Fred Pascarelli is a survivor. Six years ago he suffered a massive head injury that rendered him unable to return to his career in marketing. For two long years, he worked hard to redefine his life. But what the business world lost, YOPAS gained.
YOPAS, or the Outreach Program for Ahwatukee Seniors, supported by the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA, provides free help to people 62 and older, including transportation, friendly visits and phone calls, caregiver relief, light household assistance and personal business support.
Pascarelli was awarded the "Linda Hoppe Above and Beyond Award" at a dinner hosted by Babaloos Cuban Cafe in Ahwatukee Foothills last month.
During the evening in which more than 75 people gathered, YOPAS recognized several other volunteers for their tenured and dedicated service to neighborhood seniors.
"I read about YOPAS in the Ahwatukee Foothills News. I thought, this was something I could do that I would enjoy," Pascarelli said. "I have a better understanding of the challenges seniors face. They cope with macular degeneration, so they often can’t drive; and many times their families live out of town or are unable to take time from work during the day to drive them to doctors’ appointments."
So many of the seniors he helps, according to Pascarelli, appreciate more than just the ride he offers, but also the companionship and conversation. It’s that spirit of going above the call of duty that earned him the award.
"Fred takes many assignments on short notice, or that require a longer drive. He is always upbeat, friendly and accommodating," said Linda Jochim of YOPAS.
"This is a great opportunity to help people right in our own neighborhood. It’s perfect for people who have flexible schedules. I think moms with kids tagging along would be a great fit, because seniors love to be around children," Pascarelli said.
YOPAS invites people to volunteer as little or as frequently as their schedules allow. For further information, contact the YOPAS office at (602) 212-6088.
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Diane Meehl is a mother of three, a freelance writer and volunteer. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.