LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Hundreds looking for a second chance waited several hours inside Roosevelt Perry Elementary School Saturday, waiting in a winding line leading them into the school's media center for the Reily Re-Entry Program.
"Everybody don't get an opportunity to do something like this," Jaron Starling, one of the many people who showed up. "Everybody don't get a second chance in life."
"We have had tears today," Louisville Urban League CEO and President Sadiqa Reynolds said. "I have had people hug me today, had people say thank you."
Like many others at the event, William Arnold is also looking for a clean slate. He said his past often haunts his present, his past criminal convictions affecting him through the years, especially when it comes to looking for work.
"It's been 10 years since I've had a charge and it's been a lot of trouble," he said. "I've always had that handicap that I put on myself long ago."
"This is holding people back, keeping them out of jobs, keeping them from being promoted, sometimes keeping them from schools with their children," Reynolds said.
The Louisville Urban League, with help from a generous $300,000 donation from Speed Art Museum Director and Urban League board member Stephen Reily, helped Arnold, Starling and hundreds of others looking for that second chance. Around 40 lawyers and dozens of more volunteers spent their Saturday morning and afternoon at the Reily Re-entry Program, helping those with criminal records process expungement requests free of charge - something that could normally cost several hundred dollars.
"Poverty should not be any excuse for not taking care of what the law allows us to take care of," Reynolds said.
"That's one giant step," Starling said. "Nobody really think they'll be able to do stuff like this until they really actually try."
"It ain't really set in yet but I don't see me being turned down from some of the positions I have in the past," Arnold said.
Now excited to start applying for jobs again, Arnold said he is going to make the most of his new opportunity.
"Hopefully now, they won't look at just what's on my history but what I've got to offer from my future," he said.
Reynolds said there were so many people who showed up in the morning that she had to turn people away, which she said was "heartbreaking." She said because of the high demand, the Urban League will look at how much money is left over after Saturday's clinic. If there is enough money, Reynolds said the Urban League will look to hold more of these clinics in the near future.