French club Levallois Metropolitans, which competed in the 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season, is participating in One Team, Euroleague Basketball’s social responsibility program, for the first time this season.
Along with its partner, IME les Moulins Gemeaux, the club has created a tailor-made eight-week program for 17 participants with intellectual disabilities who are between 15 and 17 years old.
The club's second team, Espoirs, is playing an important role in these sessions, exchanging practices and experiences with the One Team participants.
The coach of Espoirs, Emanuel Pinda, is also taking coaching sessions for One Team and serving, along with Levallois Metropolitans player Cyrille Eliezer-Vanerot, as an ambassador for the program.
With the aim of teaching important life skills such as self-sufficiency, dialogue, adaptation and self-confidence, the club is combining its weekly sessions with a variety of other events, such as a unified game between participants and club members, visits to Levallois home games and joint sessions with Espoirs players.
The connection with the Espoirs team has been particularly important, allowing for shared experiences that create a natural link between the young Espoirs players and the participants, who are of a similar age and can enjoy valuable experiences together on the basketball court.
Eliezer-Vanerot, the One Team Ambassador for Levallois, has visited several sessions. "I have seen that the One Team program brings pleasure, the joy of life, and confidence to the young people," he said. "In spite of the difficulties they are facing, they manage to release themselves through basketball."
Espoirs coach Pinda also believes the program is making a real difference: "This project has given immense pleasure to all of us. Our Espoirs players, the One Team participants and the coaches can all spend time together and this is very important."
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.