Comfort Food Gives Kids a Second Chance at Life

It's 4:30 p.m. at Old Skool Cafe and it's time for a reality check.

"If your manager asks you to do something and you say no, that's insubordination," Desiree Maldonado warns her young staff. "We are not going to tolerate it. We want respect all around."

Maldonado was once one of them. But Old Skool Cafe has helped her turn her life around.

Her staff includes kids as young as 16 who may have already had run ins with police. Some may have spent time in jail. Others may have had a tough time in the foster care system. These are kids that fall through the cracks, but they have a place here.



Old Skool Cafe was started 15 years ago by Teresa Goines. She was a corrections officer and had seen kids cycle through the system with no future in sight.

"These are young people who have often been thrown away in our society. They have often been incarcerated. They have been out in the streets doing things that they feel is their only option. And we are excited to show them a different option," said Goines.

Now those kids are excited to have a job. They wash the pots and dishes. They cook the food. They wait on tables and they provide jazz entertainment.

Kevin Tucker is one of their mentors. His title says executive chef, but he is so much more.



"I am the father of the house," said Tucker. "There are my kids."

Old Skool Cafe is open for dinner every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.