Harris' Heroes: Cleaning company helps newly released inmates re-enter workforce
WASHINGTON (WJLA) -- Charlie Curtis and Melvin Andrade aren't just building a garden bed. They are building a new life for themselves, thanks to the D.C. company Clean Decisions.
Will Avila started up the professional cleaning company last year to help newly released inmates re-enter society. Avila knows firsthand the challenges. He was 16-years-old when convicted as an adult.
"When I came out, I always had issues with staying out in society and how to get a job, why nobody was hiring me," said Avila.
Clean Decisions hires young men like Curtis and Andrade, who were arrested as teenagers, and trains them. Jobs include landscaping, restaurant kitchen cleaning, even event security.
"They have a very aggressive approach to doing good work and, you know, I think that's key in a lot of businesses. I mean they're a great crew," said Ian Callender, owner of an arts nonprofit called Blind Whino, who has hired Clean Decisions for some events.
Added another client, Bob Dorn, "It made us feel good about not only having a clean business and our place clean, but it helps the community."
And with the support of Clean Decisions, Curtis and Andrade see a bright future ahead.
"I definitely feel good about myself from doing something positive," said Curtis. "I'm not in the streets. I branched off from that type of life, and it actually feels good to work."
"I don't think about the negative no more," said Andrade. "I think about the positive stuff and keep learning and keep moving on in life."
Avila says it's all about extending a helping hand.
"I believe, you know, everybody can change, " said Avila. "It just takes somebody just to believe in you and help you."