Pendletons look to change teens' mindsets

July 27, 2013 (KENWOOD, Ill.)

It's the kind of pain that never goes away.

"Hadiya told us she was going to be famous. It's our goal to carry on her legacy," said Cleo Pendleton.

It's been six months since 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed while hanging out with friends in Harsh Park. It was a crime that captured national headlines.

Having experienced such a loss, many parents would withdraw from the world. Not the Pendleton's. At a small gathering at Judge Patricia Holmes' Kenwood home Saturday night, which included Mayor Emanuel and Lt. Governor Sheila Simon among many others, the Pendletons spoke of the foundation they've set up in Hadiya's name.

The purpose: To mentor and help fins jobs for young inner-city men.

"We thought it really important to change the mindset of our teens, give them the opportunity to go back and let them grow," Nathanial Pendleton said.

"This is an epidemic," said Cleopatra Pendleton. "At the rate were going were going to lose a generation."

Speaking briefly in support of the Pendleton family, Mayor Emanuel praised the couple for their efforts.

"I give them 100 percent credit for their focus on not being more Michael Wards," Emanuel said. "There should be a lot more Hadiyas."

For the Pendletons, the goal boils down to this.

"I have lost a daughter, but I have a son, and I need the best for him," Cleo Pendleton said.

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