Since opening its doors in 2015, Café Momentum's become well-known in Dallas's food scene, not just for its farm-fresh fare but for the young men and women who serve it.
"My probation officer referred me. Honestly, this place was just to come here and get a paycheck,” said Jedarrian Jones.
That was in 2016.
A year later, after graduating from the post-release internship program designed for kids coming out of juvenile detention, Jones went on to work at other downtown restaurants.
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"This place showed me that I had the potential. I had people supporting me, letting me know I could do so much more,” he said.
Now at 21, he’s back at Café Momentum as part of its staff and working as an ambassador for a program that hopes to expand the model to other cities.
Next week, he and others will head to Los Angeles, just in time for the Super Bowl.
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"On Wednesday, we begin training 10 local justice-involved youth out of LA County, and then they'll cook and serve a pop-up dinner for 100 guests on Friday night,” said Olivia Cole.
Cole serves as the Chief Marketing Officer for Momentum Advisory Collective, the non-profit's expansion arm.
After serving more than 1,000 kids in Dallas, not just through employment but also education, community and mental health wellness, Cole said they hope to expand Café Momentum's model to 25 other cities over 10 years.
Exposure at the big game could be a game-changer.
"If we can take opportunities like this at the Super Bowl to bring that conversation to the forefront of things that are broken and things that we can actively fix and change, we'll be able to support more young people and hopefully prevent them from going into a cycle of incarceration,” said Cole.
Café Momentum's slated to open in Pittsburgh and Nashville this year, just the start of the change this team hopes to inspire.
"I feel like every kid needs that support and love so they can be themselves,” said Jones. Café Momentum’s traveling to the Super Bowl in partnership with the Stand Together Foundation and Players Coalition.