program, which promotes wellness and social inclusion among local teenagers.
This week the One Team participants were joined by a group of people with serious disabilities and their monitors from the Occupational Center La Costera de Aspromovise.
This session was based on the game of boccia, a precision ball sport similar to bowls and petanque, giving the One Team group an opportunity to put into practice the key social skills they have learned through the program: communication, teamwork and integration.
The center's sports instructor, Antoni Soler, explained: "The occupational center is a place where people with special needs come to work. Our task as sport monitors is planning some sport activities for them, in order to make their week easier. They show us that the barriers, the limitations they have, are not as big as they seem."
Soler was particularly struck by how easily the One Team participants were able to engage with the special needs group, saying: "It is not a simple world at first, but for the children it is more normalised than the adults. They get much closer to them, they want to have contact with them, be very close."
And he believes the impact of social programs like One Team can make a real difference to the quality of life of people with disabilities: "Little by little, I think that with organizations like ours or with the One Team program, it is progressing."
Valencia's One Team project, which is being supported by Obra Social La Caixa, is led by One Team coaches Paco Pardo, Pepe Casares and Juanjo Rojo. A total of 10 sessions are taking place between January and March, with the coaches encouraging the 13 young people to enjoy positive experiences and learn healthy habits which can be transferred into everyday life situations.
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.