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In this newsletter: 

  1. Youth Leaders Represent MY Project USA By Advocating at City Hall & Statehouse

  2. Got Plans for Friday? Now You Do! Join MY Project USA at Noor

  3. Introducing Our New MY Project USA Family Platinum Card – Sign-Ups Start Friday!

  4. Mother's Day is Sunday: Make Sure to Visit Global Gifts & Thrift

  5. Delicious Food For a Good Cause! What Could Be Better?

  6. MY Project USA's Zerqa Abid Interviewed About Rash of Wedgewood Shootings

  7. Now Hiring! MY Project USA Seeks a Trauma Recovery Social Worker

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

  9. Helpline: Rent & Utilities Support Information for Clients

  10. MY Deah's Warehouse Donation Bins Locations

Youth Advocacy: 

'(The Hilltop Tigers) Saved My Life,' Says Sharmarke Abdi

Youth Leaders Represent MY Project USA By Advocating at City Hall & Statehouse

Board Member Uzair Qidwai Also Testified at Statehouse on Wednesday 

We are very proud of Sharmarke Abdi and Mukumbira Mukumbira for representing MY Project USA at a pair of hearings at Columbus City Hall and the Ohio Statehouse this week. These two young men are doing a wonderful job of advocating for their peers.

On Tuesday, Sharmarke and MY Project USA Founder & Executive Director Zerqa Abid spoke at Columbus City Hall, telling council members about MY Project USA and the Hilltop Tigers youth soccer program. Mukumbira was unable to testify because of time restraints at the meeting, but he was there to support Sharmarke and Zerqa. 

Both Sharmarke and Mukumbira are members of the Hilltop Tigers, and Sharmarke testified about how the program has helped them.

"It's saved my life," Sharmarke said.

The Hilltop Tigers help keep children on the pitch and off the streets, a program that MY Project USA is extremely proud of.

"Where I come from there is a lot of gun violence, and it's easy to get caught up doing the wrong thing," Sharmarke told council members. "I want to live to see another day, and my chances of that are a lot greater because of the support of MY Project USA and all it offers."

Sharmarke also told the council members about Issa Jeylani and how MY Project USA is working hard to build an indoor recreation center in Issa's memory. Sharmarke and Issa were close friends, and it was an emotional scene when Sharmarke spoke about Issa's passing.

"Sadly, Issa Jeylani is no longer with us today," an emotional Sharmarke told the council members. "On July 22, 2022, I lost my best friend. ... He was a good kid with a bright future."

The Tuesday hearing featured nearly 20 speakers who advocated for a piece of the city's remaining $150 million in COVID emergency relief funds. MY Project USA is hoping to receive funds that will help in the creation of the Issa Jeylani Memorial Recreation Center on Sullivant Avenue.

Read more on the City Hall hearing in this story by Bill Bush of the Columbus Dispatch. Decisions on the funds are now in the hands of City Council and Mayor Andrew Ginther.

On Wednesday morning, Sharmarke was joined by MY Project USA Board member Uzair Qidwai at the statehouse. Both testified before the Ohio Senate Health Committee. They were there because the state government is currently working on their annual State Operating Budget. 

We thank Sharmarke, Mukumbira & Uzair for their advocacy this week!

MY Project USA at NICC:

Got Plans for Friday? Now You Do! Join MY Project USA at Noor

Join us at the Noor Islamic Cultural Center for an informative evening on Friday, May 12! 

MY Project USA will be selling delicious food from our latest venture, MY Community Cafe – a pay-forward cafe with all proceeds going to help MY Project USA feed all children, elderly, homeless and other clients on the west side of Columbus – starting at 5 p.m. 

Founder & Executive Director Zerqa Abid will also be giving a presentation on MY Project USA at 9 p.m. Please join us!

Family Platinum Card: 

Introducing Our New MY Project USA Family Platinum Card

Eligible Families Receive Discounts, Holiday Gifts, 'Fast Pass' & More!

Help Us Spread the Word – Sign-Ups Start This Weekend

MY Project USA is very proud to introduce our new Family Platinum Card. This is a brand-new initiative, and we invite all of our clients to register. Best part? It’s FREE!

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) this weekend to sign up:
• Friday, May 12 (4-7 p.m.)
• Saturday, May 13 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.)

Global Gifts & Thrift: 

Mother's Day is Sunday: Make Sure to Visit Global Gifts & Thrift

We know you love your mother. You also love to support a good cause!

You can combine both of these with a trip to Global Gift & Thrift in Hilliard, where you can find some unique and perfect gifts for Mother's Day. If you have not been to Global Gifts & Thrift yet, now is the perfect time!

We proudly offer an international, multicultural collection of gifts, artifacts, decorative items, clothing, shoes, household items and more. We've got a great selection of shoes and bags, and what mother does not love that?!

Each dollar spent at Global Gifts & Thrift helps MY Project USA feed, clothe, employ and empower underprivileged youth and their families, refugees, unemployed and homeless people. It helps us address gang/gun violence and human trafficking. It helps us foster strong girls and women leaders.


📍 Address: 4730 Cemetery Rd. Hilliard, OH 43026 (next to the BMV)
🕒 Hours:Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

MY Community Cafe: 

Delicious Food For a Good Cause! What Could Be Better?

Hungry, but don't feel like cooking? Let MY Community Cafe help! Try a delicious kabab meal today. Order online at MYCommunity.Cafe 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.

MY Project USA in the News:

'There Is Definitely a Rise in Gun Violence, and Children Are Having Guns' – MY Project USA's Zerqa Abid Interviewed About Rash of Shootings

Thank you to Ashley Bornancin for her report on 10TV (WBNS) about the need for help in the Wedgewood community after two shootings near Eakin Elementary last week – including one that sent an 11-year-old member of the Hilltop Tigers youth soccer program to a hospital.

MY Project USA Founder & Executive Director Zerqa Abid was interviewed for the report, providing an update on the young man who was grazed by a bullet while standing at a Hilltop playground near Eakin.

"It was traumatizing to hear the news,” Abid told 10TV. “The good part is that nothing bad happened other than he got a wound.”

The shooting came less than a year after we lost then 15-year-old Issa Jeylani, another Hilltop Tigers soccer player who was killed while playing soccer in his neighborhood. 

"Issa's tragedy happened in July of last year, and that was the most traumatizing experience for many of (these kids),” Abid said. “We are seeing that there is definitely a rise in gun violence and children are having guns.”

Wedgewood now has ShotSpotter technology, which aims to inform first responders faster when gunshots are detected. However, Abid said she wants to see more funding go toward fixing the core issues facing children in the Hilltop.

“The major issue in the Hilltop area is that we do not have indoor recreation spaces and also, we do not have enough funding to take care of all children in the program,” Abid said.

That is why MY Project USA is working diligently to raise funds for the Issa Jeylani Memorial Recreation Center. Fortunately, we have a 2.1-acre piece of land on Sullivant Avenue that we plan to use to build a recreation center. It will have two full-size indoor soccer fields, a basketball court, offices, a cafeteria and classrooms.

But we do need help from the community and people like you! All MY Project USA Board members are working countless hours to raise money for this project. Please consider helping us reach our goal and make the future a little safer for the children of the Hilltop.


MY Project USA is currently searching for a Trauma Recovery Social Worker. This position will be a vital asset to our community. Please visit the LinkedIn link below to see more information.


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:

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, 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)

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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