Aug. 1—VALDOSTA — The Mental Wealth Center recently hosted its second annual record restriction and career fair event.
MWC assisted more than 250 residents of Lowndes County and surrounding counties expunge their records, representatives said.
The free event was in partnership of Park Avenue Church, Lowndes County Judicial Council of Georgia, Georgia Legal Services Program, the State Bar of Georgia, Southern Judicial Circuit of Georgia, Lowndes County Board of Commissioners and Valdosta Police Department.
Attorney Andy Stone, a Georgia Legal Services volunteer, said, "I have been able to form really good initial relationships with people and help them to get started on the right track."
Stone said he assisted a man who had been experiencing housing and job application denial due to wrongful charges appearing on his record. Stone said he determined the root of the issue and he will follow up to make sure the process continues.
Sarah Anderson, Georgia Legal Services Pro Bono supervising attorney, said Georgia Legal Services provides multiple services into civil legal aid; however, record restrictions is the only program for criminal work.
"Assisting with record restrictions impacts the community because a criminal record can stop people from getting better jobs, housing and getting into educational programs," Anderson said. "This program helps people get over that hurdle so that they can get on to what they need to do."
Georgia Legal Services are free to applicants who qualify.
"This is truly a labor of love event and a collaborative effort with multiple community organizations," JaTaryia Thomas, Mental Wealth Center co-owner, said. "It is such an amazing feeling to be able to facilitate a second record restriction event for our community. The impact that an event like this brings to our community is immeasurable."