It's hard to imagine that the bubbly barista behind the counter at La La Land Kind Cafe was struggling a year ago.
Ciara Morton said she would be homeless if she didn't work there. "If this light never came into my life, I would be suffering from depression," she said.
The Dallas coffee shop has become a safe haven for foster kids. In Texas alone, more than 1,200 youth aged out of the system last year, and many end up on the streets.
"We're not in the business of coffee — we're definitely in the business of kindness," said Francois Reihani, the La La Land owner.
Reihani created a program where foster youth learn how to make it in the real world. So far, he's hired nine kids.
Although it cuts into his profits, he said, "there's a balance in life, right? We have a duty to our society to help the ones who are in need, right?"
Ciara Morton was placed with a foster family after her father sexually abused her when she was 15. Nearly five years later, it's still difficult.
"I try to push it behind me because it happened, I want to move forward," Morton said. "Everything he did won't go away. But …. "
Ciara says La La Land is a place she can finally call home. She said the best part of working there is "having a support system with me. Having people who believe in me — that gives me ambition. It lets me work at my goals and believe in myself. That is my favorite part."
for more features.