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In this newsletter: 

  1. Katana Mullen  Finds Home At MY Project USA
  2. MY Community Cafe - Grand Opening March 10th
  3. MY Leaders Class of 2023 
  4. Shop. Donate. Build a Life at Global Gifts & Thrift 
  5. ABC 6/FOX 28 news reports on Grand Opening
  6. MY Family Pantry Passes 35,000 Meals, Snacks & Other Supplies Last Week 
  7. Dental Care Drive Underway in Honor of Deah Barakat
  8. Issa Jeylani Memorial Recreation Center Fundraiser
  9. Helpline: Rent & Utilities Support Information for Clients
  10. MY Deah's Warehouse Donation Bins Locations
Youth Development: Message from Katana Mullen, Youth Program Director

When I found MY Project USA, I found a home. I found a family. I found hope.

It is our mission to instill a love of learning in our youth. We create spaces of hope for our students to flourish in. 

Hi everyone.

My name is Katana Mullen, and I am so excited to be the new Youth Program Director for MY Project USA! 

I wanted to take a moment to tell you a little bit about myself. I am originally from Hinton, W.Va., a small town in the southern part of the state. I attended Bluefield University in Virginia and received my Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Sports Science. Shortly after graduation, I decided to pursue an entirely different route. Ten-plus years, later my heart has been dedicated to empowering youth in many capacities, including in the non-profit sector, local government, KinderCare Education and working with inner city youth at Ohio State’s LiFE Sports program (Learning in Fitness and Education). 

When I found MY Project USA, I found a home. I found a family. I found hope. I wanted to be a part of MY Project USA because of its excellence in leading as a catalyst for protecting and empowering youth and uplifting families in this community and beyond. In overseeing our youth programs, I have witnessed these very things take place.

In this lifetime, we pray to continue to ignite hope and light in those with whom we cross paths. It is our mission to instill a love of learning in our youth. Our after-school programs are enriching, fun and supportive of our students' needs. We want our students to excel in all things in this life, so we make education a priority. We create spaces of hope for our students to flourish in. 

Our soccer team, the Hilltop Tigers, continues saving and reaching so many children in this community we serve. Watching them play and practice with compassion and the biggest smiles brings so much joy. Our evening programming allows students to come and have a safe space to enjoy recreation, educational learning, movies and positive peer engagement.

The MY Leaders program has launched, and we are hopeful to train and mentor a group of young people to lead the way to a brighter future. A future that speaks to climate change and combats gun violence, gangs, poverty and the injustices of this world. 

We hear it all the time: “It takes a village.” Yes, it absolutely does. This wouldn’t work without our dedicated workers, partners and volunteers. This wouldn’t work without our donors and supporters who believe in our mission. Every child deserves someone who will keep fighting the good fight with them – someone who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best they can possibly be. 

Our youth is our future, and we have a great responsibility to train, nurture and lead them into their path of greatness, whatever that looks like for each of them. This is my hope, and there is no doubt in my mind that I am called to this mission. 

In service to youth & families, 
Katana Mullen
Youth Program Director, MY Project USA

Social Enterprise & Food Insecurity: 

Get Ready to Enjoy Kabobs & Gyro at Our Youth Center While Supporting Our Youth & Families!

Grand Opening of MY Community Cafe Is March 10 at 3 p.m.

We Will Cater for Your Iftar & Other Parties

On behalf of the Board of MY Project USA, Founder & Executive Director Zerqa Abid is proud to announce that the grand opening of our next venture, MY Community Cafe, is scheduled for Friday, March 10.

The cafe is located inside the Hilltop Youth Empowerment Center. It is a pay forward cafe. All proceeds of this cafe will help us feed all children, elderly, homeless and other clients on the west side of Columbus. We are ready to serve amazing Middle Eastern and Pakistani sandwiches, wraps, platters and more this Ramadan and beyond. We have a dine-in place for families to eat here. We are also prepared to cater for your parties. Stay tuned for more news on the cafe. Watch our video announcement now.

Youth Leadership Development: 

"I want to make a change in my community," Says a West High School Student

MY Leaders Class of 2023 Includes Diverse Group of Youth from Central Ohio. Application Closes on Saturday, Feb. 25

The Youth Leaders Will Focus on Drugs, Gun Violence & Climate Justice This Year

MY Project USA Founder & Executive Director Zerqa Abid was looking for the next generation of community leaders when she visited West High School on Friday, Feb. 10, recruiting for the 2023 class of MY Leaders program. 

Several young people were moved by Abid's speech and signed up to join the program. When asked why do you want to apply to this program, one said, "I want to make change in my community." Others also have similar answers.

Abid created the new initiative with the goal of creating a youth-led organization of boys and girls ages 14-18 who want to make a positive impact on their community. MY Project USA will help train those in the program on how to organize their peers; advocate for themselves and others; work with city, state and community leaders; and how to engage with media. 

This year, there will be two groups created, one focusing on gun violence and another on climate justice. MY Leaders members will meet on Saturdays at the Hilltop Youth Empowerment Center (3275 Sullivant Ave.) and on weekdays at their respective schools. Interested youth can apply here. For more info please contact YouthDirector@MYPrjectUSA.org

The program is slated to begin in March. Special thanks goes to the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio and the Youth 2 Youth International for generously sponsoring this project!

Global Gifts & Thrift Updates: 

Ohio State Senator Stephanie Kunze, Ohio State Representatives and Hilliard City Councilmembers Attend Grand Opening of Global Gifts & Thrift Store

“On behalf of myself and the senate president and the state senate, we wanted to thank you and congratulate you,” Kunze said.

It was a special day in Hilliard on Friday, Feb. 17, when MY Project USA officially hosted the grand opening of Global Gifts & Thrift at 4730 Cemetery Rd. in the Hilliard Square Shopping Center.

Several elected officials and dignitaries were on hand to help MY Project USA Founder & Executive Director Zerqa Abid cut the ceremonial ribbon and open the new venture. We were honored to have Ohio State Senator Stephanie Kunze; Ohio State Reps. Dr. Anita Somani and Ismail Mohamed; Tina Cottone, Peggy Hale, Andy Teater and Cynthia Vermillion from the Hilliard City Council; and David Rierson of the United Way of Central Ohio among those in attendance. Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano could not attend the grand opening but sent a letter of recognition.

At Global Gifts & Thrift, we proudly offer an international, multicultural collection of gifts, artifacts, decorative items, clothing, shoes, household items and more. 

Each dollar spent here helps us feed, clothe, employ and empower under-privileged 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.

This is a Movement! Join Us Now! Shop. Donate. Build a Life

MY Project USA in the News: 

ABC 6/FOX 28 news report: “MY Project USA figured out a way to bring money into parts of the central Ohio community, in a way that is not bound by the limitations of a grant” 

Thank you to reporter Stephanie Duprey and ABC 6/FOX 28 for their report on the opening of Global Gifts & Thrift.

We hope to use Global Gifts & Thrift to help our mission to protect and empower underserved communities.

“This is a place where we are hoping to uplift the entire refugee and immigrant community as well as being able to address gun violence and gang violence,” Zerqa Abid, Founder & Executive Director of MY Project USA founder told ABC 6/FOX 28.

Abid & MY Project USA Community Development Director Sami Omerzai were interviewed for the story. The store is open from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Tuesday thru Saturday. It's closed on Sunday and Monday.

MY Family Pantry Updates: 

About 35,000 Meals, Snacks & Other Supplies Distributed to About 2,000 Clients Last Week at Mid-Ohio Collective Market at MY Project USA

MY Family Pantry Team Continues to Inspire More Youth Volunteers Every Week

For the week of Feb. 18, MY Family Pantry provided much-needed food and household necessities to a total of 544 families and 1,915 individuals.

Special thanks goes out to all of our volunteers, including MY Family Pantry Director Ramy El-Assal, Mid-Ohio Market at MY Project USA manager Nasir Khan Shinwari and all of our Pantry Executive Team members. Delicious fruits, vegetables, meats, snacks and pastries were distributed to those in need. Household necessities, including wipes and feminine products, were able distributed.

Thank you to all who make the pantry experience fast and smooth.

Mid-Ohio Market at MY Project USA is a collaborative initiative of MY Project USA and Mid-Ohio Food Collective powered by MY Family Pantry volunteers and staff. We distribute fresh produce and groceries to hundreds of individuals in our community every week.


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.  During Business Hours Only
  • Global Gifts & Thrift (NEW) - 4730 Cemetery Rd. Hilliard, OH 43206.  During 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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