Thursday, December 17, 2015

Helping make Real Life-Shifting Changes: Our DA putting on Expungement Day, Jan 13, VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

TO:  My Friends, Pastors and Church Leaders.

Volunteers Needed: Calcasieu Parish District Attorney Putting on Fresh Start Initiative, January 13, 2016, to help 250 Participants Apply for an Expungement to help them Get a Job. 

70 Non-Attorney Volunteers Needed (no special skills or training required).

From: Paul Pettefer, Volunteer responsible for Recruiting Volunteers,, 337-794-9891

Say you have a problem, a past failure, and you try to overcome it and can't.  So you try again, and fail. And you try again, and the door stays shut.  Well, you might just stop trying.

For many fellow neighbors in Calcasieu Parish who have a criminal record, this history stops them on the times they try to turn things around. Stops them from getting a job, or getting a better job.  To work in most Industrial Construction sites or at the Plants you need a TWIC Card, and having a criminal record can keep you from getting your card.

Try. Fail. Quit.   Hopeless is not good.  Not empowering.  That’s where we step in!

Our District Attorney, John DeRosier, has launched the Fresh Start Initiative to help lots of our neighbors see if they can get an Expungement for criminal records for Calcasieu Parish arrests and convictions.  Many crimes cannot (and should not) be expunged. But many can.  The process has several steps and can be very complicated. Fresh Start Initiative is a way to eliminate that barrier.

Here is John DeRosier, our Calcasieu Parish District Attorney, on why we should do this,
“My office is concerned that the inability to obtain an expungement can prevent some individuals from gaining employment.  We believe that gaining employment provides opportunities for individuals to break the cycle of criminal conduct, increases the public safety for all who live and work in Calcasieu Parish, and assists former criminal offenders to create stable, productive lives for themselves and their families in Calcasieu Parish.

“Louisiana law allows for the expungement of certain arrest and conviction records under limited circumstances. Obtaining an expungement removes the record from public access, although the record is not destroyed.  An expunged record is confidential but still available for use by law enforcement agencies, criminal justice agencies, and certain other agencies as defined by law.”

As a Pastor with the particular calling to equip the Church toward a Lifestyle of Restoration and Engagement, I see opportunities like this as God-Given on-ramps for building our mission! We do this by modeling the behavior we want the people we are leading to follow (i.e. you and I volunteer and serve), and be encouraging the people we are leading to do the same!

Volunteers, HOW IT WORKS:
·         Our initial Fresh Start Day will be on Wednesday, January 13, 2016, in the Buccaneer Room at the Lake Charles Civic Center.
·         We will process up to 250 Participants who have Pre-Registered to apply for an Expungement.
·         We will need 40 Attorneys to volunteer, and 70 Non-Attorneys. 
·         I am responsible for recruiting the 70 Non-Attorneys.
·         We will work 2 shifts:  Either 8-Noon, or Noon-4. (Yes, you can sign up for Both!)
·         We will feed you lunch and have T-Shirts for all Volunteers. 
·         Non-Attorney Volunteers must attend a 1 Hour Volunteer Training, 5:30-6:30,
either on Jan 5, or Jan 12.
·         NO SPECIAL SKILLS OR TRAINING NEEDED! We need willing people who can attend the 1 hour training and a half-day (or whole day) shift at Fresh Start Day, Jan 13.
·         Volunteers MUST REGISTER ONLINE at!fresh-start-initiative/c1z5j Please Register NOW to stake your place in this hope-building opportunity.  I really need to know how many volunteers we have.
·         I am absolutely available to come and share with any of you or any group you have about this Initiative. You can reach me or call/text 337-794-9891.
·         The Justice & Accountability Center out of New Orleans has designed and pulled off similar events several times before, and they are coordinating Fresh Start, so our event is Very Well Planned and EXTREMELY ORGANIZED and Professional!  You can volunteer and recommend this opportunity with Confidence that the Volunteers will have a very positive experience, with a well-run event that serves the least get a Fresh Start! 

FOR PEOPLE NEEDING EXPUNGEMENTS: Through prior outreach efforts, the DA and the SWLA Law Center already had hundreds of people requesting Expungements, and as a result, as of today, we are actually FULL, with 250 Participants. Thus WE ARE NOT making ANY Public Announcement to recruit Participants, AND ARE NOT ACCEPTING ANY NEW APPLICATIONS FOR PARTICIPANTS FOR THIS SESSION OF FRESH START.  Some may drop out and allow additional room, and I will keep you informed on any waiting list procedures we develop. Please DO NOT CALL THE DA's office! Keep contact with the person, and be in a position to let them know about future opportunities. 

FYI: The Expungement process has $550 in costs to the agencies that work to process the documentation. There may be some possibility of waivers, but the Participants that Register and show up for Fresh Start need to be prepared to fund those costs. If you want to help pay for Participant's Expungement costs, then let me know. There is a fund in the works at the Community Foundation SWLA which may be a good vehicle for such grace to flow into. 

QUESTIONS: We love questions. Call/text Paul, 337-794-9891 or email If I don’t know I’ll get it from the DA’s office or one of the other volunteers helping make this day great!

Your friend and partner in helping our city feel the impact of God’s Incredible Grace,

Paul Pettefer
Since #JesusIsAlive, then from #Goosport2Graywood, #theCityShouldBeDifferent

Here are some attachments (email me and I'll send them) for you us use:
·         Shift Schedule Flowchart. As you can see, the event will be very organized!
·         Fresh Start Initiative Postcard. While we are FULL at this time for Participants, I want you to see the card, see the Hope that is carries for people whose past failures are holding them down. As Church Leaders, we are Hope Dealers and love joining in on
·         Screenshot of the Volunteer Registration Page, available here,!fresh-start-initiative/c1z5j
·         Volunteer Confidentiality Agreement. Volunteers will sign this at the Volunteer Training they attend.

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