From chopping and roasting to catering and cleaning, Café Momentum interns get hands-on restaurant experience, equipping them to move from the justice system to self-sufficiency.
As the nonprofit restaurant and training program expands, we’re thrilled to support Café Momentum’s growth and their mission: to transform young lives by equipping our community’s most at-risk youth with life skills, education and employment opportunities to help them achieve their full potential.
For Lifeblue Producer Kenny McNett, his experience as a youth counselor made him particularly empathetic with teens and the organizations that work with them.
“I just know that time of life is so hard, especially when you don’t have a support system,” Kenny said. “At Café Momentum, interns receive wraparound services as they gain life skills. Then, those interns share what they’ve learned with their friends and their community. So, not only is Café Momentum teaching each youth how to change their life, but it’s also teaching their entire social circle.”
More than 1,000 young people have trained at Café Momentum since it opened in Dallas in 2015.
[Read: What interns need to build their own experience: Trust, flexibility and humanity]
“There is no quick overnight solution that can course-correct decades of disinvestment, neglect, and marginalization,” Café Momentum Founder Chad Houser said on the site. “But we can at least attempt to create a new system of support for our kids coming out of the justice system. We can create a place for them to land.”
Soon, two new Café Momentum locations are expected to open in Nashville, Tennessee, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — with plans for other locations across the country in the coming years.
To support their plans to expand nationally, the Lifeblue team crafted the Café Momentum site to scale with them.
“We talked through their long-term business plans to ensure that the site represented the larger picture that they want to convey to stakeholders,” like donation structures for each entity, Kenny said.
[Read: 5 Innovative Solutions That Served Our Partners This Year]
Now, Café Momentum can seamlessly add new locations to the site on the front end, while separate email lists, PayPal accounts and other operational needs are added to the back end.
These steps support Café Momentum’s goals of reaching 10 markets over the next five years and ultimately, 50 markets in 25 years.
“It’s fantastic — when we talk about the expansion, I see them get a sparkle in their eyes,” Kenny said. “It’s such an exciting venture that will help empower thousands of teens. To get the opportunity to contribute to that journey is so rewarding.”
Want to support Café Momentum? Make a reservation or donate here.