A pal is a close friend who accompanies his buddies in their activities. This definition turned out to be a perfect fit for Tony Pashos' new community outreach program, 'Pashos' Pals.'
The new program is the Jaguars offensive tackle's way of connecting with the kids from the Guardian ad Litem Program. The interaction will allow them to get to know Tony on a personal level and see him as a positive role model.
Twice a month, Tony takes the kids to different places and events to show them what the Jacksonville community has to offer. During the events, Tony interacts with the kids so they can get to know each other, have fun and learn all at the same time.
Along with school and hospital visits, Tony feels that these events are a way for him to make a lasting impression in the community and toward these kids.
"I love to participate in the community but this specific program allows me to have a greater impact on these kids that I would like to make. I want to be able to have these kids around so I can help them focus on making the right decisions, and I can develop long lasting relationships with them," he said.
Pashos' Pals have been able to go on three trips so far, and the lasting relationships are already being built. The kids have been on a tour of Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, a shopping spree at Dick's Sporting Goods and have taken a water taxi over to the Jacksonville Landing to see the Holiday lights and decorations. They have also gone out to eat at Maggiano's in the St. John's Town Center and Pizza Palace in San Marco.
Even though the program is in its early stages, the expectations are high with Tony.
"All I want is for the kids to be happy and smile," he stated. "I want to be able to take them places and let them do things that they have not done. This will hopefully provide vision and direction for them in life."
Pashos' Pals will continue its events after the New Year through the offseason. Tony hopes that the kids will continue to learn from the experience, while he says, "I'm learning from them, too."