Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar has demonstrated the power of basketball by making a real positive difference to the lives of local young people through One Team, Euroleague Basketball’s social responsibility program.
For the last few months Lokomotiv has been focusing on social inequality, working with a group of 16 children aged 11 and 12 from public school 66 in the city of Krasnodar.
The weekly sessions have been designed to help the local kids find their place in society and live a healthy lifestyle, and a shining example is 11 year-old Vlad, one of the school’s pupils.
Vlad is physically fragile because he has a weak immune system. He is also prone to mental distractions, and during the first few sessions he struggled to play a full part – he would not listen to instructions, interrupt the coach and fail to try his hardest.
As time went by, however, he became inspired by the coach and started to understand the benefits of the One Team program, making more effort and showing more interest and engagement. Besides the main One Team sessions, Vlad also took a part in other activities such as the annual One Team Games in December and a fun promotional video for BasketBeat.
By the end of the project he was actively interacting with the rest of the group, always showing a positive attitude, and helping the coach by organising the basketballs for the sessions and lining up the participants for the drills.
Vlad was the first to begin all the tasks and made friends with his teammates, coaches and ambassadors, and there was also a wider positive impact upon his behaviour away from the One Team sessions in his daily life.
Dayana Benderik, One Team Manager of the club said: "According to Vlad's teachers and parents, he began to take more initiative in school, improved his grades and even became the head boy of his school class. He also started to play basketball more regularly, which has really improved his health.
"At the end of the program, Vlad did not want to leave the lesson and tried to persuade us not to finish the project! It was one of the most emotional moments of the whole program.”
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-focussed projects.