Café Momentum’s mission is 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.


Working alongside the Juvenile Justice Department, Café Momentum strives to teach our country’s youth that it is possible to break the cycle of incarceration and violence that many of our youth have faced. We focus on creating environments for youth, ages 15-19, where they can gain self-confidence and learn marketable skills to ensure a more successful future.


Café Momentum is a nonprofit restaurant that provides a 12-month paid internship program for justice-involved youth. The internship starts with a 2-week orientation at which time interns are connected with case managers to address basic urgent needs, establish a baseline of stability in their lives and set personal goals. The interns work their way through all areas of the restaurant, learning legal employment, social skills and life skills. Case management works to round out the ecosystem of support including; financial education, parenting classes, educational assistance and career exploration. Case managers help to work through issues such as anger management, trauma recovery, fatherlessness and abandonment. After the 12 months of curriculum, successful interns are able to graduate from the program and are placed in a job with one of our community partners. These youth, who the juvenile justice system has referred to as “throw-aways” are now employed, tax-paying, wholly contributing members of society.


Ruthies Fueled by Café Momentum serves as an extension of Café Momentum’s mission to provide justice-involved youth another opportunity for job training, employment and mentorship opportunities. This partnership gives Dallas-based interns who have completed a 12-month internship at Café Momentum the opportunity to expand their professional development via a fellowship at Ruthie’s Food Truck. These partners provide employment and training to expand the training, counseling and curriculum that our program offers.


BUILDING MOMENTUM tells the story of founder Chad Houser’s efforts to provide resources, opportunity and wraparound care to justice-involved youth in his hometown of Dallas through the eyes of the Café Momentum team and the inspiring youth that the program serves. In an effort to support the program’s national expansion, the 5-part documentary will explore the Café Momentum ecosystem of support including employment, education, community and mental health services as well as the life-changing impact of the Momentum model on Dallas’ most at-risk youth. Café Momentum has begun its national expansion plans, bringing its acclaimed internship program to 2 new locations in 2021. Expansion is expected to reach 10 markets over the next 5 years, putting us on track for 50 markets in 25 years.

Teaching kids to play with …