Zalgiris Kaunas has reached the midway point in its latest season with One Team, Euroleague Basketball’s social responsibility program. The Lithuanian club has renewed its collaboration and noble-minded friendship with youngsters from the Kaunas regional probation service, organizing a 12-week project which has been taking place every Tuesday at the practice court at Zalgirio Arena.
During the sessions the kids not only played basketball, but also developed their social and life skills, and some of the most impactful activities were those joined by Zalgiris big men and One Team Ambassadors Antanas Kavaliauskas and Brandon Davies. The two players made a big contribution to reach the aim of the program: helping young people find purposeful goals, develop a stronger sense of values and create positive habits of behavior.
“It is my second year as a One Team Ambassador and I have been happy to meet another group of young people,” said Kavaliauskas. “They had made some bad choices in their lives in the past, but through the sessions, we encouraged them to take responsibility and plan their futures… I am really hopeful that these three months of continuous effort will inspire the youngsters for a new chapter in their lives.”
The Zalgiris players were not alone in the sessions as One Team participants also met with sports psychologist Aiste Zemaityte, members of the Kauno Zalgiris football team and Dukes Kaunas, an American football club. The youngsters also played a central part in the annual One Team Games during Round 13 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season, when they tried a new sport: an integrated basketball game alongside players in wheelchairs.
The final meeting with the youngsters from Kaunas regional probation service took place earlier this month, and it was a special session as each of the participants received a diploma from Zalgiris players to mark their successful completion of the program. They also completed a survey, which saw two-thirds of the group say they had learned something new during the sessions, while 72% acknowledged that it helped them to set goals in life, with one of the main marked achievements: not to commit any more crimes.
Now Zalgiris Kaunas and its One Team Ambassadors – whose efforts this season are being supported by a new sponsor, Ramirent – will continue to work over the next few months with a new group from the Kaunas juvenile prison.
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.