Join Us At Our Annual Dinner To Celebrate Their Legacy
MY Project USA Fosters Selfless, Hardworking, Outstanding Youth Leaders Like "Our Three Winners"
Columbus Youth & Adults To Receive Deah's Awards At Our Annual Dinner
Dear MY Project USA Family,
It's been three years that our beloved Deah, Yusor and Razan, "Our Three Winners," were taken away from us in an act of violence. Today marks the third anniversary of the infamous Chapel Hill Shooting that shook our nation and took three beautiful, outstanding, selfless young Muslim American leaders away from us forever.
Three years ago, on Feb. 10th, 2015, Deah Barakat, 23, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and Razan Abu-Salha, 19, were gunned down by their neighbor in Chapel Hill, NC. For those of you that don't know them yet, please check out their Facebook page, "Our Three Winners" for more details.
That incident was very personal to me. I have known Barakat family since Deah was a toddler. They are close family friends. For years, we have had worked together to establish and grow Al-Iman school in the Raleigh's mosque for our children. His mother is like a sister to me. He was like my own child. To this day, it's not easy for me to talk about his loss. I still can't really look into his parents' eyes and talk about him properly. And I am not alone, most of my friends in Raleigh still go through it everyday. If it were not for Barakat and Abu-Salaha's families, we would not be even functioning normally as we are now. By the grace of God, they led us with grace and dignity. We came to the resolution as a family, as a community, and as the people of Islamic faith that we would not let that tragedy bring us down. Dozens of new community service projects were born across America in response to that tragedy.
Although My Project USA was already in the pipeline at that time, their death shaped the direction and objectives even more clearly for me. I was about to launch MY Project USA on February 15th and this happened on the 10th. I dropped everything and went to their funeral first. I came back sad but more committed. I launched the organization on March 1st, 2015.
Following Ramadan, I invited Farris Barakat, Deah's older brother, to share his story with the Columbus Muslim youth and families. That day, I promised the attendees of the dinner that if they would trust me with their money, I would give them many more Deah, Yusor and Razan. They responded positively. All of you came forward to help and we did it. In just three years, we have fostered so many incredible, selfless, hardworking youth leaders like Our Three Winners. Alhamdulillah, all praise is due to God Almighty.
We also opened our thrift store "MY Deah's" named after Deah per his father's request. That store has become a unique place in Columbus where young Muslims and non-Muslims from different backgrounds gather every Saturday morning to run our MY Family Pantry. They were able to pass about 860,000 meals and snacks last year. These are the best of Columbus. These are the best of America. I respect them deeply and I love them from the depth of my heart. They remind me of Deah, Yusor and Razan everyday.
Today, I am deeply saddened for their absence in our lives, but I am also humbled for the fact that through MY Project USA, we were able to foster many more youth like them. Today, I am humbled by our results. I am also very proud of each and every youth and adults that have shown to us that the community service is their way of life.
I am excited to announce that each year from now on, we will be presenting awards honoring Our Three Winners' lives and legacies. Our awards will be named after Deah only to avoid any confusion with the initiatives of "The Our Three Winners" organization that is created by their families.
This year, 16 youth leaders and one adult leader will receive different awards. In the adult category, we have chosen Dr. Malika Haque, the founder and manager of Noor Community Clinic to receive Deah's Excellence in Community Service and Leadership Award. We will be announcing all youth winners at our Annual Dinner on Sunday, February 18th.
Join Us To Help Columbus Orphans, Refugees & Under-served Communities
Keynote Speaker, Honorable Judge Paul Herbert, Franklin County Municipal Court
In 2017, MY Project USA has become a mainstream Muslim Social Services & Civic Engagement Organization. We are working hand in hand with our interfaith and social justice partners to bring prosperity and hope to the under-served communities in Columbus. At our annual dinner, we will celebrate our accomplishments. We will also re-energize our base and will raise money to continue and grow our work to the next level. Please join us and bring your family and friends with you.
We Need $199,000 To Protect & Empower 250 Children, 50+ Youth Leaders & 50 Households - Would You Help?
MY Deah's Warehouse is a Path To Self Sustainability - With Your Help, We Could Start Funding Other Organizations By 2020
Dear MY Project USA Family,
By the grace of God, in 2017, we were able to improve our system to take care of the basic/short-term needs, food, clothing, urgent help with rent, bills, etc., and we started providing long-term solutions through education, trainings and employments. We served more than 30,000 clients last year. Our annual report is now available on our website for you to see the impact of our work in one year.
In 2018, we would like to sustain what we have grown in 2017, but we would like to invest more on program sides and increasing our human capacity in the workforce. We aim to have more people empowered within our target communities.
2018 Program Goals:
In 2018, our main focus program-wise would be on these programs:
Highschool Education Committee to help them graduate on time and to help them address any issues at their school . This committee will also keep youth away from drugs and gangs.
Youth Leaders Development to foster these youth as the leaders, mentors, counselors and big brother, big sisters of their own community.
Resident Council Training & Development to help refugee and less– informed residents understand their rights and responsibilities, so they could help foster a healthy and safe environment for their families. This council would also help address the crimes in the neighborhood as well.
Parent Education to empower refugee and less-informed parents with the skills and knowledge that could help them raise their children as healthy and productive American citizens.
MY Deah’s Warehouse to become a self sufficient organization by 2020. We are following the model of Goodwill Stores. Donations collected from the community are given to the needy community members or are being sold to help empower the community members through other services.
2018 Capacity Building Goals
We Aim to Double Our Services
Wedgewood Youth Leaders
Wedgewood Resident Leaders
Soccer Team (s)
Employees & Interns
Children/Youth in Programs
2018 Civic Engagement Goals
Women Empowerment, Gun Violence, Environment Protection & More
This year, we will train youth to become leaders in their areas of interest. We will partner with many organizations to work with mainstream communities focusing on the following areas.
Voter Registration & Turning Out Vote in Elections
Immigration Rights & Sanctuary Movement
Gun Safety & Prevention of Gun Violence
Environment Protection with special Focus on Clean Water Preservation in Columbus
Women Empowerment with special Focus on
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
We are looking for youth leaders to take lead in this initiatives. We will provide them training and support they might need.
Boy Scouts of America| Reading Warriors| Girls Clubs
We have 125 kids enrolled in our weekly programs and more kids joining the program every week. We are focused on our Wedgewood and Hilltop community. Boy Scouts:
On mondays Wedgewood Middle School with our Boy Scout troops. From 3:30-6:30pm, the first three hours we have movie time and homework help and the last hour we have our scouting meeting.
On Friday, we are at Eakin Elementary School with our Boy Scouts. From 3:30-6pm, the first two and a half hours we have homework help and educational game stations and the last hour we have our scouting meeting.
Wedgewood Reading Warriors:
On Tuesdays, we are at the Wedgewood office with our Wedgewood Warriors. This is a program that was started by our very own Samira Mohamud and Wedgewood Youth Leaders two years ago and till this day they continued this book club with many kids who are locked out of their homes after school.
Eakin Girls Club Meetings for elementary school girls ar on Friday at Eakin Elementary. We are there from 3:30-6pm, the first two and a half hours we have homework help and educational game stations and the last hour we have our scouting meeting.
On Friday night, we are at the Wedgewood office from 6:30-8pm with our Wedgewood Youth Leaders and girls 14+ for Girls’ Night. During this hour and a half, we bond with our amazing girls and have heart to heart venting sessions.