‘Day of Caring’ project focused on expungement education

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., -- Instead of picking up paintbrushes or fixing up landscape, Jubilee Jobs decided to take on a special project for this year's annual "Day of Caring", sponsored by the Heart of West Michigan United Way.

The Grand Rapids non-profit teamed up with Thomas M. Cooley Law School and other agencies to host an "expungement workshop" at the Wealthy Theatre.

"It's really about being creative and thinking outside of the box and trying to be innovative with giving back," explained Brenda Brame, Program Manger for United Way. "Everyone wants to become a productive citizen, everyone wants another chance."

The event paired members of the public with volunteer attorneys and law students to answer questions about how to get certain minor offenses legally sealed from their records. Crimes such as Criminal Sexual Conduct, felonies punishable by Life in prison and some traffic offenses such as DUI do not qualify for expungement.

Participants were able to leave the workshop with their questions answered and the resources to begin the process, which includes submitting an application and attending an expungement hearing.

"Really at the end of the day, it's up to the judge," said Ayda Rezaian-Nojani, staff attorney for Cooley Law School.  "No one can make a final determination, but we can help them understand the process and understand what they need to do to get to that hearing."

The workshop also included representatives from various employment groups to provide resources to job-seekers.

Brame said all together more than 1,300 workers took time off Friday to participate in various Day of Caring projects.

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