ARGETINEAN PARMO-LOVING BFG IS TEESSIDE ROLE MODEL
Teesside welcomed a larger than life visitor in January to help tackle crime in West Middlesbrough.
6’10 parmo loving basketball player Cacu Alemanno flew 25 hours on a plane and more than 10,000 miles to help friend and former team-mate James Thomson deliver the Role Models project in West Middlesbrough.
The former Argentina international player normally visits each Summer to help Teesside Lions run their junior camps, but has made the special trip for a month to help engage young people in schools and the community across Hemlington, Acklam & Whinney Banks
Teesside Lions are working with the Office for Police & Crime Commissioner, and Thirteen Group to engage young people in the community and within schools to encourage them onto a more positive pathway.
James Thomson is the architect of the Role Models project and coach at Teesside Lions. He has brought Cacu over to have an immediate impact and the results have been very positive.
“Cacu is a giant of a man and his personality matches his size. He has been helping us within schools and engaging with young people in the community. He is a great character and is leaving a lasting impression in the area.
“kids and teachers at schools are really enjoying the sessions. The values we are teaching are being well received and the small seeds we are sowing are having a positive effect.
“Even in the community where engagements with young people are more challenging, we are beginning to form relationships and build trust. People across the communities, including those we haven’t yet met are aware of the ‘big Argentinean basketball player from Teesside Lions.’
“We want to show people we care and have time for them. We have options to help them into more positive activity including new basketball club sessions we have developed in the area.”
Deputy Head of Hemlington Hall; Mrs Knox was very happy with Cacu and James when they visited for their weekly sessions adding “It is a brilliant day learning about basketball.
"The coaches were amazing! Super with the children; so inclusive. Our children were absolutely buzzing with excitement.”
Mr Grimes of Whinney Banks school is also full of praise stating: “The Teesside Lions have been delivering their Role Models project for three weeks now and it has been very popular with all the children.
“I love the themed values for each session which instil positive messages throughout the sessions. The basketball players have a way of getting through to the children and its impressive to witness.
“I am aware of families within the school attending Lions home games and also children attending community sessions, meaning they are in a safe environment and not risking trouble on the streets. Hopefully they can make this a long-term project and expand on these early results.”
Cacu flew in on 3rd January and will be in Teesside until the 5th February when he will make the long return home. Since retiring from his fully professional basketball career he keeps himself busy on the family farm as well as taking on player/coach role with his home town team San Martin in Marcos Juarez which is located 275 miles North West of Buenos Aires.
The big friendly giant has also been coaching within the club’s community and junior development sessions and is enjoying his visit, adding:
“I am very happy to be here and supporting this great Role Models project. James is one of my bestest friends and he is doing very good things in the community. I am very happy to come and help my friend and people in Teesside and see everyone I know and meet new people.
“I love Teesside and the people here and I also love Parmo so it was easy decision to come.”
Cacu will often eat more than two parmo’s a week when he is here, and while it’s not the healthiest of diets, he laughs off any concerns adding:
“I am big so I need more. I am only here for one months so I have to share my years allocation in one months. I work and train harder as well so I can enjoy my parmo."
The Role Models project is funded via the CURV fund through the Cleveland Office for Police & Crime Commissioner. The PCC is Steve Turner who has been a big advocate of the role sports can play in the community.
Basketball sessions for the community have been developed at Kings Academy on Monday 5.30-6.30pm and Acorn Centre on Friday 5.30-6.30pm. Sessions are only £2 for those within the catchment area and FREE scholarships are also available to those within the project.
For more details including other sessions around the area, or to book, email Roar@TeessideLions.com or text 07795431869.