Tofas Bursa has made a successful start to the new campaign with One Team, Euroleague Basketball's continent-wide social responsibility program.
The Turkish team, which is competing in this season's 7DAYS EuroCup, kick-started another season of activities with One Team last Saturday, with the club's power forward Berkan Durmaz present for the opening session at the Mustafa V. Koç Sports Facilities.
Tofas has teamed up with Renk Autism Association, a non-governmental organization in Bursa that is committed to helping local families with autism and related intellectual or developmental disorders.
Young first team player Durmaz, Tofas's One Team Ambassador, came along to the first session to take part in the basketball exercises, and afterwards he stated his pride at being part of the project and the enjoyment he gained from spending time with the autistic children.
"They are very clever people but their communication methods are different," Durmaz explained. "We tried to connect with them through tailored attitudes. We already worked with Renk Autism Association two years ago for a different project, and now I am proud that we are joining together again as part of One Team."
Kartal Onel, coordinator of the club's New Generation project, added: "It was exciting to start this new project. We are happy to see that autistic children respond well to our basketball coaching when they are approached appropriately. We will continue the sessions for the next seven weeks and teach the basics of basketball to the children with enjoyable games."
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 16,000 participants through its various team-focused projects.