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In this newsletter: 

  1. Candid Conversation Leads to Better Understanding of Women's Empowerment
  2. Save Money. Help Children. What Could be Better?
  3. Columbus TV Stations Highlight MY Community Cafe's Mission
  4. Brighten a Muslim Child's Eid - Toy Drive Continues!
  5. Serve Your Community This Ramadan with MY Iftar Kitchen
  6. ‘Career Fri-Yays’ Speaker Gives West Students Hand-On Experience
  7. Dental Drive Distribution Honors Legacy of Our Three Winners
  8. Issa Jeylani Memorial Recreation Center Fundraiser
  9. Helpline: Rent & Utilities Support Information for Clients
  10. MY Deah's Warehouse Donation Bins Locations
Women's Empowerment: 

More Than Just Talk: Candid Conversation Leads to Better Understanding of Women's Empowerment

Dear Community, 

My name is Sheryl Munson, and I am a judge at the Franklin County Common Pleas Courts. I also serve on the Board of Directors of MY Project USA and Chair the MY Justice Warriors initiative of the organization. 

Conversation is the key to understanding – so I was honored to have the opportunity to moderate the panel discussion for MY Project USA’s Women on Fire: Igniting the Path of Empowerment event this past Sunday morning. 

We had a candid conversation with some resilient and change-making women from a variety of ethnic backgrounds about their struggles and triumphs on their roads to success. We also talked about what it looks like to actually empower women and not just talk about empowering women.

On this amazing panel of women, we had:

  • Katana Mullen, Youth Program Director for MY Project USA
  • Zerqa Abid, Founder and Executive Director for MY Project USA
  • Ajmeri Hoque, Attorney and Board Member for MY Project USA 
  • Binish Hussain, Life and Health Coach
  • Safa Mohamed, Board Member for MY Project USA and Director of MY Reading Warrior

As an MY Project USA Board member myself, it was inspiring to hear from these diverse and powerful women who are affiliated with our organization and to see how they are working to empower other women as part of the mission of MY Project USA. I highly encourage all of you to take some time out to watch this video on our YouTube channel here.

As a white, American woman who is also an elected official in Franklin County, Ohio, it was enlightening to hear what these women had to say about overcoming traditional cultural ideas about women’s roles and, in at least one instance, overcoming a traumatic and at-risk childhood to become independent, successful, empowered women who now seek to empower others.  

Empowerment in all forms is the guiding principle of the work we do at MY Project USA. Empowering women is a critical piece of that. We hope to continue this conversation in the future and include as many women as possible in the discussion. Please keep an eye out and join us for these future candid conversations of understanding and empowerment.

Judge Sheryl K. Munson
Board of Directors, MY Project USA

Ramadan Happenings:

Save Money. Help Children. What Could be Better?

Our 'Early Bird' Ticket Sale Ends Monday! Don't Wait!

Time is running out to reserve your spot for our 9th Annual Columbus Interfaith Ramadan Iftar & Fundraiser. 

The "Early Bird" prices are valid through Monday, March 20. So if you want to save the most while supporting the ongoing efforts of MY Project USA to protect and empower youth in Columbus, now is the time to grab your tickets!

The Interfaith Ramadan Iftar is our signature Ramadan event and will be held on Sunday, April 2. This event was sold out at the Dublin Recreation Center last year, therefore we are moving it to the Courtyard by Marriot Columbus West/Hilliard to add a few more seats for the event.

Just like previous years, we will continue celebrating our village and the youth and their families that we have fostered together over the years. We will also be raising money to support our initiatives that have helped us in protecting and empowering our youth. 

Please join us to celebrate our diversity, humanity, faiths and values that have built this amazing village of ours, by breaking the bread together and listening to phenomenal, inspiring speakers. 

Seats are limited. Please make sure to register your seats now and share with your families and friends as well. We are looking forward to seeing you at the dinner.


Table of 10: $700 ǀ Adult: $75 ǀ Student: $40 ǀ Child under 10: $10 ǀ Family Childcare: $25


Table of 10: $900 ǀ Adult: $100 ǀ Student: $50 ǀ Child under 10: $10 ǀ Family Childcare: $25

Add $20 to each ticket price at the door.

Food Insecurity & Social Enterprise: 

Columbus TV Stations Highlight MY Community Cafe's Mission

Thank you to Anna Hoffman of NBC 4 and Stephanie Duprey of ABC 6 for their recent reports on the grand opening of MY Community Cafe.

NBC 4 was on hand for the ribbon cutting and the speeches from MY Project USA Founder & Executive Director Zerqa Abid, MY Project USA Board member and Treasurer Russell Harris and several state and city elected officials. MY Community Cafe is a pay-forward cafe with all proceeds going to help MY Project USA feed and assist all children, elderly, homeless and other clients on the west side of Columbus.

“We will be able to sell this food and put this money back into feeding the children, and homeless and sisters on the street,” Abid told NBC 4.

ABC 6 also had a report on the opening of MY Community Cafe, reporting on how the creation of the cafe will help food insecurity issues in the Hilltop.

"It breaks my heart, this is a very serious situation. This Hilltop area, this corridor is a food desert," Abid told ABC 6.

Special thanks to the following elected officials for coming to support our new venture – Ohio State State Senator Hearcel F. Craig, Ohio State Minority Leader Allison Russo, Ohio State Reps. Dave Dobos and Adam Miller, Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano and Columbus City Councilmembers Nick Bankston and Rob Dorans.

We are ready to serve our community and clients at a new level. This cafe will contribute to the economy of the Hilltop area. It will serve amazing Middle Eastern and Pakistani sandwiches, wraps, platters and more this Ramadan and beyond. We have a seating area for families to eat here. We are also prepared to cater for your Iftar and other parties.

Ramadan Happenings:

Serve Your Community This Ramadan with MY Iftar Kitchen

Sign up now to provide Iftar & Sahoor to local elderly and needy this Ramadan!

We need volunteers. You can either help bring cooked food or donate money so we can order food to feed the needy. What better way to serve Allah by helping His less fortunate people? Please help any way you can. Any amount is greatly appreciated!

This year our aim is to feed 100-125 people a day during Ramadan, and this is not possible without your help and cooperation!

Sign-Up Links:

Link to donate money online: MYProjectUSA.org/Donors

Please designate your donation to MY Iftar/Soup Kitchen

For Questions & Help: Call (614) 905-0977

Youth Development: 

‘Career Fri-Yays’ Speaker Gives West Students Hand-On Experience

Special thanks to Luke Walker, owner of Luke's Auto at 5393 Sinclair Rd., for being our guest speaker on Friday, March 10, during MY Project USA’s “Career Fri-Yays” program event at West High School.

Walker started and built Luke’s Auto into a highly successful repair facility. He has more than 30 employees and founded the Equip Skills Center, which has taught more than 350 students over the years. While at West, Walker led students through the process of taking apart car brakes and engine parts.

More than a dozen students attended the event, which will be held weekly through May. It is sponsored by MY Project USA and the RoundUp after-school program at West.

The “Career Fri-Yays” event services to prepare West students for life after high school. They hear great speakers who have succeeded despite facing various challenges, get the opportunity to network with professionals and more.

MY Project USA is still looking for speakers for future “Career Fri-Yays” events. Those interested should email Youth Program Director Katana Mullen at youthdirector@myprojectusa.org.

Deah Barakat Dental Drive: 

Dental Drive Distribution Honors Legacy of Our Three Winners

Special thanks to Ramy El-Assal, MY Family Pantry Market Director & MY Project USA Board Secretary, and his staff, who distributed 600 dental bags as part of our yearly Deah Barakat Dental Drive.

El-Assal and his staff put together bags with toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss. They were distributed to refugees and needy families in Columbus who cannot afford those supplies.

“Thank you everyone for making this possible,” El-Assal said. “We couldn’t have done it without you.”

Each year, MY Family Pantry at MY Project USA commemorates the lives of Barakat; his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha; and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha. The three were killed on Feb. 10, 2015, in a hate crime in North Carolina.

MY Project USA paused the dental drive during the pandemic but revived it in February. Thank you to all who donated! We are proud to help honor the memories of our three winners.

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: 
8 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 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)

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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