In 2007, the Sport and Art Educational Foundation (SAEF) was established as a certified non-profit 501(c)(3) organization designed to serve the community as a multi-purpose facility to benefit the lives of 1) senior citizens in the early stages of Alzheimer's, 2) the growing population of seniors and baby boomers whose lives have become sedentary and inactive, 3) "at-risk" children from low income families, and 4) developmentally and physically disabled children.

The SAEF will also serve as a state-of-the-art professional table tennis coaching facility committed to the training and development of the next generation of U.S. Table Tennis athletes for future Olympic Junior Competition and world-class participation in the sport.

Michael Zaretsky President & CEO
Mikhail Zaretsky, the President & CEO of the Sport and Art Educational Foundation and a member of the Board of Directors, is also the President of the Gilbert Table Tennis Center, one of the most highly respected table tennis facilities in the country. The Gilbert Center is renowned for having produced the prestigious Gilbert Cup Event during 1996-1998, which to this day remains the most famous international table tennis tournament ever held in Los Angeles. After years of rigorous training as a young boy, Mr. Zaretsky won the distinguished Belarusian Junior Championship at the age of 17. By the time he turned 22, he chose to become a professional coach and has followed that path ever since. Mr. Zaretsky has dedicated his life to passing on his depth of knowledge and experience to young children everywhere who represent the future generation of table tennis champions; and by doing so, sharing his love for this extraordinary game and his belief in its life-changing potential. The creation of the Sport and Art Educational Foundation - in its entirety - is a direct result of Mikhail Zaretsky's personal and heartfelt vision.
Deepak Nayar Director
Deepak Nayar, an independent producer, began his career in his native India collaborating with the Merchant Ivory group on films including "Heat & Dust," "The Deceivers," and "The Perfect Murder." He then moved to Los Angeles and produced on TV series at ABC, CBS, and FOX. Soon after, Nayar started Kintop Pictures, and produced films for David Lynch and Wim Wenders, earning an Oscar nomination for Wender's "The Buena Vista Social Club" and a Grammy nomination for the music video "Teatro." In 2001, Nayar produced "Bend it Like Beckham," earning both Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations. Most recently, he produced Eli Craig's "Tucker and Dale vs. Evil," which premiered at The Sundance Film Festival and won the Audience Award at SXSW. Followed by, "Swinging with the Finkels," "Foster," and the thriller "Speak No Evil." Nayar is also an Executive Producer on upcoming feature films "Jesus Henry Christ," "Bullet to the Head, "Safe," as well as "Judge Dredd 3-D" and "Walking with Dinosaurs 3-D." Future projects include "List of Seven" and "2nd Objective," both based on bestselling books by Mark Frost, the creator of "Twin Peaks."Mr. Nayar has been a long time benefactor to the Sport and Art Educational Foundation in its fight against Alzheimer’s and serves as a valuable member of the SAEF Board of Directors.
Michael James Jackson Director
President and co-founder with Graham Nash of Manuscript Originals, Michael James Jackson has been a record producer and music supervisor for film for over 25 years. Mr. Jackson previously worked with artists such as KISS, Paul Williams, Jesse Colin Young, Pablo Cruise, and Red Rider, among many others. Having produced over 30 albums, Mr. Jackson's work has earned eight gold and six platinum record awards. He also conceived and produced the highly successful "Off The Record" book featuring 25 of the world's most celebrated songs and their writers, along with producing the "Songstories with Graham Nash" radio show for XM Satellite Radio. Mr. Jackson is an honorary member of the Board of Directors for the Sport and Art Educational Foundation and serves as the Head of the SAEF Advisory Council.
Anita Zakharyan Director
Anita Zakharyan is an extraordinary table tennis champion. Her initial awards began with her winning the Junior European Champion in 1977, 1979 and again, in 1980. In 1984, she was crowned the Women's European Champion, to be followed by her winning the Individual Women's Championship in the USSR in 1984 and 1986, earning her the status of the # 1 women's player in Russia during those same years. A three-time World Bronze Medalist winner in team competition, Ms. Zakharyan also holds a Bachelor's Degree from the Armenian State Institute of Physical Education. After moving to the United States in 1989, she was named a member of the United States National Team and during the years 1991-1995 was a Gold, Silver and Bronze medalist in the U.S. Nationals Competition. Ms. Zakyarhan, an undisputed world champion player, is an esteemed member of the Board of Directors for the Sport and Art Educational Foundation.
Lorry Spektor Vice President
Lorry Spektor serves as Vice President of the Sport and Art Educational Foundation and supervises all aspects of our financial grants efforts and oversees all programs for the SAEF. Mrs. Spektor holds a Bachelor's Degree in Biology and is fluent in two languages. As an individual with a multicultural background, she has a unique understanding of the diversity of our Los Angeles' community that she diligently works to serve. Mrs. Spektor is directly responsible for providing oversight and organization for our fund-raising activities, the pursuit and establishment of annual government grants, general public relations for the SAEF, and monitoring the fiscal management and general efficacy of our numerous programs and associated care facilities.
Bernard Semerdjian Creative Director
Bernard Semerdjian serves as the SAEF Creative Director. Mr. Semerdjian, a gifted Honors Alumni from the Mt. Sierra College of Art and Design, is the creator of the beautifully designed animated rendition of the proposed Sport and Art Educational Foundation Facility that appears on our website. Specializing in 3D Imaging and Interactive Digital Interface Design at his company, Semerdjian Design, Mr. Semerdjian has also been a dedicated table tennis player for the past four years. We are grateful for his exemplary work on behalf of the Sport and Art Educational Foundation.
Sooyeon Lee Program Instructor
Sooyeon Lee, one of our most sought after coaches, is currently ranked # 9 among women's table tennis players in the United States. Born in Pusan, South Korea, Sooyeon Lee won the prestigious New Zealand Women's Championship in 2004. She also played on the Korean National Team during the years 1999-2001, after having won the Korean National Junior Championship several times as a member of the Korean National Junior Team during the years 1991-1997. Ms. Lee holds a Masters Degree in Sports Psychology and a Physical Education Degree from the Korean Sports University. Ms. Lee is a certified USATT Table Tennis Coach.
Kundan Ghimire Program Instructor
Kundan Ghimire, born in Nepal, began playing table tennis at the young age of 9 years old. At the age of 13, he played in the All India National Championship winning the Bronze Medal in the Team Championship category. In 2001, he placed 3rd in the Under 14 Boys Category at the North India Juniors Championship and from 2001 to 2005, representing his school, continued to compete as a young player winning various Regional Championships. He later also represented his state in the Indian National Championships. Once having moved to the United States, he won in the Boy's Category in the California State Open and again in the California Golden State Open.
Elie Zainabudinova Program Instructor
Elie Zainabudinova, one of the finest table tennis coaches in the Los Angeles area, began playing the game when she was only eight years old. In 1999-2000, she was ranked as the # 1 women's player in her home country of Kazakhstan. In 2006, she became the California State Champion, and currently is one of the most highly respected of KIllerspin's sponsored players. Ms. Zainabudinova, who provides expert training lessons for all age groups and skill levels as a coach and teacher, also supervises the Sports and Art Educational Foundation Juniors Training Programs at all levels.
Bella Livshin Program Instructor
Bella Livshin has been a table tennis coach since 1968. As a player, she has won numerous U.S. Open and U.S. National titles in the Over 50 and Over 60 age groups. Ms. Livshin began coaching the Los Angeles Junior Maccabi team as early as 1995 and due to her success as their valued coach, still holds the position today. Ms. Livshin also serves as a coach at the Santa Monica City College table tennis programs. Her passion, experience and skill for the game is unparalleled, and aside from being an extraordinary certified USATT Table Tennis Coach and player, she is one of the most respected members of the Sport and Art Educational Foundation faculty.

"Betty Stein, 91, has been coming to the Gilbert Center for about seven months. Since starting lessons, she's been eating more and remembering more of her activities, has better balance when she walks, and is more talkative, said her caregiver, Flor Narvaez.
She's more alive — she's enjoying life more," Narvaez said, as the neatly coiffed Stein rallied the ball with coach Bella Livshin at a table nearby. "When you live with her every day, you can see the difference — something's going on.""

Heller, Rachel - The Jewish Journal. 24 Jan. 2011


"We have our members Eli, who has Alzheimer's, Anita who has Parkinson's and Edie who suffers from mild cognitive impairment have all come to play ping-pong. Edie normally requires a wheelchair, but when she arrives to play ping-pong she is able to walk, her shoulder is better, her body seems to be improving immediately afterward and her daughter at home notices significant difference. Eli remembers ping-pong the most clearly of all his current activities. Under normal circumstances he has difficulties walking, but when he comes back I notice a major difference in the way he is walking and in the way he interacts with others mentally and physically. And, the most profound difference that I notice is in Anita. She has a mixture of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's with a Flat Affect. She has a completely different affect when she returns. She is much more lucid, more alive and vibrant. She is also able to participate in mental and cognitive exercise much more successfully as well as interact with other members of the group after participating in ping-pong."

Friedler, Mina - Facilitator at Senior Schai Center located at the Westside Jewish Community Center


"Fryda wasn't sure about coming over to play because she didn't feel she had the ability and the body strength to do this kind of exercise. She doesn't have good balance, concentration, but more importantly she doesn't care for anything. Now, she is waiting for this time and she feels so excited and so motivated. Like today she hit the ball 18 times in the row. Words are simple but they mean a lot. She didn't want to even go downstairs from the floor upstairs and now she is waiting only for this time."

Hernandez, Celia - a friend of Fryda Devorak


"A friend told me about this program, that's when I called and came, because I want the best for him and the more the mind works it's better. We came for three weeks in a row and I saw how it works and it's really good, I saw a difference and I see improvement. He likes it a lot. I am so happy and if someone asks me about this program I am going to say, "yes, go"."

Alvarez, Sue - Caregiver for Wolf Zaidman

Press & Publications

For all media inquiries please email us at
Or you can call us at 323.933.3703

Article in the Beverly Hills Courier

Article in USATT Magazine

SAEF was featured on the radio, 102.7 KIIS.FM, 98.7 KYSR.FM and 570 KLAC AM. We go on at about 16 minutes.

"For Alzheimer's and dementia patients, pingpong is a game — and therapy"

"Ping Pong Therapy"

"Pingpong therapy brings net gains to Alzheimer's patients"

"Alzheimer's and dementia patients enroll in ping pong program"

"For Alzheimer's and dementia patients, pingpong is therapy"

"Table Tennis Therapy"

"For Alzheimer's and dementia patients, pingpong is a game and therapy"

"For Alzheimer's and dementia patients, pingpong is therapy"

"Exercise Your Brain"

"Ping Pong for Alzheimer's and Dementia"

"Pingpong: Treatment for Alzheimer's patients"


"SAEF/Alzheimer's Program"