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In this newsletter: 

  1. Nominations Wanted for Annual Deah Barakat & Chrys Gee Awards

  2. Pair of MY Leaders Members Take to Skies in New Video

  3. Young Women from MY Leaders Among Those on Hand for 'Amal Walks Across America' Event

  4. Fun with Friends in Grandview, Under-8 Team Successes Highlight Latest from Hilltop Tigers

  5. MY Family Pantry, Partnership with MOFC Highlighted by ABC 6 During Hunger Action Month

  6. Fresh Window Signage Now Up at Global Gifts & Thrift

  7. Ordering From MY Community Cafe Helps Keep Children Away from Drugs and Gangs

  8. Register for Our Family Platinum Card Today!

  9. Have You Read Our Annual Report Yet? It's 32 Pages of Great Info!

  10. Helpline: Rent & Utilities Support Information for Clients

  11. MY Deah's Warehouse Donation Bins Locations


MY Project USA Annual Banquet:

Nominations Wanted for Annual Deah Barakat & Chrys Gee Awards

Deadline for Nominations is Friday, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m.

MY Project USA’s Ninth Annual Banquet is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 4th at the Ohio Union, and we are proud to announce that we are currently taking nominations for the following awards:

  • Deah's Change Maker of The Year Award
  • Deah's Excellence in Community Service & Leadership Award
      - NOTE: Two versions of this award will be handed out. One to a young person, one to an adult.
  • Deah's Community Service Award
      - NOTE: Several awards will be given in this category.
  • The Chrys Gee Activist Award

These awards recognize and honor exceptional individuals who make volunteerism and community service a way of life. Those who exemplify the best in volunteering, a sense of caring and responsibility for others that connects citizens and solves community problems. Each award winner must be someone who makes selfless and extraordinary contributions, in addition to those associated with their normal job duties, for the betterment of the local community and beyond. 

The Deah's awards are handed out in honor of Our Three Winners – 23-year-old Syrian American Deah Barakat, his 21-year-old wife Yusor Abu-Salha and her 19-year-old sister Razan Abu-Salha. They were brutally murdered by a neighbor on Feb. 10, 2015, and we honor all three of them for the outstanding, caring, vibrant, beloved, bright young Americans they were.

The Chrys Gee Activist Award is in memory of Chyrs Gee, a loving wife, mother and activist whose sudden passing in December 2018 left a huge void in our community. She was a remarkable person, someone whose memory inspires others to continue the amazing work she started.

Learn more about each award and nominate someone by clicking the button below. All nominations must be submitted by 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20.

Don't forget tickets are now on sale for the annual banquet, and through Oct. 10, you can purchase your ticket at special ‘Early Bird’ prices! 

The proceeds of the Annual Banquet will fund:
  • Issa Jeylani Memorial Recreation Center
  • MY Soup Kitchen
  • Financial Empowerment of Refugees & the Underserved


MY Leaders:

Pair of MY Leaders Members Take to Skies in New Video

Thank You to the Capital City Young Aviators & the United Way of Central Ohio for Their Support of Our Young People

A pair of young men from our MY Leaders program had an afternoon they’ll never forget when they completed their final flight sessions last weekend as part of the Capital City Young Aviators program, thanks to the generosity of the United Way of Central Ohio (UWCO).

These two young men, Irshad and Jalat Shinwari, both took to the skies at the Ohio State University Airport. Capital City Aviation (CCA) instructors joined both young men as they took part in flights across Columbus. Mansoor Wali and Qasim Omerzai, another pair of young men from the MY Leaders program, recently did their flights as well.

We are thankful to the UWCO and CCA for accepting our young people, each of whom are new Americans from Afghanistan, into the program. This was a unique opportunity for our young people, and without the support of the UWCO and CCA, it would not have been possible.

If you or your organization are interested in becoming a sponsor of our youth for the CCYA program, please reach out to us at youthdirector@MYProjectUSA.org. You can also learn more by visiting the Central Ohio Professional Education Council website at copeceducation.org.

The MY Leaders program, the brainchild of MY Project USA Founder & Executive Director Zerqa Abid, provides opportunities like this for underserved young people. It would have been very difficult for our young people to participate in programs like this on their own, and MY Project USA is proud to be able to expose them to potential professions that they might not otherwise have access to.

Thank you to the City of Columbus, Ohio Department of Education, ADAMH Board of Franklin County and the Women's Fund of Central Ohio for their support of the MY Leaders program.


MY Leaders:

Young Women from MY Leaders Among Those on Hand for 'Amal Walks Across America' Event

Five young ladies, each a member of our MY Leaders program, attended the “Amal Walks Across America” event at Genoa Park in downtown Columbus on Friday evening.

Amal, whose name means “hope” in Arabic, is a 12-foot puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl who has traveled across 15 countries, meeting more than a million people. She has traveled to 13 countries, carrying a message of hope for refugees everywhere – including young children who have been separated from their families. It was a beautiful, touching event and perfect for our young people to participate in.

Our young people were joined by Youth Program Director Katana Mullen and Director of Community Outreach Taqdeerullah Aziz. We thank them for their leadership.

Follow Amal’s progress as she travels the United States at WalkWithAmal.org.


Hilltop Tigers:

Fun with Friends in Grandview, Red Hot Under-8 Team Results Highlight Latest from Hilltop Tigers

It was another busy week of fun for our Hilltop Tigers.

The highlight was a community event held in Grandview, where the Tigers practiced and scrimmaged with their friends from the Under-12 Grandview FC team, led by Logan Phillips. The teams have played competitive games in the past, but this was an opportunity for the squads to come together as friends. After all of the activities, the teams had a meal together.

Thank you to Coach Phillips for the hospitality shown to our kids!

We also wanted to highlight our Under-8 teams, coached by Mohamed Ahmed. They have been unbeaten through their first four games of the fall season with three games to play. The Tigers have been an offensive powerhouse, averaging more than 10 goals per game!

Finally, congratulations to Hilltop Tigers 9-year-old player Faisal Khamis. He was one of several of our Tigers to take part in tryouts for the Columbus Crew Pre-Academy at Historic Crew Stadium. Faisal was one of 40 kids to make the first cut. Good luck the rest of the way, Faisal!

MY Project USA is proud of all of our Hilltop Tigers for their work on and off the pitch. As always, we’d like to thank the hard-working young men who coach our young people – Ali Jeylani, Mohamed Ahmed, Abdi Idris, Bashir Ahmed, Abdullahi Jeylani, Abdullahi Daud, Sharmarke Abdi & Mukumbira Mukumbira. Special thanks to MY Project USA team member Abdi Bakari for his excellent work taking pictures and videos of all of the excitement surrounding our Tigers.

We are always proud to say that the Hilltop Tigers are more than just a youth soccer program. It is a well-established outlet for youth people that helps keep them off the streets and curbs the pipeline to gangs and drugs. The program also stresses education, putting its members on a better path academically.

Thank you to the Ohio Department of Education, the City of Columbus and the Columbus Youth Foundation for their support of our Hilltop Tigers program.


MY Family Pantry:

MY Family Pantry, Partnership with Mid-Ohio Food Collective Highlighted by ABC 6 During Hunger Action Month

Did you know that September is Hunger Action Month? To help raise awareness, WSYX ABC 6 recently visited the Hilltop Youth Empowerment Center to tour the Mid-Ohio Market at MY Project USA powered by MY Family Pantry. Thank you to reporter Jackie Orozco for her report on our pantry and our important partnership with the Mid-Ohio Food Collective.

MY Project USA Founder & Executive Director Zerqa Abid started a pantry two years ago in the Hilltop. It served approximately 100 families a week. Now the pantry is located in the Hilltop Youth Empowerment Center and serves approximately 2,000 individuals and 600 families each week.

“I'm very sad to see that the need is so great,” Abid told Orozco. “But I am very happy that we are able to help people, but it really breaks my heart.”

MY Project USA is especially proud of our team of staff and volunteers that make the pantry a success. It is open four days a week, and thanks to our friends at the Mid-Ohio Food Collective, we've been able to help protect young people and families in the Hilltop by making sure they have access to nutritious and healthy food.

Because as we all know, hungry children are easy prey.

We thank MY Family Pantry Director Ramy El-Assal and his entire team from Ohio State (Michael Abou-Elias, Rahaf Shalash, Noora Rajjoub, Elsa Wani, Stella Aboshahba, Nawal Abdinur and Chai Annamreddi) and other volunteers for helping on Saturdays, which are usually the busiest day for the pantry. We also want to give a big shout-out to MY Project USA team members Ezatullah Momand and Jajuan Parker, who make the pantry a success each week.

Thanks to their efforts, we distribute fresh produce and groceries to hundreds of individuals in our community weekly.


Global Gifts & Thrift:

Fresh Window Signage Now Up at Global Gifts & Thrift

We've got some new vinyl decal signage up in front of the store now! Make plans to visit us in Hilliard and check it out in person. Remember: All proceeds from Global Gifts & Thrift go to fund MY Project USA's programs.

Shop. Donate. Build a Life!

📍Address: 4730 Cemetery Rd. Hilliard, OH 43026 (next to the BMV)


MY Community Cafe:

Ordering From MY Community Cafe Helps Keep Children in Columbus Away from Drugs and Gangs

If you have purchased a meal from MY Community Cafe, you have helped feed children in Columbus. If you have not, now is the perfect time to do so!

It is extremely important to make sure at-risk children in Columbus have access to food. MY Project USA continues to try to provide an oasis in what is a well-known food desert.

We have a goal of serving 100,000 meals in 2023, and it is extremely important to do everything we can to keep children safe. Feeding them is an important way to accomplish that goal.

Please consider donating the our "Sponsor a Meal" campaign today or by ordering some delicious food from MY Community Cafe. 

Order. Donate. Feed a Future!

📍Address: 3275 Sullivant Ave. Columbus, OH 43204 (at the Hilltop Youth Empowerment Center)


Family Platinum Card:

Register for Our Family Platinum Card Today!

MY Project USA is still actively registering low-income clients for our new Family Platinum Card. This brand-new initiative is FREE and has several benefits.

Benefits Include:

  • 20% off discount at MY Community Cafe and Global Gifts & Thrift
  • Monthly prize raffles
  • Holiday gifts
  • “Fast Pass” (a way to speed up the sign-in process) for MY Project USA events    
  • Special “Members Only” events
  • And MORE to be announced!

Please come to the Hilltop Youth Empowerment Center (3275 Sullivant Ave. Columbus, OH 43204) to sign up.


Annual Report: 

Have You Read Our Annual Report Yet? It's 32 Pages of Great Info!

If you have not yet read our latest annual report, click on the image above (or the button below) to download a PDF of the 32-page report. We did our best to put eight years of work in these pages, but that's nowhere near enough to attempt to tell the full story. 

MY Helpline:

Rent & Utilities Support Available at MY Project USA

We have been working very hard in securing grants and building collaboration with other partners to help our clients. Thanks to The Columbus Foundation, United Way of Central Ohio, and IMPACT Community Action, we are still able to help more of our families with their rent and utilities. If you or someone you know needs help, please ask them to contact us at (614) 905-0977 or helpadmin@myprojectusa.org.

MY Deah's Warehouse:

12 Locations In Columbus To Drop Off Donations – Truck Pick-Up Available For Large Donations

You can now drop off your donations of new and gently used clothes, shoes, books, toys and other small non-breakable items in a donation box near you. These locations include: 

  • Noor Islamic Cultural Center –  5001 Wilcox Rd. Dublin, OH 43016
  • Masjid Nimrah – 4501 Refugee Rd. Columbus, OH 43232
  • MAS Youth Center – 4615 Northtowne Blvd. Columbus, OH 43229
  • Turkish American Society of Ohio (TASO) – 2885 W. Dublin Granville Rd. Columbus, OH 43235
  • Ahlul Bayt Society – 2580 W. Dublin Granville Rd. Columbus, OH 43235
  • The First Congregational Church – 444 E. Broad St. Columbus, OH 43215
  • MY Deah's Warehouse – 4004 Fondorf Dr. Columbus, OH 43228. (Business Hours Only)
  • Global Gifts & Thrift – 4730 Cemetery Rd. Hilliard, OH 43206. (Business Hours Only)
  • Heritage Christian Church – 7413 Maxtown Rd. Westerville, OH 43082
  • Omar Ibn El-Khattab Masjid – 580 Riverview Dr. Columbus, OH 43202
  • The Destiny Center – 1561 Old Leonard Ave. Columbus, OH 43219
  • Bethel International United Methodist Church – 1220 Bethel Rd. Columbus, OH 43220

We are looking for more locations. If interested in helping us or have any other questions, please contact us at warehouse@myprojectusa.org.


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MY Project USA
3275 Sullivant Ave | Columbus, Ohio  43204
614-905-0977 | info@myprojectusa.org

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