“There is no quick overnight solution that can course-correct decades of disinvestment, neglect, and marginalization. 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.” – Founder, Chad Houser

Our Mission

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.

Who We Serve

Working alongside the Juvenile Justice Department and local community partners, 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 safe environments for youth, ages 15-19, where they can gain self-confidence and learn marketable skills to ensure a more successful future.

We currently have restaurants and programs in Dallas, Nashville and Pittsburgh. To learn about our expansion, please click here.


The Momentum Model

Café Momentum is a nationally-recognized nonprofit restaurant and training program that provides a paid internship for justice-involved youth. The internship includes 12-months of curriculum programming.  It starts with a 6-day orientation period, at which time, the interns receive their ServSafe® certification.  The interns are paired 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 the interns 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 young people, who the juvenile justice system has referred to as “throw-aways” are now employed, tax-paying, wholly contributing members of society.

Externships and Employment Partners

We envision a country where justice-involved youth are provided with opportunities that will nurture and build their professional and career goals. While some interns continue to progress in their restaurant careers, others are employed by our employment partners including Amazon, Starbucks and Virgin Hotels. By offering Café Momentum graduates with paid employment externship or employment, organizations are helping communities thrive. We want to see our young professionals succeed and continue expanding on the foundation they built during their internship at Café Momentum. 

If you’re interested in becoming an employment partner or would like to create externship opportunities for Café Momentum interns, please email us by clicking on a location below. 

Community Services Center

The Community Services Center (CSC) increases Café Momentum’s impactful hours with interns while offering youth a safe place to study and recharge as they work toward their goals. 

Additionally, the CSC allows for more engagement with volunteers and partner organizations to provide academic tutoring, mentoring and life skills workshops. 

If you would like to volunteer or donate items (supplies, snacks, etc.), please email info@cafemomentum.org or click on the button below. 

The Documentary

BUILDING MOMENTUM tells the story of founder Chad Houser’s efforts to provide resources, opportunities 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.

Find out more at BuildingMomentumFilm.com