Commentary, Opinion, Park Forest

Op-Ed: Reach Out To A Family That Lost A Child

Kenyatta Mickey, reach out
Kenyatta Mickey. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- From Kenyatta Mickey, a resident of Park Forest, who was moved by the death of a child and inspires us to reach out to the child’s family. Ten-year-old Jaleel R. Drayton reportedly drowned in the early hours of July 3 at the Park Forest Aqua Center. Ms. Mickey has lived in Park Forest with her mother since 2007 and has a sense of the strength of the Park Forest community, the people of this Village.

She offered her reflection in a post to the Facebook group Park Forest, IL Residents and Shareholders. We are pleased to share her thoughts here with her permission.

Ms. Mickey asks about reaching out to the family. eNews Park Forest will make information available as soon as we learn it as to how members of the community can reach out and offer support.

For now, we offer the words of Kenyatta Mickey:

Jaleel R. Drayton, 10, of Park Forest, reach out
Jaleel R. Drayton, 10, of Park Forest. (PHOTO: Family)

Today’s loss is weighing very heavily on my heart. Park Forest is and has always been a town full of children.

Our community is mourning the loss of one of those babies today. And we need to come together and support the family of young Jaleel Drayton.

Three years ago my friend lost her 16-year-old son in a tragic drowning accident. I asked her what was most helpful during the first days and weeks after her loss. She told me that the support of her community was one of the things that helped her the most, even till this day.

So I’m asking anyone that has contact with the family please let them know that we as a community are here for them.

He was not just their baby, he was one of us.

He was a friend to so many of our little guys in the neighborhood. He was a classmate to our daughters. He was a Lil Hurricane.

It’s a trying time because many families have to help their children handle the grief of losing a friend so young. I hope that each of us finds it in our hearts to step up and do something kind for the family.

I do not know them personally, but I would love to reach out to them and get their permission to possibly organize a small candlelight memorial for him in the upcoming days, something positive for the children that loved him to come out and show love for their friend.

It’s important for the children to know that they have an outlet for their grief.

Let them come together to share stories of Jaleel and console each other. Or may it be just a moment to for us all be together as a community during this time when the world is watching and grieving with us.

May God bless us all.

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Related: Police: 10-year-old Boy Drowns Overnight At The Park Forest Aqua Center