Second Helping: Cafe Gives Juvenile Offenders Second Chance

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DALLAS -- This is one place that will give you a second chance. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings was on hand to break bread and officially welcome Cafe Momentum to Thanksgiving Square downtown.

"It's so important for our business to understand that greatness can come from tough times," Mayor Rawlings said.

Mayor Mike Rawlings, Executive Chef Houser, Tamarrion Washington

It may look like your typical corner cafe, but this place has something special that isn't on the menu.

"Our running joke at Cafe Momentum is that we take kids out of jail and teach them to play with knives and fires -- and makes Dallas a better community," Cafe Momentum Executive Chef Chad Houser said.

Yeah, you heard right. For the past five years, Cafe Momentum has taken 160 young men from juvenile detention centers and given them the chance to get real world work experience, serving up something other than jail time.

"We're seeing kids that never thought they would have hope, didn't have inspiration in life, actually going on to great things," Houser said.

Tamarrion Washington Cafe Momentum

Tamarrion Washington is one of those kids. "When I was 14, I committed a crime, and I ended up going to JDC," he said.

It took going to a detention center for Washington to realize he was definitely on the wrong path. But that was then, and this is now.

"I learned how to, you know, go to work, come home and take care of my daughter," Washington said. Eight-month-old Leah is his biggest motivator.

"I want her to know that she do have a father, you know, and that her dad always been there, since day one for her," he said.

And this dad is now getting the momentum he needs to turn his life around.
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Find out more about Cafe Momentum.