The idea for Youth Can was born way back in 2014. We were inspired by an organization called Hoops 4 Hope. They used basketball to teach Life Skills to children in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Basketball was how they caught a child’s attention. But the Life Skills was how they changed that child’s life.
In Zimbabwe and South Africa, H4H was using sport to teach kids about HIV / AIDS and how to avoid drugs, stay off the streets and live a healthy life-style.
We believed that this model of sport-for-good was something we could replicate in Lithuania. Certainly, it wasn’t going to be hard to get kids from rural areas to come and play basketball; but what about the Life Skills part?
In 2014, we identified suicide and alcoholism as two major issues that were plaguing Lithuania and impacting almost every citizen in some way or another.
Our idea was to focus on some of Lithuania’s most rural and disadvantaged villages. The simple plan was to take what we’d learned from H4H and apply it here.