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In this newsletter: 

  1. MY Project USA will invest $3M in Youth Empowerment & Community Building in 2023 - Message from Zerqa Abid
  2. Juvenile Justice Workshop Scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 4
  3. Zerqa Abid Presented with Philanthropist of the Year Award
  4. Dental Care Drive Underway in Honor of Deah Barakat
  5. Grand Opening Set For New Store In Hilliard
  6. MYPUSA & NICC Join Forces to Empower Youth 
  7. Watch These New Immigrants Learn English!
  8. Wedgewood Community Power Hours Begin In January
  9. News Report Highlights Efforts to Make Wedgewood Safer
  10. MYPUSA Participates in MLK Parade
  11. Helpline: Rent & Utilities Support Information for Clients
  12. MY Deah's Warehouse Donation Bins Locations
  13. MY Project USA Auditing Report

MY Project USA’s Board Aims to Invest $3M+ in Uplifting The Most Underserved Youth & Families in 2023

We Invested $1.6M in Protecting 50,000 Clients In 2022 

Dear Family,

Late Happy New Year!

I can’t believe it is February already. With the rise in guns and gang violence in Columbus, we have been very busy launching new programs and expanding the old ones to make sure we could save more lives and futures and build safer, prosperous neighborhoods for our most underserved and ignored communities in Central Ohio. 

Last year was bittersweet. On one hand, we served more than 50,000 clients and provided safe space and programming to hundreds of children. On the other hand, we lost our beloved Issa Jeyalni, a 16-year-old soccer champion, to gun violence. We are heartbroken but determined to continue the good fight. We are grateful for your support in it. 

Last week, our board carefully reviewed last year’s expenses and this year’s needs and has approved an operational budget of $3M for this year. We invested $1.6M last year in empowering 50,000 clients. This year we will double that number as we embark on building a new indoor recreational facility in a neighborhood where children are succumbed to drugs, gangs and gun violence. We have expanded our programs to Hispanic, Afghani and Somali Bantu ethnic communities and are launching new social enterprise to generate revenue for the programs and to create more job opportunities for our neighbors. 

To achieve this goal, we have added more administrative, instructional, recreational and supportive staff to our team. By the Grace of God, our team has grown to 40 staff, 9 board members and 500 plus volunteers. We now have a full time communication specialist who will make sure that we send you weekly updates to you through this newsletter.  

Next week, I will share more details of our new budget and plans for 2023 with you. In the meantime, I wanted to share this beautiful picture of a little girl in our program. It warms my heart. 

This is why I do what I do!

This is what WE are investing in! 

I am happy that OUR investment is empowering the most precious little girls in our community with the power of education, technology and confidence that will lead them to a successful, prosperous future, God willing. 

We are changing their lives forever!

Thank you for being a part of MY Project USA’s Village.

In Solidarity with Youth & Families, 

Zerqa Abid,
Founder & Executive Director
MY Project USA 


Zerqa Abid Presented with Philanthropist of the Year Award

Congratulations to our founder and Executive Director Zerqa Abid, who was presented with the Philanthropist of the Year Award on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at the Ohio Statehouse during the Medical Mutual 2023 Pillar Award for Community Service banquet.

Abid has been working tirelessly as a volunteer for the last 8 years to build MY Project USA from scratch. She is not only a volunteer Executive Director, but also one of the top donors to the organization. Under her leadership, the organization has served more than 200,000 clients and saved thousands of children from hunger, drugs, gangs and other serious situations. 

She dedicates this award to MY Project USA village: All MY Project USA’s donors, volunteers, supporters and well-wishers. The list of selfless people who have made an impact is in the hundreds. We are all truly appreciative of everyone. Thank you for the continued support, donations, time, prayers and presence. Please continue to support vulnerable youth and families.

Dental Care Drive Underway in Honor of Deah Barakat

Deah, a 23-year-old student at the University Of North Carolina School Of Dentistry, hoped to fundraise $20,000 for a summer trip to Turkey to provide dental care to Syrian refugees. Unfortunately, he, his wife Yusor and her sister Razan Abu-Salha were shot to death in North Carolina in a hate crime on Feb. 10, 2015. Each year, MY Family Pantry at MY Project USA commemorates him and Abu-Salhas in February. We paused our dental drive during the pandemic, but we are reviving it.

Goal: 2,500 supplies / $1,500

We are aiming to distribute more than 2,500 tubes of toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss and mouthwash to 500 refugees and needy families in Columbus who can’t afford them. We serve more than 500 families at our pantry weekly.

Please donate using the button below or send your donations through the following options.

Drop Off Locations:
3275 Sullivant Ave., Columbus, OH 43204
4730 Cemetery Rd., Hilliard, OH 43026

More Info: (614) 373-9360 I pantry@myprojectusa.org

MY Project USA & Noor Islamic Cultural Center Join Forces to Protect & Empower Youth & Families in Columbus 

A historic moment occurred on Saturday, Jan. 21, when MY Project USA hosted a meeting with the Noor Islamic Cultural Center’s Board and Executive Director.

Chair of NICC Board, Dr. Ronney Abaza, and Board members Ashraf Sharief, Samer Bazerbashi, Dr. Muhammed Rizwan Afzal and Dr. Nasra Ahmed were in attendance.

The Executive Committee was represented by the Executive Director Azhar Masood along with Br. Abdurrahman Wood and Sr. Angel Rodriguez-Khanboubi.

First, they toured the Hilltop Empowerment Center. Our founder and Executive Director Zerqa Abid enlightened the group about the scope of our work and introduced them to other MYPUSA Board members. We discussed various ways to join together to protect and empower our youth and uplift underserved communities.

It was an honor to meet with the Board of the NICC, a group that has served the Muslim community and the community at large since its opening in September 2006. We would like to thank Dr. Abaza for his leadership in convening this meeting. We are so moved by the commitment of all NICC members at the meeting and are humbled by their words of support as the meeting concluded.

Special thanks to MYPUSA Board member Ajmeri Hoque for convening these tours of community leaders/organizations at our center. Together, InshaAllah, we will continue protecting and empowering all youth.

Watch These New Immigrants Learn English!

Take a look at this video taken Saturday, Jan. 28, during our latest ESL Class at Riverview International Center. New immigrants were hard at work learning English to help uplift their families, and we have some clips of their progress. We could not be more proud!

This class is a part of our Workforce Development program, which is funded by a grant from the Welcome Fund. Currently, more than 25 new refugees, both men and women, are attending this class. Visit MYProjectUSA.org/donors to learn all of the ways to support our mission.

Wedgewood Community Power Hours Updates

MY Project USA kicked off a schedule of weekly “Community Power Hour” events on Fridays in January to bring the Wedgewood community and the Columbus Division of Police closer together.

The first event was held Jan. 6 and featured Safe Crime Reporting Training by Columbus Police. A total of 74 people were on hand as a “See Something, Say Something” campaign debuted. We were honored by the presence of Asst. Chief of Police Potts and other officers, who joined Wedgewood residents for a meal and helpful discussion.

One week later, on Jan. 13, a “Spruce Up with Cops” event for a Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day was held. Parents, youth, community leaders and police officers joined together to beautify the Wedgewood neighborhood one building at a time. A clean community is a safer community. Special thanks to Zone 3 Commander Lokai to join us on this day. Youth were excited to meet and work with him. 

The Jan. 20 event was held at Wedgewood and featured a Safe Neighborhood Discussion with police officers, including Asst. Chief Potts. 

The final January event was Jan. 27 and was a Family Game Day at MY Project USA. Antonio Combs Jr. of the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department led children in several fun activities, and members of the Columbus Division of Police were on hand to take part in all of the fun and visit with everyone. 

Special thanks to MY Project USA staffers for their efforts! Visit MYProjectUSA.org/donors to learn all of the ways to support our mission. 

Media Highlights MY Project USA's Efforts in Hilltop 

Thank you to Anna Hoffman of WCMH NBC-4  for her report on the efforts to improve safety at Wedgewood Village Apartments. MY Project USA founder and Executive Director Zerqa Abid was interviewed for Hoffman’s report.

MY Project USA continues to be proud the lead the movement in Wedgewood in partnership with the  Wedgewood Administration, Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein's team, Columbus Division of Police, Columbus Recreation and Parks Department and other partners. We all work to find and implement solutions to create a safer neighborhood for the residents of Wedgewood.

MYPUSA recently hosted a “Clean Up with Cops” event to bring the Columbus Police Department and Wedgewood residents together, and we are continuing efforts to create and build a resident council with members acting as a voice for the community. Five residents have already agreed to join.

“The major hurdle in Wedgwood’s progress is the fear, it’s the serious fear,” Abid said. “Just last meeting, we had two moms who are worried about their own children. They are concerned. Do they talk about this to the police officers, and then we had this long conversation saying that it is better for you to talk with the police officers.

“We know that more community members will come out and will join the resident council and other efforts once the fear goes down. Right now, I give a lot of credit to these four or five people that have stepped up.”

MY Project USA Brought Forty New Americans To MLK Parade  

Exciting First Civic Engagement For First Year Refugees 

The beautiful diversity of Columbus was on display on Monday, Jan. 16, during the annual MLK Day Parade. MY Project USA founder & Executive Director Zerqa Abid and more than 40 people representing various ethnic communities were proud to be a part of the parade. 

Although our group represented many ethnicities, a very large number among them was of young Afghan constituents. They were holding our signature parade banner saying #MYProjectisUSA, a perfect reminder to all old and new Americans on MLK Day.  

For many of those taking part, it was their first time taking part in the parade, a wonderful example of civic engagement for all of those in attendance. They were also interviewed by a student media group from OSU. 

The parade was also a chance for those in attendance to participate in an event with leaders like Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, Ohio State Senator Hearcel Craig, Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Sheryl Munson, Columbus Mayor Ginther, Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein, Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin and Councilmembers Emmanuel Remy, Rob Dorans, Shayla Favor and Lourdes Barroso de Padilla.

We look forward to our next participation in the 4th of July Parade. 

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


7 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

We are looking for more locations. If interested in helping us or have any other question, please contact us at warehouse@myprojectusa.org.


Brady Ware & Company Auditors Give Highest Ranks to MY Project USA's Fiscal Management Practices

We are so proud and humbled!

Thanks to the hard work of our founder and Executive Director Zerqa Abid, Treasurer Russ Harris and Director Administration Uzair Qidwai for staying on the top of our fiscal management, record keeping and accounting. Full report is available on our website.


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MY Project USA
3275 Sullivant Ave | Columbus, Ohio  43204
614-905-0977 | info@myprojectusa.org

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