Earlier this month Khimki Moscow Region marked the start of its second program this season with One Team, Euroleague Basketball’s social responsibility program, by welcoming a group of children and their parents to the Khimki Arena.
This season Khimki are again working with the children from Vera, a local centre for the rehabilitation of children with special needs.
‘Vera’ translates from Russian as ‘faith’, and that quality is being applied by Khimki’s One Team coaches, who are aiming to use the power of basketball to help the children improve their communication skills.
Natalia Nikitina, principal of Vera, said: “We have 400 children under our care, and we do our best to involve as many as possible in the One Team program.
“We appreciate just how valuable this program is for our kids. Growing up may be difficult as it is, and these children, due to their condition, experience extra problems when it comes to self-expression and communication with the people around them.
“We are hoping that One Team sessions will teach our children to feel more relaxed when communicating with peers, make them stronger physically, and, most importantly, find and evaluate their role within a group.”
As the Vera centre does not have facilities suitable for basketball practises, the weekly One Team sessions will take place at the local secondary school #3, thanks to the club’s partnership with the Administration of the Town District of Khimki.
The project is being supported by Khimki center Ruslan Pateev, who was the club’s One Team Ambassador for 2 consecutive seasons and said: “Basketball is, above all, a team game. Teamwork is the key to victory. What we are trying to pass on to these kids is our understanding of what it means to be on a team and why it is important to act in a mutually beneficial way.
“I hope they grasp this principle on the basketball court and transfer it into their everyday lives. I know from my own experience that things you learn on the court affect how you act outside of your sport activity.”
Players from Khimki’s youth academy will also be participating in the sessions, and the club’s academy project coordinator Vladimir Demin added: “This collaboration benefits not only the children of Vera who gain by communicating outside of their ordinary social circle, but also our young players.”
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 14,000 participants through its various team-focussed projects.