The Reformed Prisoner That's Paying It Forward to Current Inmates

06/17/2015 03:05 pm ET | Updated Jun 17, 2016

We all struggle to find purpose and meaning in life. But few of us struggle for as long or as painfully as Raul Baez, the founder of WITO, Inc.

Baez founded the nonprofit, which is named after his late son, to teach inmates financial literacy and character development. The unique acronym stands for "We Innovatively Transform Ourselves."

The idea came to Baez while he was in prison serving 12 years for a failed armed robbery. Before being imprisoned, he fell into a life of crime while heavily abusing drugs and reeling from the loss of his son, who was killed in the Bronx in 1993, the victim of drug violence.

Baez was released from prison 2010, and three years later, he officially launched WITO Inc. as a nonprofit, teaching inmates about the various subject matters he studied so intently while behind bars himself. The program is now present in six New York City correctional facilities, and has graduated 140 inmates.