“The idea here is to create an ecosystem of support for the kids on all the issues and barriers that have prevented them from achieving their full potential in life,” founder and chef Chad Houser says.
The program started in 2009 when Houser taught some kids in detention to make ice cream for a competition. The enthusiasm of the teens he taught inspired him to launch Café Momentum. Between 60 and 70 percent of the restaurant’s workers at any time are young people with juvenile records. Houser says 751 kids so far have come through the program and only a handful have gotten into trouble with the law again.