PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — From cappuccinos to chai tea lattes, Khupsamlian Khaute (who goes by Sam) finds pride in each drink he makes.
Sam is pouring that passion into a non-profit called Jubilee Hall, a space where immigrants and refugees get hands-on training while learning English and get access to programs that will start them on a new life.
“When I first came (to the United States), it was really overwhelming,” Sam told KOIN 6 News. “Working in a coffee shop, I had to learn a lot of new skills, new terms, even working with my English and all that.”
Sam gained confidence through making drinks and talking with customers. But he said when he first came to America, he was really shy and didn’t have all that confidence.
“I learned a lot in a coffee shop,” he said.
So he had an idea for the non-profit. Recently he’s been doing pop-up stands, including one at a church parking lot in October, where he talked with KOIN. The events are a chance to raise money while spreading the word about his vision.
“I was picturing a coffee shop. We can have trainers, volunteers, kind of helping people who are new to make a learning experience less overwhelming,” he said.
The goal is to have Jubilee Hall open in May 2022 in the heart of East Portland in the Blackburn Center.
“I feel like I owe it to people who are new now and are in the same shoes, so that’s kind of like the vision and the dream,” he said.
It will be a place to make newcomers feel welcome — not too different from what Sam experienced years ago when he came to Portland.
“It’s overwhelming when you first arrive and I kind of went through that process,” he said. “I want to make it less overwhelming by providing this space that was curated for them.”
If you’d like to help Sam with his vision for Jubilee Hall, online donations are welcome.