“I take kids out of jail and teach them to play with knives and fire, and make the community better.”
Cafe Momentum is a restaurant in Dallas, Texas that will be opening next month, and promises to offer the community a unique service, by giving a second chance to people who are typically overlooked by other employers. This restaurant specifically employs former juvenile offenders, who were recently let out of jail and looking for a new start.
Cafe Momentum founder Chad Houser actually established this restaurant with the sole purpose of creating a stepping stone for newly released juvenile offenders. Houser was able to fund the project through over $1 million in donations, which came from a number of individual sources and organizations.
When the Cafe opens next month, it will be primarily staffed with former inmates of the Dallas County Youth Village, a nearby juvenile detention center which imprisons nonviolent offenders.
“When I actually met the kids, I was blown away by how wrong I was. These boys all looked me in the eye when they spoke. They called me ‘Sir.’ They were so eager to learn, so enthusiastic about doing a good job. It was pretty obvious that, for a lot of these kids, making this ice cream was the first time in their lives that they had been able to do something they could be proud of,” Houser said.
In addition to the important on-the-job training that the young people will be receiving, the restaurant will also offer classes in finance, anger management, art, and social media.
“It’s not just about giving these young men a job, it’s about creating a holistic environment where they can be immersed in all the tools and resources they need to be successful in life, which extends far beyond working at a job,” Houser said.
John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.