It goes without saying that it can be hard to adapt to civilian life after leaving prison.

Will Avila, who was in and out of jail over the course of 10 years, says he “went through 22 job applications and got rejected 22 times,” according to WTTG.

Unable to find someone willing to hire him, Avila decided to take matters into his own hands and start a business.

Avila now heads a company called Clean Decisions, a commercial cleaning service. Best of all, Avila’s success includes 15 full-time employees—all of whom 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.

He also started a nonprofit called Changing Perceptions, which pairs former inmates with mentors to keep them out of trouble.

Will’s hard work in turning his life around after prison, and helping convicts like himself, caught the attention of John Legend.

Legend has partnered with Bank of America, and an organization called New Profit, to support Clean Decisions with $50,000 in grant money. Other similar efforts are winning grants, too, so they can help more inmates, a mission that Legend supports “for personal reasons.”

The money is helpful — but the affirmation is even more important. Avila told WTTG: “My deepest fear was the community and society rejecting us as returning citizens… But for somebody like John Legend and all the support he has given us, it just opens the door.”

WATCH the inspiring interview with Avila at the Little Things website (and GNN will get a referral fee) – and please SHARE the inspiring news with your friends…

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