Train At-Risk Youth to Become Professional Restaurateurs
Roughly half of Dallas' at-risk youth who get out of juvenile detention are carrying a past traumatic experience. Once they're out, these at-risk youth often have nowhere to go and nothing to do. They end up returning to past negative behaviors and re-offend. What awaits these youth post-release is often an onslaught of homelessness, unemployment, lack of legal resources, medical needs, and—sooner or later—despair.
Instead of quarantining kids away from society, Cafe Momentum offers meaningful employment and a nurturing accountability program for youth coming out of juvenile detention to learn and apply life skills. How do they do it? Running a restaurant. Youth learn professionalism through culinary arts and service. Executive chef and founder of Cafe Momentum Chad Houser said, "I just want to open a restaurant and let these kids run it," so in 2005 he signed a lease and built a restaurant with a 12-month paid internship. After 12 months, successful interns are able to graduate from the program and are placed in a job with a community partner. These young men and women, who often get labelled as “throw-aways,” are now employed, tax-paying, wholly contributing members of society.
Cafe Momentum has served over 450 youth since 2011.
85% of students never return to jail
$19+ millions saved in Texas government expenses to juvenile detention
In 2017 they served 156 youth and 92% of those interns have not returned to jail.
Also, they make a delicious single origin chevre!