Written Testimonials

Read what teachers, specialists, and others are saying about the character education program offered by the Fred Sarkis Yes Pa Foundation.


"I would highly recommend reading Yes Pa in the High School population. The character building aspect of your book is wonderful. Students of all ages often vacillate between their belief system, peer conscience and what's working for them in the moment. Yes Pa can reinforce values or at least offer another choice to them. You offer the voice of a Grandfather or Uncle our students may have had but, never had the chance to learn their life story with ups and downs. As a bonus, your life parallels periods in time that we are studying in other classes. Your first hand accounts of the Great Depression and World War II are invaluable.

Hopefully your extreme generosity and time will be appreciated by the US Government, Our First Lady and Arne Duncan to freely use your Yes Pa materials. I wish you the best of luck with this endeavor and hope you are successful."

Mary Gilman
Jefferson High School
Rochester, NY

"Now that we have completed our unit of study, I can add my voice to the testimonials you have already accumulated. We are a small rural high school in central New York, Newark Valley, and we just used your book in a 9th grade applied English class, students who struggle with reading, writing, and school in general. We began the unit with trepidation for many reasons but the response of the students at every step of the way was positive, curious, and inquisitive. The reading level was such that they could easily handle the material yet worded in such a way to elicit deep discussions leading to insightful conclusions. It was so timely because we as teachers were struggling with many student behavior problems and the standard/traditional curriculum was not meeting the needs of these kids. In a nutshell, it turned out to be a lifesaver!

Your book, Yes Pa was a springboard to the next unit on writing a memoir. The heartfelt pieces of personal writing turned out to be some of the best work the students had produced all year. In addition, we learned so much about these students that would not have been revealed to us in any other way, leading to a deeper understanding of the population with whom we were dealing. Next year, we will read your book earlier in the school year so that we can develop better empathetic connections sooner.

So thank you for sharing your story and THANK YOU for allowing us to use it in our classroom with virtually no added expense. It has been a very powerful experience for us all."

Jill Keeler, Lynn Riccardi
Newark Valley High School
Newark Valley, NY 13811

What do Character Education Specialists say about Yes Pa?

"Messages of character have to be delivered by a person of character. Fred Sarkis is such a person, and the story of his remarkable life will help anyone, young or old, to be a better person and lead a better life. Prisoner of the Truck and Yes Pa have the power to touch hearts and bring out the best in us all."

Dr. Thomas Lickona, Author
Educating for Character
Character Matters

What do Prevention Specialists say about Yes Pa?

"The Yes Pa character education program has been a critical component of our overall school prevention efforts. It has provided our students with the belief that they can be successful and that the combination of determination, enthusiasm and integrity is the formula for success both now and in the future. The blending of prevention and character education programs results in benefits far greater than either can achieve alone."

Lynne Gochenaur
Prevention Specialist
Marcus Whitman School
Rushville, NY

What do Educators say about Yes Pa?

"Yes Pa and Prisoner of the Truck will inspire you with their message as they reveal the inner strength of a man who loves life, who confronts adversity, and who demonstrates how to be of service to mankind."

J.R. Smith, Professor Emeritus
Earlham College
Richmond, IN

"Yes Pa is the best book for children that I have ever read. Not only is it a great story, but it also teaches morals and values. Fred Sarkis gives his readers the keys to success. The program is all set up for teachers with the book Teacher Resource Guide, DVD and web site. Yes Pa is a must read."

Dan Green, English Teacher
Marcus Whitman Middle School
Rushville, NY

"Yes Pa caused my students to have empathy, an emotion that many middle students rarely show. Also, there was an improvement in their overall attitudes and academic achievement. With emphasis on adult or parental involvement, I will always use Yes Pa as required reading for my students."

Joanne Agrasto Reed, English Teacher
Middle School
Waterloo, NY

What do Administrators say about Yes Pa?

"Yes Pa is universal. It touches students as well as adults who look back on their own lives. Yes Pa brings out empathy. It also creates a positive and memorable message."

William Locke
Superintendent of Schools
Arkport, NY

Has Yes Pa been used in other cultures?

"I'm a member of a school in Uascalientes, Mexico. I know you through Tom Lickona's Summer Institute. As we are a bilingual school, we are surely going to use your Yes Pa book and the video of your talk. We are positive that you are going to touch our students. The first time I read Yes Pa I cried, you touched me. I really admire your work and dedication. Thank you."

Marcela Pous
Colegio Bosques
Aquascalientes, Mexico

What do Students say about Yes Pa?

"Your motivational message spoke to me in a special way. I believe we all have 'trucks' to get off of in our lives. Your positive outlook on life has made me think more on the positive and less on the negative."

What do Research Studies say about Yes Pa?

The results of two independent science-based outcome studies support the significant impact of the Yes Pa program. Students showed significant increases in their belief that they have control over their future and that positive outcomes are related to their efforts. They were also less likely to attribute their success to luck or other factors outside their control. Research has shown that young people, who believe in control of their outcomes, are more likely to pursue and be successful in education and are less likely to become involved in substance abuse and other problem behaviors.