A record, regardless of any sentence served, creates yet another barrier for people working to create a better life for themselves and their families.
The Promise and our grantees are hosting 30 record-clearing clinics in 30 weeks to help low-income Philadelphians access free record-clearing and employment help.
One of our grantees, the Community College of Philadelphia Foundation, was gracious enough to walk us through what it takes to host a successful clinic and give us a behind-the-scenes look at their July event.
Derrick Perkins, executive director of student transition success programs at Community College of Philadelphia organized the event.
“There are a lot of stigmas associated with having a record, so we want people to feel welcome and make people feel like this is just another fun neighborhood event,” he said.
“The biggest challenge is to make it as inclusive as possible. We have free food, understanding that many of our community members struggle with food insecurity, and we meet the childcare needs of folks when they come.”
Derek pointed out the importance of having other resources available at the event.
The clinic serves as a first step to getting an individual’s record cleared, but a lot of attendees also need immediate assistance, whether that be financial planning, employment opportunities, or summer programs for kids.
“We just want our community to know we care about them, that we’re here for them.”
And it worked.
Despite the heat, people showed up with their families to not only seek legal assistance with their records but also to take advantage of the fun atmosphere.
“This is all part of the work we need to do. CCP provides a resource in the form of education, but it means nothing if someone gets a certificate or an associate degree and then can’t get a job,” he added. “So, we want to think more holistically about the process – creating a pathway for folks and removing any barriers we can to their success.”
To learn more about The Promise, our grantees, or to find a clinic near you, visit ThePromisePHL.org/Opportunity.