Playing Ping Pong has always been a part of life for Ken Lees. His dad Larry, had him on a table in the garage at all hours since Ken was about 5 years old. And today, this game has turned into the creation of a 501(c) 3 Non-Profit Foundation, an Annual PingPongforCHARITY Celebrity Events & Recreation Tournament — endorsed by partner USA Table Tennis Association.
“Back when you played games to 21, I would give Ken a 20 point lead and for every game he won, I took away 1 point at a time”, Larry shares, explaining how they competed over the years. “Yeah, and last year, we finally started a game zero to zero”, comments Ken bragging of how good is Dad plays now, at the spry age of 74!
“Mom and I would travel up and down the East coast watching and supporting Dad play in Ping Pong tournaments”, Ken recalls. “From Onancock, Virginia to Wallops Island, to Salisbury to Pennsylvania, Dad was always playing in these events – and they were fun!”
During high school and college, then as a mid- twenties and single bachelor through a married husband with two kids, Ken always played recreationally with friends, family and anyone who wanted to compete. Many mornings before school starts, Madison and Parker are getting a session in to kick thier days off mentally charged.
But there were never any “amateur” level tournaments to play in. Living in Virginia Beach, sporting events included baseball tourneys, basketball events, volleyball, tennis, softball – and even corn hole. But when can you recall the last Ping Pong tournament come to town?
Then, at age 45, Ken produced the first annual Ping Pong for POVERTY™ Charity Tournament.
The event, now celebrating its 6th year, has become the single largest fundraising event for PiN Ministry in Virginia Beach, VA. as well as a growing financial contributor to Southeast Chapter of Alzheimer’s and Vanguard Landing!
The annual PingPongforCHARITY™ Tournament, over the past 5 years, through player/participant registrations, sales of corporate sponsorships and proceeds from auction & silent auction items has generated over $223,000 in gross proceeds!
The event has gained awareness in the region as being unique, creative and “something for everyone” to participate in, no matter age, gender or skill level. It promotes an active lifestyle and has been noted as an activity to help curb the dependence of technology (texting & video games) our youth are so inundated with. According the US Table Tennis Association, Table Tennis is the 3rd fastest growing sport in the country and is an Olympic event.
Since the Ping Pong for POVERTY™ event has attracted attention of both players and corporate support, several non- profit and business organizations have approached Ken and his company (AdImpact Marketing) to discuss how Ping Pong can be utilized for their organizations; from corporate events, to charity tournaments, to trade shows.
Very interestingly, a Japanese study, published by Alzheimer’s Weekly reveals that playing table tennis regularly is ONE OF THE BEST activities, both physically and THERAPEUTICALLY one can do to minimize the advances of Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Depression and Mild to Modest Intellectual Disabilities.
As a result, we are proud to announce the 6th Annual PingPongforCHARITY™ Tournament, to raise money and awareness for therapeutic focused organizations; the Alzheimer’s Association, PiN, Vanguard Landing and I Need A Lighthouse. We are excited to have Virginia Beach Field House host the event and we’re equally as proud to share that KETTLER USA, an international table tennis equipment provider and sponsor of Olympic players, will serve as one of our Presenting Partners in the annual event.
And because these events have proven we can raise awarness and funding for very worthwhile causes, The Table Tennis Charity Foundation was created.
The TTCF, through the redistribution of its proceeds, provides the means to give back to Partner Organizations who realize there’s a significant and direct correlation between playing the sport of table tennis and its benefits physically and therapeutically.
Whether it be Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Depression or mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, Ping Pong is not just a game, it’s THERAPY.
Please support us. We very much appreciate your help. Without your donations of products and services and your financial giving, we could not give back like we do.
On behalf of our Board of Directors, we thank you sincerely for your consideration to partner with the Table Tennis Charity Foundation!
To read in-depth Interview by Virginian Pilot editor, Cindy Focke: Click Here