The eighth season of One Team, Euroleague Basketball's social responsibility program, has already come to light in Valencia with the first session at the facilities of L'Alqueria del Basket.
This season, the practice of basketball is being used as a vehicle to promote social inclusion by Valencia Basket, which is working alongside the María Auxiliadora Foundation with the aim of encouraging children who are at risk or encountering social exclusion.
In last week's first session, a group of 14 young people met their new coaches: Paco Pardo, Pepe Casares and Juanjo Rojo. They were also introduced to the ideas behind the One Team sessions, which will take place every week until January.
Víctor Luengo, the club's One Team Manager, joined the first session and explained: "We are happy to start a new One Team program. We have been supporting One Team for eight years, and we are pioneers with this kind of program. The new group of children arrived with a lot of desire and they have broken the ice so fast. Our coaches Paco and Pepe always make the first sessions very friendly for them.
"María Auxiliadora is a foundation that has many social programs, and we are pleased to have chosen this group of kids. They will enjoy basketball and the values of One Team in a very special way for sure."
Inma Mora, Director of the Maria Auxiliadora Foundation Day Center, valued the excitement with which her pupils started the sessions. "For them, it is a dream to be here," she said. "We work with the children through sport because it is a good way to promote values, social skills and the relationship between them. And the most important thing is getting out of the usual routine, getting to know a different environment and learning new things.
"On the way to the first session the children were talking about what it would be like, and when they arrived they were very happy. Their faces as they entered showed they are delighted!"
Promoted by the daughters of María Auxiliadora, the fundamental mission of the Maria Auxiliadora Foundation is to respond to the socio-educational needs of children, teenagers, youth and women at risk or suffering from social exclusion, helping to transform our society into a more fair and more humane world.
The goal of this One Team project is that all the people who participate feel welcomed, valued and can be protagonists of their own growth process. The project will have ten training sessions that will take place on every Friday between now and January. As in the previous seven seasons, it is again being sponsored by Obra Social La Caixa.
In each session, the participants will enjoy positive experiences and develop healthy habits of self-improvement that can be transferred to the school or work environment.
This is all achieved through learning the basics of a collective sport such as basketball, which helps participants understand the values of sacrifice and responsibility that derive from organized exercise. In that way, they can use sport as a formula for personal development and take the right steps towards growing as people.
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 real social impact in our communities and is supported by every club in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup.
Since its founding in 2012, the One Team program has reached already directly and indirectly 19,000 participants through its various team projects.