Rytas Vilnius has started its sixth successive One Team season, with the main objective of using basketball to give youngsters advice about life, to warn them about potential dangers and to help them choose the right path towards important goals.
The participants of the Lithuanian team's first practice of the year were young players from the local social centre Veliucioniu, guided by the club's youth program coordinator Aurimas Jasilionis, who shared many tips about life, basketball and how they connect together.
The youngsters showed a lot of positive energy, and were ecstatic to be given a chance to exercise with experienced coaches as well as shooting some hoops at the team's Siemens Arena.
"I loved meeting and talking to the coaches," Danielius, one of the participants, said. "Our practice was a lot of fun. I have never played basketball before and never felt such great emotions. I feel very good in my heart after being able to play at such a big arena."
Arminas Vareika, the club's One Team Coordinator, said: "We explained to the participants the goals and objectives of the One Team program. They understood the purpose is not only to learn about basketball, but also about life. Sometimes kids can choose the wrong path in life, but we will give them a chance to move forward and the tools to do so."
There will be a total of 10 One Team practices in Vilnius over the next few weeks, organised in partnership with Youth Can, a program that has the mission of providing Lithuanian youth with opportunities to play, learn and grow.
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.