Unicaja Malaga has extended a successful new campaign to support local people with Down Syndrome as part of its community work with One Team, Euroleague Basketball’s social responsibility. The Spanish club is one of 40 EuroLeague and EuroCup teams all over the continent working together to improve the lives of disadvantaged people, using the power of basketball to spread a message of equality and empathy which stresses 'We Are All One Team.'
This season Unicaja developed a new partnership with Down Malaga, an association founded 20 years ago by a group of parents whose children have Downs Syndrome with the objective of improving their quality of life and giving them more independence.
Over the last couple of months a group of 14 young people, ages 15-25, have been learning different life skills through specially designed basketball drills. Sessions have been taking place every Wednesday at the club's Pabellon de Guindos and the main objectives of the program, which is also supported by the Unicaja Foundation and the Basket4Life initiative, are building self-confidence, motivation, teamwork, humility and discipline.
The activities are being backed by Unicaja's shooting star Adam Waczynski, who is serving as the club's One Team Ambassador and recently attended one of the sessions despite suffering an injury during his own practice session earlier in the day.
Waczynski's determination to attend the event proved to be worthwhile as he spent a great afternoon with the youngsters. Afterward, he said: "I had an amazing time with the kids from Down Malaga. The main thing I can learn from them is that I need to be happy with the small things in life. They make one basket and they are happy, smiling and running like they have won a championship, so the best lesson for me is that we need to take care of ourselves and be happy with small things."
The project has been so successful that the Down Malaga association has requested that the program be extended beyond the scheduled eight weeks and the club is looking forward to continuing its valuable work with this important new partnership.
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.