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In this newsletter: 

  1. Remembering JJ Shalid

  2. Special 'Early Bird' Prices Available for Just a Few More Days!

  3. Nominations Wanted for Annual Deah Barakat & Chrys Gee Awards

  4. Program at Eakin Elementary Kicks Off, Gets Visit from MY Reading Warriors Instructors

  5. More Than 500 Families Served Last Week at MY Family Pantry

  6. Grab a Delicious, Healthy Meal & Help Feed Children in Columbus

  7. Get That Fall Feeling with Unique Trinkets from Global Gift & Thrift

  8. Register for Our Family Platinum Card Today!

  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


As the MY Project USA team continues to mourn the loss of 15-year-old JJ Shalid, who was the victim of gun violence on Thursday, Sept. 28, Hilltop Tigers coach Bashir Ahmed put his thoughts into words. We thank Bashir for his beautiful tribute below. 

Dear JJ,

We love you. You were special, with a one-of-a-kind smile and a soul yearning for understanding. You are a part of us and from the moment you stepped foot on a soccer field as a member of the Hilltop Tigers you found love. You found a home to embrace you and a family to shelter your pain. You found people who you saw yourself in and that made you realize that this is a place you could call home.

You were, however, more than just a member of our team. You were somebody’s son and someone’s brother. This agonizing new reality hasn’t settled in. We mourn for you and our hearts are shattered, not only for everyone here at MY Project USA but more so for your family. No one deserves to lose their life in such a way.

This tragedy has broken so many, and you had so much more to do. You had so much more to become. Your talent on the field alone was an inspiration, and you loved to play. Man, you loved to play. The smile that formed on your face when you had the ball at your feet and the world behind you was so genuine. You really found true happiness in those moments. You were always positive and looked to find a joke in everything. Perhaps a large part of your personality was that you enjoyed a good laugh amongst friends. We all could see that in you, and we shed these tears knowing you are no longer able to enjoy that expression. You were a beautiful child, and your potential was so high. Your life was ahead of you and there were so many more laughs to have with people you love. Your eyes were yet to explore this world and your mind yet to question who you want to be.

As your coaches, we will do our best to continue forward … but we will forever carry you with us. You are in our hearts now and forever. Every time we step on that field or any time we are together laughing, you’re with us all the way. The ball keeps rolling and life keeps moving onward.

To say we love you is not enough, but in a world where there’s so many words to say things sometimes the simplest is the most powerful because we understand and cherish what those words mean. May you rest and may Allah ease the pain in the hearts of your family and friends.

Bashir Ahmed,
Hilltop Tigers Coach


MY Project USA Annual Banquet:

Special 'Early Bird' Prices Available for Just a Few More Days!

Don't Miss Your Chance to Grab Your Tickets Before Prices Rise

We are less than a month from our Ninth Annual Banquet, “Narratives of Resilience,” and our Early Bird ticket sale continues for a just few more days. Do not miss your chance to get tickets to the banquet at the lowest price possible.

Through Tuesday, Oct. 10, you can get tickets at special ‘Early Bird’ prices:
Child under 10: $25 ǀ Family Childcare: $50 ǀ Student: $50 ǀ Adult: $100 ǀ Table of 10: $900

Prices for all these categories will go up after Tuesday, so get yours now by clicking on the button at the bottom of this note.

The banquet will be held on Saturday, Nov. 4 at the Ohio Union (1739 N. High St. Columbus, OH 43210). This is our signature event to benefit MY Project USA’s programs that protect and empower youth and families on the westside of Columbus.

This year we will be joined by Rep. Ilhan Omar, the first Somali American to serve in the United States Congress, as well as several additional 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 (See the next note!).

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.

This event was sold out last year. Please book your seats now using the button below.


MY Project USA Annual Banquet:

Nominations Wanted for Annual Deah Barakat & Chrys Gee Awards

Deadline for Nominations is Friday, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m.

MY Project USA’s Ninth Annual Banquet is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 4 at the Ohio Union, and we are proud to announce that we are currently taking nominations for the following awards:

  • Deah's Change Maker of The Year Award
  • Deah's Excellence in Community Service & Leadership Award
      - NOTE: Two versions of this award will be handed out. One to a young person, one to an adult.
  • Deah's Community Service Award
      - NOTE: Several awards will be given in this category.
  • The Chrys Gee Activist Award

These awards recognize and honor exceptional individuals who make volunteerism and community service a way of life. Those who exemplify the best in volunteering, a sense of caring and responsibility for others that connects citizens and solves community problems. Each award winner must be someone who makes selfless and extraordinary contributions, in addition to those associated with their normal job duties, for the betterment of the local community and beyond. 

The Deah's awards are handed out in honor of Our Three Winners – 23-year-old Syrian American Deah Barakat, his 21-year-old wife Yusor Abu-Salha and her 19-year-old sister Razan Abu-Salha. They were brutally murdered by a neighbor on Feb. 10, 2015, and we honor all three of them for the outstanding, caring, vibrant, beloved, bright young Americans they were.

The Chrys Gee Activist Award is in memory of Chyrs Gee, a loving wife, mother and activist whose sudden passing in December 2018 left a huge void in our community. She was a remarkable person; someone whose memory inspires others to continue the amazing work she started.

Learn more about each award and nominate someone by clicking the button below. All nominations must be submitted by 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20.

Don't forget tickets are now on sale for the annual banquet, and through Oct. 10, you can purchase your ticket at special ‘Early Bird’ prices! 

The proceeds of the Annual Banquet will fund:
  • Issa Jeylani Memorial Recreation Center
  • MY Soup Kitchen
  • Financial Empowerment of Refugees & the Underserved



After-School Program at Eakin Elementary Kicks Off, Gets Visit from MY Reading Warriors Instructors

The Eakin RISE after-school program is underway!

We had a lot of excitement during Tuesday’s program, which featured guest instructors from our MY Reading Warriors program. They were on hand to help our children at Eakin with their reading skills. On Tuesday, 10 boys and girls were in attendance.

The program at Eakin in the third MY Project USA after-school program to kick off this school year. In September, programs at Starling PK-8 School and West High School began. Other programs slated to begin in October include ones at Binns Elementary School and at the Hilltop Youth Empowerment Center. All programs are free for qualifying families and are made possible thanks to the financial support provided by the Ohio Department of Education, United Way of Central Ohio, the Ingram-White Castle Foundation and the Siemer Family Foundation.

MY Project USA would like to recognize the efforts of Education Manager Jenna Herron, Assistant Education Manager Felix Mijangos and their team of aides and volunteers that work so hard to make these programs successful for the youth people we serve. At Eakin, our team includes Stephanie Bassham, Kayla Hancock, Aleah Goesset and Shaday Martinez.

As always, we will be sharing more from our after-school programs in the coming weeks and months!


MY Family Pantry:

More Than 500 Families Served Last Week at MY Family Pantry

A total of 2,150 individuals and 566 families were served from Tuesday, Sept. 26-Saturday, Sept. 30 at the Mid-Ohio Market at MY Project USA powered by MY Family Pantry.

As usual, Saturday was the busiest day, with 695 men and women getting nutritious food and household items. Among those served last week were 566 families, and 99 of those families were visiting MY Family Pantry for the first time.

Thank you to MY Family Pantry Director Ramy El-Assal and his entire volunteer team from Ohio State (including Michael Abou-Elias, Rahaf Shalash, Noora Rajjoub, Elsa Wani, Stella Aboshahba, Nawal Abdinur and Chai Annamreddi). We also thank all of the volunteers we saw throughout last week.

We would also like to thank pantry team members Ezatullah Momand and Jajuan Parker for their hard work each and every week. Thanks to these men and women, we are able to distribute fresh produce and groceries to hundreds of individuals in our community each week.


MY Community Cafe:

Grab a Delicious, Healthy Meal & Help Feed Children in Columbus

MY Community Cafe has a wonderful menu full of delicious and healthier options, including this tilapia fish platter that comes with rice and a side salad. It's just $10.99!

Make sure you order your next meal from MY Community Cafe and help us support at-risk young people on the west side of Columbus. All proceeds from the cafe go to help fund our programs. 

Order. Donate. Feed a Future!

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


Global Gifts & Thrift:

Get That Fall Feeling with Unique Trinkets from Global Gift & Thrift

Have you been to Global Gift & Thrift lately? We have some unique trinkets that are perfect for the fall season. Don't forget that our store is proud to feature 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.

Shop. Donate. Build a Life!

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


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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