PH International

All Big Changes Start Small!

Georgia | Georgian Police as Leaders in Athletics for Youth | 1 Nov 2015

“I’ll be happy to help but I have no idea of how to couch a basketball team; I don’t know even the basic basketball rules” said Tea Galakhvaridze, Tbilisi Main Police Department District Police Officer, when the GE PLAY program team approached her for the first time and requested for her to participate.

Two GE PLAY Basketball tournaments and a gold medal later Tea has a lot to say about coaching a school-based basketball team, the problems and needs of 3x3 street basketball in Georgia, youth counseling and the tricks to make them study and behave.

“I was intrigued, when I first heard about the program concept, but also very skeptical about the role of the police officers in the program and of how all the pieces would actually fall into place” admits Vladimer (Vova) Boisa, Vice President of Georgian Basketball Federation. He smiles stating that, “I received my first shock during the exchange to the United States, where we saw tremendous commitment of the police officers to the youth work and the scope of projects implemented by the Police in Athletics League organization. I even wrote it in my blogpost that I was considering changing my profession and becoming a police officer.”

“Since our return from the United States, we (the members of GE PLAY working group) have been in constant contact with each other” says Tea Galakhvaridze. “Guys from the Basketball Federation have been a tremendous help. Vova is a really busy person and spends a lot of time abroad, but whenever he’s in Georgia he still finds time to come by and attend our trainings at Tbilisi School #143, play together with the kids, gives advice and just inspires!” she remarks.

“Having Boisa attend our trainings is what having Pele coach them would be for amateur football players”, admits Giorgi Isaaki, a student from School #143 in Tbilisi. “He is our role model. We all want to be like him when we grow up and the fact that despite his busy schedule he still finds time and desire to come play with us and give Coach Tea some advice makes us want to do our utmost, our very best.”