Dallas-based restaurant and culinary training facility Café Momentum celebrated its first-place prize of $50,000 in BBVA Compass’ BBVA Momentum accelerator program for social entrepreneurs at an event on Mar. 8 at its Dallas restaurant location. BBVA Compass clients and Dallas community leaders were in attendance at the event, where the former juvenile offenders who power the restaurant prepared and served attendees a haute-cuisine meal and gave them a firsthand look at social entrepreneur Chad Houser’s (pictured above) ambitious venture to rehabilitate the youth and help them reenter society.
Café Momentum provides paid internships to former juvenile offenders. They receive intensive culinary, job and life-skills training as well as continued mentoring and support, all of which is designed to foster their successful reentry into the community.
“I want every one of these young people to be able walk out of these doors and be able to say, ‘I believe in me. I can do this,'” said Chad Houser, Café Momentum’s founder, CEO and executive chef, in a press release. “They show up every day, amidst all of the odds that are stacked against them, and they commit. And the commitment that they’re making is to themselves. It’s not to me, it’s not to the restaurant, it’s not to the guests. It’s to themselves.”
Café Momentum plans to use the funding to kick start its campaign to build a 4,500-square-foot Café Momentum Community Services Center in the tunnel space beneath Thanks-Giving Square, which is adjacent to the restaurant.
“To read about Café Momentum is moving in and of itself, but to be here and experience it reaches into your heart in a more profound way,” said BBVA Compass Dallas CEO Key Coker in the press release. “We knew when we launched BBVA Momentum that we were going to meet amazing people who’d dedicated their lives to creating opportunities. That’s Chad, and we’re so proud of him. What we didn’t anticipate was meeting these young people who are teaching us so much about the power of hope and pure determination.”
To further the bank’s commitment to the restaurant, BBVA Compass Director of Corporate Responsibility & Reputation Reymundo Ocañas announced at the event that the BBVA Compass Foundation would be giving an additional $4,000 to sponsor a table and chairs at Café Momentum.
ABOUT CAFÉ MOMENTUM
Café Momentum, a Dallas-based restaurant and culinary training facility, transforms young people’s lives by providing a positive environment in which at-risk youth who have spent time in juvenile facilities receive intensive culinary, job and life-skill training, as well as continued mentorship and support, enabling them to achieve their full potential.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit restaurant, Café Momentum teaches critical skills that allow youth to apply what they have been taught in pre-release programs in a safe, real-world environment of nurturing accountability. By participating in our program, at-risk young men and women rotate through every aspect of the restaurant from waiting tables to washing dishes, while working side-by-side with established chefs.
Find out more on the organization’s website.