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In this newsletter: 

  1. Issa's Peace Patio to Have Its Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Tomorrow

  2. Join Our Youth Leaders for the Columbus Youth United Summit

  3. Congrats to Our First Family Platinum Card Monthly Prize Drawing Winner!

  4. MY Project USA Staffers Hand Out Free Meals to Wedgewood Children Every Weekday

  5. Staff Members Represent MY Project USA at Cap City Festival

  6. Nearly 2,000 Clients Receive Healthy & Nutritious Food at MY Family Pantry Last Week

  7. Great Deals on Men's & Women's Apparel At Global Gifts & Thrift

  8. Ordering From MY Community Cafe Helps Protect Children in Columbus

  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


Youth Development:

Issa Jeylani Cut the Ribbon at the Hilltop Youth Center in 2021

His Mom & Family Will Cut the Ribbon at Issa's Peace Patio Tomorrow

MY Leaders Organize Columbus Youth to Advocate Against Gun Violence Next Week

Dear family, 

Although I planned to have all Hilltop Tigers soccer players in attendance to help cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony of the Hilltop Youth Empowerment Center back in September of 2021, Issa Jeylani was the only kid who made it. Instead of waiting for soccer coaches to give him a ride, he managed to come from his school to the center right on time by himself to help me in the final set-up and to cut the ribbon. At that time, I thought it was our transportation plan that failed in the high traffic hours and was upset about the fact that the other children were late.

Today, I know it was meant to be like that. 

Issa was the only Hilltop Tiger to cut the ribbon that day because the center was not only his home, his safe haven, but it was also the building that would carry his image and would continue his legacy for the coming years and decades, God willing. That day, I held his hands as he cut the ribbon of all future initiatives and openings at the building including his own: Issa's Peace Patio.

Today, we dearly miss him. We hide and wipe our tears a few times a day, and we smile big and bright for each other. It's hard, but we continue to turn our pain into purpose for the sake of thousands of children like him at risk of drugs, guns and gang violence in the Hilltop.  

Tomorrow, all of us, including his parents, siblings, family members, loved ones, friends, neighbors, community members and elected officials will gather at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Issa's Peace Patio.

His mom will cut the ribbon, and we will plant an apple tree in the front lawn of the building where he stood two years ago to cut the ribbon. We will offer prayers for him. May our Issa always rest in peace. May God grant him with biggest mansion with the largest patio in the highest heavens. May God continue showering His blessings and heal his parents, family and loved ones. Ameen.

The process of building this patio has healed so many of us, including his family. Our youth are united against violence. They are ready to spread peace. They are ready to lead their community with compassion. They are ready to be the ambassadors of peace within their communities. As they helped paint the fence and mural of Issa's Peace Patio, they are looking forward to using this space and others to spread the message of peace in the city of Columbus and beyond.

Next week, Issa's friends and other leaders (about 35 of them) are calling a summit to organize Columbus youth against gun/gang violence and for climate justice. These are two issues that are a matter of life and death for their generation. I ask you to join hands with them.

As I write these lines my eyes and my heart are full. My joy of seeing these youth, especially his family, coming out of their grief and joining the movement has overcome my grief of losing my Issa, who called me "Mama Zerqa." I miss that kid and will always miss him. I have committed my time and resources to build the Issa Jeylani Memorial Recreation Center on Sullivant Avenue by next year. My board, staff and entire team at MY Project USA is fully focused to achieve this goal and with your financial support, we can totally do that. 

I ask you to donate in Issa's memory. Join me in building a legacy of peace and love that will overcome the hate and violence from our neighborhoods, inshaAllah. 

Long Live Issa in our community!

In solidarity with youth and families, 
Zerqa Abid
Founder & Executive Director
MY Project USA


Youth Leadership:

Join Our Youth Leaders for the Columbus Youth United Summit

This FREE Event will be Held on Saturday, July 29 at West High School

Madina, Irshad and Jalat invite you to join our youth leaders for the Columbus Youth United Summit. This free event will be held on Saturday, July 29 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at West High School (179 S. Powell Ave. Columbus, OH 43204).

  • All ages welcome to attend this youth-led event.
  • Youth will address climate justice & gun/gang violence – a pair of life or death issues.
  • Youth will advocate in front of local lawmakers & advance solutions to these major issues.
  • Lunch to be provided

This event is FREE, but registration is required. Please register by Thursday, July 27.

Thank you to the Ohio Climate Justice Fund, ADAMH Board of Franklin County and the City of Columbus for their support


Family Platinum Card:

Congrats to Our First Family Platinum Card Monthly Prize Drawing Winner! She Won a Free 32" Philips HD LCD TV

Register for Your Card for Your Chance to Win Next Month's Prize!

MY Project USA would like to congratulate Fadumo Ismail, whose name was drawn as the winner of our first monthly Family Platinum Card prize drawing!

Fadumo won a 32” Philips HD LCD television set. Her name was selected during a Facebook Live hosted by MY Project USA Communications Specialist Matthew Hager on Friday, July 7. All Fadumo had to do in order to be entered into the prize drawing was to sign up for our Family Platinum Card. Each month, we will select an adult cardholder who will win a great prize.

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


Community Development:

In the Midst of Violence, MY Project USA Team Hands Out Free Meals to Wedgewood Children Every Weekday This Summer

Organization Partners with Columbus Rec & Parks Dept. on USDA Summer Food Program

MY Project USA believes that battling food insecurity is crucial to our mission to protect and empower youth and families. That’s why we partnered with the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department’s Summer Food Program to distribute free meals to children in Wedgewood this summer. 

While we are grateful for this opportunity, we are also concerned about some restrictions that do not allow us to pass the food to children at home. As Wedgewood has been seeing more gun violence, many parents do not bring their children out of their apartments. We recognize their safety concerns and would like to support them in receiving the meals at their homes. Our Founder & Executive Director Zerqa Abid has raised these concerns to the highest levels and has been working to change these policies at the federal and state levels to make sure that all children safely receive meals. 

Thank you to MY Project USA Social Worker Nacima Aden, Outreach Director Taqdeerullah Aziz and Outreach Coordinators Melissa Coleman, Isha Hussein and Shirell Shaw. We also appreciate the efforts of volunteers Asli Mohammed, Layla Sylvester and James Coleman. Each of these hard-working women and men has been distributing these meals on weekdays at the Wedgewood Village Apartments since early June.

Meals are served during breakfast and lunch hours.


Youth Development:

MY Project USA Team Rocked at Cap City Festival

Successful Festival Was One of Several Put Together Across Columbus by the Recreation & Parks Department

MY Project USA staffers and volunteers were proud to attend the latest Cap City Experiences festival, a series of events put together by the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. 

The latest festival was held Saturday, July 15 at Eakin Elementary. There were food trucks, music and entertainment. MY Project USA was on hand to provide information about our organization and our initiatives to Wedgewood residents. Thank you to MY Project USA Director of Community Development Sami Omerzai, Youth Program Director Katana Mullen and Wedgewood Outreach Coordinators Melissa Coleman, Isha Hussein and Shirell Shaw for their efforts manning our table!


MY Family Pantry:

Nearly 2,000 Clients Receive Healthy & Nutritious Food at MY Family Pantry Last Week

The Mid-Ohio Market at MY Project USA powered by MY Family Pantry served nearly 2,000 clients this past week, from Tuesday, July 11-Saturday, July 15. A humongous thank you goes to our great staff and awesome volunteers.

All of our clients received healthy and nutritious food, as well as household necessities. On the menu this week were items including apples, grapes, tomatoes, salad kits, garbanzo beans, Malt-O-Meal cereals and much more.

A total of 538 families and 1,980 individuals visited the pantry. That includes 96 new families who visited us at the Hilltop Youth Empowerment Center for the first time last week.

As always, thank you to our partners at the Mid-Ohio Food Collective, who collaborate with MY Project USA for our pantry work.

Powered by MY Family Pantry volunteers and staff, we distribute fresh produce and groceries to hundreds of individuals in our community weekly. We want to thank everyone who came out to serve the community and also our wonderful donors who make our many initiatives possible.


Global Gifts & Thrift:

Great Deals on Men's & Women's Apparel At Global Gifts & Thrift

Have you visited Global Gifts & Thrift, our one-of-a-kind retail venture in Hilliard? Global Gifts & Thrift proudly offers an international, multicultural collection of gifts, artifacts, decorative items, clothing, shoes, household items and more!

Visit us today and see all of the great clothing we have in stock! Shop. Donate. Build a Life.

📍 4730 Cemetery Rd. (Next to the Hilliard BMV)


MY Community Cafe:

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

Hungry Children Are Easy Prey – Feeding a Child Helps

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!

Now that the summer is here, 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!


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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