Changing Perceptions was conceived by Will Avila, an ex-offender who was sentenced to an adult prison at the age of 16 years and spent 10 years in-and-out of prison struggling to transition back into the community. Will, like so many other returning citizens experienced first-hand the challenges—and rejection—that came with transitioning back into society and the workforce. Finally, in 2014 he decided to start a for-profit business, Clean Decisions (commercial kitchen cleaning and general labor services.) Will dreamt of helping employ returning citizens—people like him—who longed for an opportunity to prove to society they are worth investing. Clean Decisions has successfully provided full- and part-time employment to over 30 people, and they have a 100% anti-recidivism rate. However, in addition to employment, what the year highlighted was the desperate need for therapeutic and supportive services. Returning citizens not only struggle to find employment, but they also need training and counseling to help them successfully transition back into contributing members of society. Thus emerged Changing Perceptions.
Changing Perceptions provides supportive services and job training to the re-entry community—ex-offenders and formerly incarcerated individuals—in Washington, DC. Our array of therapeutic services and business development training programs are designed to prepare returning citizens for career pathways that will help them advance into the middle class and equip them with life skills that will allow them to be productive members of society.
Our goal is to create a life and career pathway that will break the chronic intergenerational cycle of criminal activity and poverty for those returning home from incarceration.
Changing Perceptions enables returning citizens to reach their full potential,
personally and professionally by delivering personal and business development opportunites that pave the way for career paths and entry into the middle class.