The mission of the Yes Pa Foundation is to assist young people and adults in developing positive character that includes a strong sense of control of their future with a positive attitude and perseverance. The Yes Pa program emphasizes integrity, determination, and enthusiasm as the key to happiness and success. Chapter by chapter, Yes Pa uniquely connects the student, teacher, and parent.
Fred particularly focuses on sixth graders. He was 12, in the sixth grade, when he turned his childhood prison on his father's truck into a study center and learned to get even with bullies by excelling in school. By age 16, Fred was number one in a class of 70. At age 17, before entering WWII, he bought his mother of nine a seven bedroom home on Park Avenue in Rochester, NY.
Nearly 2,000 schools in the US and beyond have embraced the Yes Pa Program for middle school students.
Teachers, mentors, or parents: Are you looking for a way to help kids learn that they are responsible for their own life path? Start by downloading the Free Yes Pa book. Then use your home or school technology (computers, smartboards or TV screens) to freely view supplemental videos of Fred's work.
Corrections officials: Yes Pa is a digest of Fred's autobiography, Prisoner of the Truck. At age 12, Fred turned his truck-prison into a study center. Youthful offenders have two choices in prison, sulk or turn their prison into a study center. Watch the corrections video that features youthful prisoners, as well as corrections officials, confirming the positive outcomes.
An introduction to his goals with a personal invitation to browse the web site and download the free Yes Pa program materials. (~1 min)Watch Now (~1 min)
The Yes Pa curriculum is based on Fred's book, Prisoner of the Truck, and the real lessons he learned from his father as a child. This true story starts with Fred's perception of a childhood prison on his immigrant Lebanese father's fruit and vegetable truck. It was a 6-day, 100-hour-a-week job as Fred's Pa went door-to-door selling the fresh fruits and vegetables he'd purchased from farmers.
At age 8, in the summer, while other kids were playing on the sidewalks and streets of Rochester, NY, Fred had to work on the truck. During school months, Fred especially hated work on Saturdays. It was 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., the last call being at a bar.
In school, Fred didn't like being called a pigeon-toed, bow-legged, knock-kneed, or dark-skinned boy. He hated school and did poorly. He sulked from age 8 to 12. The only communication he had with his father was answering "Yes, Pa" when his father ordered him around. At age 12, three 5-minute talks with his father changed Fred's attitude and life.
In the summer of 1938, three major events changed the life of Fred Sarkis forever. These three, 5-minute lessons are the basis of the Yes Pa program available free from the Fred Sarkis Yes Pa Foundation in Canandaigua, NY.
By selling strawberries door-to-door in the summer, Fred learned the power of enthusiasm. He also learned the importance of an education and the golden rule. A talk with his Pa made Fred realize that only he was responsible for where he would go with the rest of his life.
Fred turned the truck into a study center, and at night, Fred studied under a kerosene lamp. He thought, "Abe Lincoln did it, why can't I? And he became president of the U.S."
(Selling Strawberries) — This lesson changed Fred's attitude from negative to positive. He immediately stopped being shy and timid. He became friendlier and happier.
(The Basket Story) — One fateful day, Fred made the biggest decision of his young life. He realized he was responsible for the course his life would take, his destiny. He firmly believed that if he studied hard, he could be anything he wanted to be.
(The Golden Rule) — Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Be fair and honest. Do not lie. Do not cheat. Do not steal. Be the same in school with your classmates, with your friends, with your family, when you get married, when you have children, or if you work for someone or are in business for yourself. You will be happier and a more peaceful person.
"These three, 5-minute lessons by my father, gave me a strong belief that I could escape the prison of mediocrity. I learned the importance of speaking up, openly and honestly. I would fight the good fight with enthusiasm. I would try to win every battle fairly and squarely. I would be equipped to overcome every hardship in my life. I would confront any struggle or problem with the patience I learned on the Prison-Truck. I would turn each difficulty or hardship into a success story. Nothing was impossible." — Fred W. Sarkis