Serbian, USA teams visit special-needs home in Novi Sad
Novi Sad, Serbia, July 3, 2014 – The Volleyball Federation of Serbia and sponsor Vip Mobile continued with their “Volleyball Connects” programme with a visit to the “Milan Petrovic” special-needs school in Novi Sad.
Players and staff from the Serbia and USA men’s teams visited the home and school for primary and secondary students along with Slobodan Milosevic, secretary general of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia, CEV Vice President Jan Hronek from the Czech Republic, and international referees Taufik Budaiya from Tunisia and Ebrahim Ali Jafar from Bahrain.
After a musical performance, the guests were addressed by Slavica Markovic, director of the school; Aleksandar Petrovic, Chief of the Lord Mayor’s Cabinet in the City of Novi Sad; and Secretary General Slobodan Milosevic.
The players socialized with the residents of the home and gave them gifts. Dragan Stankovic, Serbia’s captain, and American player Paul Lotman tried to play the "sound beam" machine – a special unit for children with special needs – and got a well-deserved round of applause. Later, in the school’s gym, the children and the athletes played an exhibition volleyball game.
School Director Slavica Marković commented: “We are honoured to have these great athletes here. We are very happy and excited. We will remember this day for a long time. We are really grateful for this opportunity.”
Jan Hronek admitted to getting emotional during the visit: “It is a really great idea to organize this meeting. I even cried a little bit because my original profession was a school teacher and I like children very much. Thanks to both teams for being here. When you see these children’s eyes and happiness, it is a thing that you’re never going to forget.”
John Speraw, head coach of the USA said: “I am grateful to the Serbian Federation for organizing this event. We are always enthusiastic about the opportunity to grow the game, and also our presence within the sports gives us the opportunity to be role models for young people.”
Slobodan Milošević, secretary general of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia was pleased that the Americans could also join the event: “I am very happy, especially because the U.S. team expressed their interest to be here. We never miss a chance to be with the kids and this project is very special for us. Of course, we will continue to do this in the future as well, because the kids are real, and our athletes are real, and it is the right kind of interaction.”
Serbia and the USA will play World League matches on Friday, July 4, in Novi Sad, and Sunday, July 6, in Belgrade.