LIFE

Man Who Spent Over 10 Years In And Out Of Jail Starts A Business And Gets Help From John Legend

by Gwendolyn Plummer
Gwen is a writer, reader, hockey fan, concert goer, and lunchtime enthusiast.

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 ten years, explained that he “went through 22 job applications and got rejected 22 times,” according to Fox 5 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 set-up and clean-up for special events.

At Clean Decisions, Will has 15 full time employees, and all of the employees are also former inmates. One employee, Andre Thomas, told Fox 5 DC 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. In doing so 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 himself partnered with an organization called New Profit and with Bank of America. With their support, John is helping Clean Decisions, and other companies like it. He said that he wants to support former inmates for family reasons. Will and Clean Decisions will get a $50,000 grant thanks to John.

The money is helpful — but the acceptance is even more important. Will told Fox 5 DC, “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!

Photos: Fox 5 DC; Instagram / John Legend

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