Matteson, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Culver’s of Matteson will host a very special fundraiser on the evening of Tuesday, July 24, in memory of 10-year-old Jaleel R. Drayton of nearby Park Forest, who lost his life at the age of 10 this past July. Proceeds from the “Donate While You Dine” event will benefit the Drayton Family.
Culver’s of Matteson at 20716 Cicero Ave. will direct 25% of group sales from 4- 8 p.m. to the Drayton family. After his parents had reported him missing, Park Forest police discovered that Jaleel R. Drayton, age 10, drowned in a pool at the Aqua Center after hours on the night of July 2-3, 2018.
Close to 200 gathered in the Library parking lot on July 13, near the fence that lines the very pool where young Jaleel lost his life.
“It’s good for all of us to be together to embrace the family,” Ms. Kenyatta Mickey said the night of the vigil. “Something life-transforming has happened in our community. Ordinary words fail us, yet it’s impossible to remain silent.”
Alvin Lacy, who coached Jaleel in the Park Forest Hurricanes and knows the Drayton family, spoke at the vigil of the obligations adults have toward children. “In sports, we always talk about the ‘It factor.’ ‘It’ is something that you can’t coach. It’s that somebody who has ‘It.’ And it separates you from certain people.
“[Jaleel] had that ‘It Factor.’ You see it right here. You see it with all of you all right out here.”
Coach Lacy challenged adults at the vigil to make time to take time with youth in the community.
“As adults, we have a responsibility,” Coach Lacy continued, “we have a duty, to reach out to kids. Sports, organizations, YSOs, after-school programs, are not just for them to have bodies [that show up.] It’s for you to be able to make an impact in their lives, and for them to make an impact in your life. So, when you see our kids walking through this park — and I live out here, and I walk through Central Park — talk to them. Ask them what’s going on. Don’t be afraid to go sit up under the canopy because there’s a group of them. That doesn’t mean that they’re doing something wrong. Reach out to them.
“I guarantee you, when you get to know them, they’ll change your perception, your thoughts. We can’t compel them to come if we don’t come to them,” he said.
Culver’s General Manager Dawndria Murray hopes the event in Matteson called attention to the tragedy of drowning in announcing the “Donate While You Dine” event, “Drowning is a growing epidemic and one that is taking too many children in the U.S.,” she said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Draytons and we are asking the community to join us that evening to remember Jaleel while helping to support his family.”