It goes without saying that it can be hard to adapt back to civilian life after leaving prison. Will Avila, who was in and out of jail for over 10 years, says he “went through 22 job applications and got rejected 22 times,” according to WTTG Washington, DC. Unable to find someone willing to hire him, Will decided to take matters into his own hands and start a business.
Will now heads a company called Clean Decisions. It started out as a commercial kitchen cleaning service, but now they offer even more services, like moving help, and setup and cleanup for special events.
At Clean Decisions, Will has 15 full-time employees, and all of them are also former inmates. One employee, Andre Thomas, told WTTG that the job has been instrumental in preventing him from turning back to his old ways.
Will also founded a nonprofit called Changing Perceptions, which helps pair people leaving prison with mentors. He’s helped create 11 businesses and nearly 50 jobs. And all of Will’s hard work turning his life around after prison has caught the attention of a music legend.
John Legend has partnered with Bank of America and an organization called New Profit to support Clean Decisions and other companies like it. He says he wants to support former inmates for personal reasons. Will and Clean Decisions have garnered a $50,000 grant thanks to John.
The money is helpful — but the acceptance is even more important. Will told WTTG: “My deepest fear was the community and society rejecting us as returning citizens, people that had been incarcerated. But for somebody like John Legend and all the support he has given us, it just opens the door.”
Check out the video below to learn more about Will’s good work and John Legend’s help, and please SHARE this story on Facebook!
Footage and photo provided by WTTG Washington, DC
Photo: Instagram / johnlegend
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