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In this newsletter: 

  1. Zerqa Abid to Continue Serving MY Project USA During Congressional Campaign

  2. MY Project USA Raises Awareness of Human Trafficking During ISNA Convention

  3. Hilltop Tigers Return to Pitch for Fall Soccer Season

  4. MY Leaders Take Flight Thanks to Youth Aviators Program

  5. Fun in the Sun: MY Project USA Chosen as Hilltop Charity for Annual Softball Game

  6. Nearly 500 Families Served Last Week by MY Family Pantry Tean of Staff & Volunteers

  7. Looking for a Healthy Meal? Head to MY Community Cafe!

  8. Head to Global Gifts & Thrift for a Unique & Fun Shopping Experience!

  9. New Location, Same Great Event – Banquet Set for Ohio Union

  10. Register for Our Family Platinum Card Today!

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

  12. Helpline: Rent & Utilities Support Information for Clients

  13. MY Deah's Warehouse Donation Bins Locations


Message from Executive Director:

I Will Continue Serving the Organization While Running for Election in Ohio's 15th Congressional District

Thank You for Your Presence & Support Over the Years!


You might have heard by now that I am running for election in Ohio 15th Congressional district. After serving this community for 16 years as a small business owner, non-profit leader and advocate for youth and families, I have decided to take it to the next level. The general election for this congressional seat is next November but the campaign has already started, and I want you to know that this organization is still my priority – and it is in safe hands. 

Currently, I am giving four days of week to the organization and three days to the campaign. I started my succession planning last year and have trained my admin team to take care of several task in various departments. Our core admin team consists of 10 staff and two board members, including myself. MY Project USA's board members are also involved in various initiatives. We have more than 50 staff at this point, and our revenue for this year is already at $2.5 million. Alhamdulillah (all praise is due to God only).  

After careful consideration and discussion with the board, I have promoted Sami Omerzai, our Director of Community Development, to the position of Assistant Executive Director. Sami has a very well-rounded 20 years of experience in community development, fiscal management of multi-million-dollar grants and human resource management. We are confident that with the help of our administrative team, he will be able to take care of various projects and tasks in my absence as needed. 

Along with Sami, Dr. Sharon Watkins, our Senior Education Consultant, will continue training and supervising all youth program managers. She will also be working closely with Sami and Director of Administration and board member Uzair Qidwai to streamline general administrative policies and procedures as we continue to grow.      

Last Sunday, approximately 25 team members attended the organization’s annual Strategic Planning Meeting at the Hilltop Youth Empowerment Center. It was heartwarming for me to see their passion and commitment to our youth and families as they worked together to finalize our one-year and five-year goals for the organization and their own departments.

As you know MY Project USA has never been a job for me. I don't take a salary for this work. It is my calling. It's the mission of my life to protect and empower our children and families and uplift our underserved communities. It's my sadaqa jariyah (continued charity) on behalf of my parents, mentors and elders who invested in me when I was growing up in Pakistan. I hope to present this to God on the Day of Judgement as a project from all of us hoping for His mercy and forgiveness on that day.

Thank you for being part of this caravan. Thank you for your presence, your donations and your trust. I could never do this without you. Please keep me and MY Project USA in your prayers. 

In solidarity with youth & families, 

Zerqa Abid, 
Founder & Executive Director 
MY Project USA


ISNA Convention:

MY Project USA Raises Awareness of Human Trafficking During 60th Annual ISNA Convention

Team Members Share Info with Thousands at Convention in Chicago Area

MY Project USA team members were proud to participate in the 60th Annual Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Convention, which was held over Labor Day weekend in the Chicago area.

This was our return to the convention after the pandemic. As in previous years, the convention presented a great opportunity for MY Project USA to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking and how it affects the Muslim community. MY Project USA Founder & Executive Director Zerqa Abid created the Muslims Against Human Trafficking initiative several years ago to attempt to raise awareness and empower Muslim American parents against human trafficking. During the convention, our team members reached out to thousands of attendees from across the United States about this topic.

There were many conversations about replicating the MY Project USA model of protecting and empowering youth and parents in other communities. We’re excited to see what the future holds! Stay tuned for future updates in coming weeks and months.

Abid was joined by Director of Community Development Sami Omerzai, Director of Community Outreach Taqdeerullah Aziz, Director of Administration Uzair Qidwai and Food Market Director/Board Secretary Ramy El-Assal at the convention, which was held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill.

The historic picture above is of current board members Abid, Qidwai & El-Assal with our inaugural Board member Taha Ghayur and legendary leader Ahmed Murad from Sound Vision. 

According to ISNA, approximately 20,000 attendees were at the convention. MY Project USA had a booth at the convention, where team members informed attendees about the organization and our mission.

Thank you to ISNA for the opportunity to participate in their convention, and we look forward to seeing everyone next year.


Hilltop Tigers:

Hilltop Tigers Return to Pitch for Fall Soccer Season

Youth Soccer Program Closes Pipeline to Gangs, Drugs

The fall youth soccer season is underway, and the Hilltop Tigers have been busy on the pitch with games across central Ohio. Click the button below to take a look at pictures from practices, games and more during recent weeks, courtesy of MY Project USA team member Abdi Bakari.

This has been an exciting time for the Tigers, who have added 20 new players in recent weeks from the Hilltop area. There are more games scheduled in coming days and weeks for our various age groups.

MY Project USA is proud of all of our Hilltop Tigers for their work on and off the pitch. As always, we’d like to thank the hard-working young men who coach our young people – Ali Jeylani, Mohamed Ahmed, Abdi Idris, Bashir Ahmed, Abdullahi Jeylani, Abdullahi Daud, Sharmarke Abdi & Mukumbira Mukumbira. They are wonderful role models for our Tigers, and we thank each and every one of them for their passion for working with our young people.

We are always proud to say that the Hilltop Tigers are more than just a youth soccer program. It is a well-established outlet for youth people that helps keep them off the streets and curbs the pipeline to gangs and drugs. The program also stresses education, putting its members on a better path academically.

Thank you to the Ohio Department of Education, the City of Columbus and the Columbus Youth Foundation for their support of our Hilltop Tigers Soccer Club.


MY Leaders:

MY Leaders Take Flight Thanks to Youth Aviators Program

New Americans Get Rare Exposure to Aviation

This summer was a special one for four of the members of the MY Leaders program, thanks to the generosity of the United Way of Central Ohio and the Capital City Youth Aviators program.

These two organizations sponsored these young people, each of them new Americans from Afghanistan, and allowed them to take flight.

In early June, these young men attended a Summer Airport Fun Day at Bolton Field, where participants learned more about the program. Later that month, they attended a Group Ground Session, where they learned from Federal Aviation Association-licensed flight instructors, reviewed an education workbook and scheduled a future one-hour flight.

Finally, each student lifted off for a special introductory flight with a Capital City Aviation (CCA) instructor at The Ohio State University Airport.

We are thankful to the UWCO and CCA for accepting our young people into the program. The budget per student was around $300 per person, so the value of the program was a combined $1,200 for our four young people.

The MY Leaders program, the brainchild of MY Project USA Founder & Executive Director Zerqa Abid, provides opportunities like this for underserved young people. It would have been very difficult for our young people to participate in programs like this on their own, and MY Project USA is proud to be able to expose them to potential professions that they might not otherwise have access to.

If you or your organization are interested in becoming a sponsor of our youth for the CCYA program, please reach out to us at youthdirector@MYProjectUSA.org.  You can also learn more by visiting the Central Ohio Professional Education Council website at copeceducation.org.

Thank you to the City of Columbus, Ohio Department of Education, ADAMH Board of Franklin County and the Women's Fund of Central Ohio for their support of the MY Leaders program.


Charity Softball:

Fun in the Sun: MY Project USA Chosen as Hilltop Charity for Annual Softball Game

Organization to Receive 25% of Donations from Event

Thank you to the Greater Hilltop Area Commission inviting MY Project USA to be the designated charity that received a generous donation as part of the annual Hilltop vs. Franklinton charity softball game. 

The game was held on Saturday at the St. Mary Magdalene School fields, with Franklinton taking home the trophy this year. MY Project USA was represented on the Hilltop team by team members JD Groves, Melissa Green, Sharmarke Abdi and Mukumbira Mukumbira. It was a great day for softball, and everyone involved had a wonderful time.

Congratulations to the Franklinton team and to Franklinton Cycle Works as the chosen charity that also received a portion of the donations.


MY Family Pantry:

Nearly 500 Families Served Last Week by MY Family Pantry Team of Staff & Volunteers

Thank you to all of our wonderful team members and volunteers who helped serve 489 families and 1,879 individuals at the Mid-Ohio Market at MY Project USA powered by MY Family Pantry from Tuesday, Sept. 5-Saturday, Sept. 9. We saw 86 new families and were able to serve healthy and nutritious food and offer household necessities.

The pantry menu this week included strawberries, carrots, cucumbers, split peas, lentils, potatoes, cereal, peanut butter and much more.

We thank MY Family Pantry Director Ramy El-Assal and his entire team from Ohio State (Michael Abou-Elias, Rahaf Shalash, Noora Rajjoub, Elsa Wani, Stella Aboshahba, Nawal Abdinur and Chai Annamreddi) and other volunteers for helping on Saturdays. We also want to give a big shout-out to MY Project USA team members Ezatullah Momand and Jajuan Parker, who make the pantry a success each and every week.

Thanks to their efforts, we distribute fresh produce and groceries to hundreds of individuals in our community weekly.


MY Community Cafe:

Looking for a Healthy Meal? Head to MY Community Cafe!

Order Online at MYCommunity.Cafe Today!

We are exceptionally proud of the variety of dishes you can find at MY Community Cafe. We offer plenty of delicious – and healthy – options! Try a Greek salad the next time you order. A wonderful meal for just $7.99 that goes to help fund MY Project USA's programs that aid young people on the west side of Columbus.

Order. Donate. Feed a Future!

📍Address: 3275 Sullivant Ave. Columbus, OH 43204 (at the Hilltop Youth Empowerment Center)


Global Gifts & Thrift:

Head to Global Gifts & Thrift for a Unique & Fun Shopping Experience!

Don't Forget – All Proceeds from the Store Help Fund MY Project USA

We proudly offer an international, multicultural collection of gifts, artifacts, decorative items, clothing, shoes, household items and more. All proceeds from the store help finance MY Project USA's programs on the west side of Columbus. Visit Global Gifts & Thrift in Hilliard today!

Shop. Donate. Build a Life!

📍Address: 4730 Cemetery Rd. Hilliard, OH 43026 (next to the BMV)


Annual Banquet:

New Location, Same Great Event – Banquet Set for Ohio Union 

Save the Date for Saturday, Nov. 4 for Our Ninth Annual Banquet

Join the MY Project USA team on Saturday, Nov. 4 for our ninth annual banquet. It will be held at the Ohio Union (1739 N. High St. Columbus, OH 43210) on the campus of The Ohio State University.

This fundraising event will go toward supporting MY Project USA’s programs that protect and empower youth and families on the westside of Columbus. We will be joined by several elected officials, interfaith and community leaders and – of course – our young people. MY Project USA will also hand out its annual MY Deah’s & Chrys Gee Awards.

More details to come in the coming weeks!

MY Project USA is proud to have become the largest Muslim-led social service organization in Ohio. We continue to have great pride in our partnerships with interfaith and social justice partners. At the banquet, we will celebrate our accomplishments and highlight our hard work in serving the under-served communities in Columbus.

Please join us for this inspiring event. Tell your family and friends!

The proceeds of this dinner:

  • Will be used to protect and empower Columbus needy and underserved families.
  • Will be used to help new refugees with English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, driving classes and other job training and employment services.
  • Will help launch and grow initiatives to address hunger, poverty, family violence, drugs, gangs, human trafficking and many other issues that need our urgent attention.
  • Will help train mentors and advocates to work with Columbus youth and families one on one basis.
  • Will help initiate and aid more Muslim social services in the partnership with the city of Columbus, local organizations and other agencies in Columbus.

Book your seats now! Registration information to come.


Family Platinum Card:

Register for Our Family Platinum Card Today!

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.


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