2009-04-17 / Letters

A Shining Light

Dear Editor,

On July, 10, 2008, Patrick Hernandez, someone who held so much promise and was so proactive in his quest to just do the right thing, was taken from us.

Reared in our community, a true leader by example, Patrick went above and beyond what was required. He was raised in a loving environment by great parents and truly inspired all that came in contact with him.

I am deeply saddened that he never got the chance to see his dreams of receiving a college education materialize. He was to begin at SUNY Cortland as a philosophy major after graduating from Far Rockaway High School six months early.

As a mother of a young son I try to monitor his movements at all times, but as he matures, my grasp can only reach but so far. I entrust his safety to the educators and neighbors in our area and pray each day he comes home safe. My greatest fear is for someone to tell me my child is not coming home.

When you turn on the news or pick up the newspaper, when you hear of a tragedy such as this, it is often followed by gang related or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not this time. This was a senseless dimming of one of our community's brightest lights.

My hope is that we can all now band together to ensure the safety of our youth. We must stand united in providing alternative settings. Educators and church officials must take responsibility and whenever possible open up their schools and Houses of Worship to the youth of our area.

Elected officials must secure funding for programs aimed at promoting mediation and recreational services for the children of our area. Parents must also take responsibility and be held accountable for their children.

Every year for as long as I live, July 10 will not only be my birthday, but the day Patrick was taken from us prematurely. As a community we must band together to protect our children because they literally are our future.

KIMBERLY JENKINS

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