Furkan Aldemir took time out from his efforts to help Darussafaka Istanbul reach the 7DAYS EuroCup Finals by supporting the club's work with One Team, Euroleague Basketball's social responsibility program.
This season has seen Darussafaka launch its third One Team program in collaboration with Darussafaka Society. The society is a well-known organization that has been working since 1863 to encourage social cohesion for orphaned children, and it is well known within Turkish society.
The club's eight-week One Team project involved weekly sessions between an hour and 90 minutes, working with a group of 23 orphaned children (9 boys and 14 girls) of 12 years old at Darussafaka Ayhan Sahenk Sports Hall. The main objective of the program has been to increase the level of integration of orphaned children in society, and the fact that the project has been integrated within the educational classes of the students at the Darussafaka Society School guarantees a high rate of attendance and engagement.
After some great sessions, the program finished with a visit from Aldemir, Darussafaka's One Team Ambassador, who gave a basketball lesson on the court and also shared his experiences and gave advice to the participants. It was an inspiring visit for the youngsters, many of whom said after the session that they are now dreaming of becoming professional basketball players.
In addition to improving basketball techniques such as dribbling and shooting, the program was devised to improve the children's mental abilities in areas such as integration, communication, confidence, decision-making and leadership. And over the course of the eight-week program, it was clear how much progress the children made, both mentally and physically, and how happy Aldemir was to support them.
"It was a great experience for me to spend time with the Darussafaka kids," he said. "We had a lot of fun together and we also learned a lot from One Team.
"With this program, the children learned basic basketball skills but we also focused on important life skills. It was so easy to link these mental attributes with the fundamentals of basketball because the structure of the game demands them. On the court, you have to integrate and communicate with your teammates, feel confident, make decisions and take leadership at the right time if you want to play high-quality basketball. This is not an individual game and the most beautiful thing about basketball is that you have to share everything with your teammates – just like the life skills we taught with One Team.
"The One Team project is unique and we are all grateful for the work that is being done. We appreciate the direction of Euroleague Basketball for implementing such a great project. And I want to say thanks a lot to the lovely Darussafaka students!"
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.