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We are excited to announce our 2nd 2023 Fall Grant Recipient!

Thanks to our generous Legacy Giving Circle donor community, Cafe Momentum Nashville is receiving a $10,000 grant towards culinary workforce development for justice-involved youth.

Initiative Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Initiative Cause Areas: Education; Racial Justice and Reconciliation; Vocational Training

UN Sustainable Development Goals: 08 Decent Work & Economic Growth; 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Initiative Description: We began operating a mini-internship program in January 2021. After more than a year operating this scaled down program, we are now expanding into a tiered model based off of the successful Momentum Model created in Dallas, TX.

Our expanded internship follows the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) Restaurant Ready curriculum and develops self-sufficiency and self-advocacy through a tiered model. Tier 1 focuses on building relationships, assessing needs and introducing social/life skills and culinary skills through 48 hours of paid training. Upon completion, interns receive a ServSafe Food Handler’s certification. Tier 2 gives interns an opportunity to apply their new skills in paid shifts assisting with our catering events. As interns demonstrate competency in the areas of personal responsibility, attitude, customer service and communication, they receive NRAEF Restaurant Ready certification and move on to Tier 3, which focuses on reinforcing learnings and identifying next steps. In Tier 4, interns are placed with an external employment partner to gain work experience alongside our continued support and advocacy.

Throughout all tiers, interns receive case management to meet their unique needs. We maintain regular communication with each young person and their support team. Educational support takes several forms, including assisting interns with wrongful suspension and IEP meetings, providing tutors and mentors, and hosting college tours.

Initiative Impact: Our program aims to increase (1) workforce development, (2) life skills, (3) social skills, and (4) educational attainment in justice-involved young people. Over the next year, we expect to:

  • Serve 45-60 new and returning youth
  • 70% complete Tier 1
  • 90% maintain or improve academic progress
  • 100% have access to counseling services through our referral partners
  • 80% improve life skills and self-efficacy scores
  • 80% show growth in financial literacy
  • 100% given the paid opportunity to participate in catering and events
  • 75% obtain stable employment or be pursuing education following the program