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In this newsletter: 

  1. Zerqa Abid Asks for More Help from Columbus Leaders After Shootings Near Eakin Elementary

  2. Spring Soccer Season Nears Conclusion But Fun Doesn't Stop For Our Hilltop Tigers

  3. Grants to Help Welcome Afghan Newcomers, Keep Hilltop Tigers in the Game & Off the Streets

  4. MY Project USA Pitches In at First Wedgewood Spring Into CommUNITY Event

  5. Dozens of Families Sign Up for Our New Family Platinum Card

  6. MY Reading Warriors Express Themselves Artistically During Recent Weekly Gathering

  7. 'What's for Dinner?' Order from MY Community Cafe!

  8. Check Out the Unique Items You Can Find During Your Next Trip to Global Gifts & Thrift

  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


Message from The Executive Director: 

Rise in Gun Violence Calls For Expanding the Program to More Youth - Help For Food & Stipend is Needed

New Grants to Extend MY Project USA's Workforce Development of Afghan Refugees & Summer Youth Program are Welcome

Additional $250,000 is Needed to Feed All Children in Program This Year - Calling for Donations

Dear Family,

May has been bittersweet. On one hand, we are dealing with rise in gun violence and have been very worried about the lives and well being of the children on the westside of Columbus specially in the Wedgewood community that has seen multiple shootings just this month alone. See my interview at NBC4 below. 

On the other hand, I am proud to share with you a pair of grants the organization recently received to help our clients. $50,000 from Welcome Fund to expand Afghan Refugee Workforce Development program and $110,000 from the City of Columbus to continue Hilltop Tigers soccer program. Please see the details below in the newsletter.

I am grateful for the support. But. It's not Enough.  

These and previous grants are very helpful. Because of them, we have been able to hire professionals on competitive salaries and been able to extend our services to thousands of clients. We are so humbled and grateful for that. However the reality is these amounts only scratch the surface of the aid we need in order to serve all of the children and families in need on the west side of Columbus.

Our major need is money to buy good, nutritious food as none of these grants allow us to buy food. Thanks to the community donations in Ramadan, we have been feeding all children in the programs since then. In order to keep them away from gangs and drug dealers, we are also starting to give them meals passes to claim free meals at MY Community Cafe when they are hungry. Each participant in Hilltop Tigers soccer program is going to receive a meal pass to claim up to 15 meals a month. This will make them less vulnerable to the criminals in the neighborhood. That's exactly what is needed, because we know from the beginning that Hungry Children are Easy Prey!

We need a minimum of $500,000 to feed the children in our programs round the year. It means, we need $250,000 for the remaining of 2023. We are exploring all options to fund this need. 


I have nowhere else to go but you when it comes to cover the cost of items that are not covered by grants. I implore you to please help me feed the children and build a safe space for the children on westside. I will be sharing more news about the Issa Jeylani Memorial Recreation Center in a couples of weeks. In the meantime, please donate now and schedule a monthly donation toward the projects of your choice. Don't miss this opportunity of protecting and empowering the most talented children in need. 

In solidarity with Youth & Families,

Zerqa Abid, 

Founder, President & Executive Director, MY Project USA

MY Project USA in the News: 

MY Project USA's Zerqa Abid Asks for More Help from Columbus Leaders After Rash of Recent Shootings Near Eakin Elementary

Thank you to NBC 4 reporter Anna Hoffman for her latest story on the recent shootings near Eakin Elementary School during the last two weeks.

MY Project USA Founder & Executive Director Zerqa Abid was interviewed for Hoffman's report. She spoke about her meeting with one of the victims of one of the shootings, an 11-year-old Hilltop Tigers soccer player. Fortunately, he will recover after being grazed by a bullet.

“That day when I heard that this kid was shot, he was one of our kids. We went to three different hospitals and eventually, I saw him," Abid told NBC 4. "Eventually, I held his hand. I was relieved that he didn’t lose his life."

Abid expressed her desire to see the leaders of the city of Columbus do more to make the Wedgewood area safer for its children. The city recently activated ShotSpotter technology in Wedgewood, but there is plenty more to be done.

“I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining," Abid said. "I’m appreciative, but I am saying that as a mother, as a leader, as a community organizer, as a business owner – I’m telling them this is not enough. We are only touching the tip of the ice. 

"I’m saying if we don’t address it now unfortunately, God forbid, I am looking into a very bloody summer this year, and I’m very worried about it.”

Watch an extended version of her report here (via YouTube).

MY Project USA Receives Grants from Welcome Fund & The City of Columbus

Welcome.US recently awarded a $50,000 Welcome Fund grant to MY Project USA. We were one of 39 dedicated organizations across the United States that received funds that will help in supporting Afghan newcomers as they rebuild their lives in America. 

MY Project USA has many Afghan clients. They take part in workforce development programs, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and get aid in earning their driver's licenses. We have been extremely proud of the progress of our Afghan clients, and thanks in part to this grant, this hard work will continue.

On Tuesday, MY Project USA learned it would also be receiving a grant from the City of Columbus that will go toward our Hilltop Tigers youth soccer program. We are grateful to receive a small part of the funds ($110,000) that the city will distribute to more than 90 community organizations to support summer youth programming.

The Hilltop Tigers have helped numerous children on the west side of Columbus stay on the pitch and off the streets. More than 100 children have won championships, and the program continues to be one MY Project USA is extremely proud of.

As always, we want to thank the Ohio Department of Education and the City of Columbus for their support of the Hilltop Tigers.


Hilltop Tigers Updates: 

Spring Soccer Season Nears Conclusion But Fun Doesn't Stop For Our Hilltop Tigers

Tigers Are a Year-Round Program That Keeps Kids Busy On, Off Pitch

Congratulations to our Under-10 Hilltop Tigers youth soccer team, who recently earned a 4-1 victory, as they near the end of their spring schedule. Their last game of the spring season is coming up, and we're excited to see what the future holds for these Tigers on and off the pitch during the rest of 2023. 

Our U-17 team just completed their spring season with a game on Thursday in Newark. Several MY Project USA staffers were on hand to cheer on the Tigers!

Special thanks goes to our awesome coaches – Mohamed "Speedy" Ahmed, Ali Jeylani (pictured above with the U-10 team) and Abdi "Neymar" Idris. Thank you for all of your hard work all year long with all of our players. You are great role models!


Community Development: 

MY Project USA Staff, Volunteers Pitch In at First Annual Wedgewood Spring Into CommUNITY Event

MY Project USA is Fostering Strong Residents to Create a Resident Council

MY Project USA was proud to help a group of Wedgewood residents put together a "Spring Into CommUNITY Event & Eid Celebration" at Wedgewood Village Apartments on Saturday, May 13. Staffers and volunteers gathered to provide food, entertainment and a fun atmosphere for the dozens of families who gathered at the complex's open field for the party.

The event was originally scheduled for April 22 but had to be rescheduled because of weather. Fortunately, the sunny weather last weekend provided the perfect atmosphere for a great afternoon.


MY Project USA Updates: 

Dozens of Families Sign Up for Our New Family Platinum Card

Parents Also Sign Their Children Up for Our Summer Camps

Limited Spots Still Open for Summer Camps; Card Sign-Ups Continue

Thank you to the MY Project USA staffers and volunteers who helped us sign clients up for our new Family Platinum Card this past weekend. 

Dozens of clients came to the Hilltop Youth Empowerment Center to sign up for the free new card, which offers several benefits for its holder. Benefits include a 20% discount at MY Community Cafe and Global Gifts & Thrift, monthly prize raffles, holiday gifts, a "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.

We also had many parents sign up their children for our MY Summer Expedition series of weekly summer camps. These eight weekly camps will be held from June 5-30 and July 10-Aug. 4. Elementary school students from grades 3-5 and middle school students from grades 6-7 are eligible. 

Space is limited, but there are several spots available. If interested, please reach out to Education Manager Jenna Herron at (614) 407-6701 or via email at educationmanager@myprojectusa.org.

It's not too late to sign up for the Family Platinum Card, too! Clients can sign up in person at the Hilltop Youth Empowerment Center (3275 Sullivant Ave. Columbus, OH 43204).


Youth Development: 

MY Reading Warriors Express Themselves Artistically During Recent Weekly Gathering

Students Create Their Own Art Pieces After Reading 'The Dot'

MY Reading Warriors continues to do wonderful work every week, and recently its group of students showed off their artistic side.

They read "The Dot" together, which encourages students to create art even if they think they are not "good" at it. At the end of the program, the students became little Picassos by showing off their own art pieces. 

MY Reading Warriors is an initiative led by youth for youth, a team of college and high school students who plan weekly programs at Eakin Elementary School to expose youngsters to books, reading, learning and, most importantly, focus on providing an emotionally safe space and mentorship for these students.

MY Reading Warriors serves 10-15 students on a weekly basis. Our team consists of the following people: Safa Mohamed (director), Dahlia Daboul (shift leader), Yassmin Benhaila (program development chair), Zainah Shaheen (volunteer coordinator), Dina Kanaan (secretary), Adam Khalifa (social media chair) and Nadine Abdel Rahman (library coordinator). We are so very proud of all of their hard work.


MY Community Cafe: 

'What's for Dinner?' Order from MY Community Cafe!

We're open and ready to make the question of "What's for dinner?" an easy one tonight. Order online now!

Order. Donate. Feed a Future!

📍 Address: 3275 Sullivant Ave. Columbus, OH 43204 (Hilltop Youth Empowerment Center)
⏰️ Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m.


Global Gifts & Thrift: 

Check Out the Unique Items You Can Find During Your Next Trip to Global Gifts & Thrift

Don't Miss Out on These Items – Once They're Gone, They're Gone!

You never know what you might find at Global Gifts & Thrift. Recently we've had Air Jordan 5 Retro sneakers (size 12.5), a Casio piano, a unique wooden decorative gift box and more highlighted on our new Facebook page. Make sure you're following to see the best items on our shelves!

📍 Address: 4730 Cemetery Rd. (Next to the Hilliard BMV)
⏰️ Hours: Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.


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 (NEW) – 7413 Maxtown Rd. Westerville, OH 43082
  • Omar Ibn El-Khattab Masjid (NEW) – 580 Riverview Dr. Columbus, OH 43202
  • The Destiny Center (NEW) – 1561 Old Leonard Ave. Columbus, OH 43219
  • Bethel International United Methodist Church (NEW) – 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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