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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — The smiles spoke volumes. Heaving chests and tears of joy outshined the scars of their troubled pasts and punctuated stories of transformative journeys. 

The 16 Miami-Dade County teenagers — all of them juvenile offenders craving a second chance — soaked in the applause that the room full of NFL greats and dignitaries rained down upon them Friday night.

They had helped prep, cook and serve a four-course meal for a pop-up dinner at Quality Meats, a Miami Beach restaurant, two nights before their city would host Super Bowl LIV. The meal pleased palates, and the stories inspired. But the young restaurateurs-in-training benefited the most thanks to the support they received from their guests and the training they received this week from Dallas-based Chef Chad Houser and his interns. 

The experience helped give them a sense of purpose and hope. It placed them one step closer to redemption. 


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