How do you give troubled teens who have spent time behind bars a second chance? Possibly by putting them behind a restaurant kitchen’s swinging door instead. At least that’s the idea behind Café Momentum, a restaurant in Dallas opening at the end of the month that is partially staffed by formerly incarcerated teens. The 37 teenagers, all of whom have spent time at detention facilities, are treated as paid interns at the restaurant, participating in a new type of rehabilitation program for troubled young people.
"I did a burglary," Emmai Killion, 19 told local news station KHOU as he explained the path that lead him to Dallas County Juvenile Detention Center. "Then I got locked up for about nine months. They teach me how to work with people, communication, and customer service.”
The teens are given jobs in the kitchen, dining room, and bakery. Fittingly, Café Momentum’s slogan is “Eat. Drink. Change Lives.”
They made be onto something. A similar, successful idea was enacted by Drive Change, a fleet of food trucks operated by former Riker’s Island inmates.