Anadolu Efes Istanbul's experienced forward Birkan Batuk took time out this week to join participants from the club's activities with One Team – Euroleague Basketball's social responsibility initiative – and present them with special certificates at the end of their program.
Batuk started off by taking some life-skill drills with the children in their final session, held at Bahcesehir Campus of Okyanus College, and after they had lots of fun together he told them: "It's a big chance to be a part of something like One Team. Not only for you, but for me as well. We are privileged people because we are the part of this program, and we will never forget this experience in our whole lives.
"As participants of this program, you learned about teamwork, communication, discipline, time management, friendship and motivation through the example of basketball. I'm deeply sure that you will use the experience you gained from One Team in your educational and sports career. I wish you good luck in your social, educational and basketball life."
At the end of the session Batuk, the club's One Team Ambassador, presented certificates to the youngsters and their coaches, before joining a souvenir photo session with the group.
This season saw Efes join forces with a new partner, Okyanus College, to develop its One Team program. One of the most important school chains in Turkey, Okyanus College has partnered with Efes to address modern-day social problems that leave many young people without personal skills such as communication, self-confidence, a sense of responsibility, and good physical education habits.
Efes and Okyanus College used their collaboration to organise a program for 14- and 15-year-olds who met for two hours every week for nine weeks, with activities run by Efes's One Team coaches showing how basketball can be used to enhance key life skills, leading to a healthier and better quality life.
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-focussed projects.