The latest edition of Zalgiris Kaunas's One Team project with the Lithuanian Association of Children’s Day Care Centers has come to a close and all involved have been delighted to see the changes within the participating youth. Among them is Airidas, who claims to not only have grown as a person but also discovered an activity that he loves.
Airidas's story represents exactly what the project aims for. From a shy and unconfident young man, he has become a role model for his peers in a matter of months and has already seen that effort and hard work pay off.
Airidas learned about the One Team program when he met Egidijus, a representative of the Lithuanian Association of Day Care Centers. At that time, talks had just started between Zalgiris and the association about possible cooperation and ways to help young people find employment, achieve their goals and develop.
When it was decided that the Lithuanian Association of Children’s Day Care Centers would become Zalgiris's social partner for the season, Egidijus started spreading the word about the project and inviting young people to join.
At the time, Airidas was an assistant to his basketball coach and was looking for friends to play basketball with him at different schools. When Airidas visited the youth center, he met Egidijus and they both immediately realized that it was worth joining forces as they both had the same goal.
"I thought it would be very interesting to attend practices in Zalgirio Arena - not everyone has this opportunity," Airidas recalled of his first thoughts about participating in the project.
The changes were particularly evident soon after the project started: "I was shy, afraid to say and do anything. When we played basketball, I joined the activities, I was part of the team, but I didn’t feel good, I was missing something more. I broke out after 3-4 practices when I picked up a camera. Then I started to feel more confident, I wasn’t afraid to speak my mind, I made friends and it wasn’t so scary."
The camera came into Airidas's hands quite by accident, during an event. From that moment on, Airidas brought it to One Team sessions, where he captured his peers and project ambassadors and the emotions of others.