MY Project USA in News

The Ohio Muslim groups standing up for their embattled community

September 19, 2018

COLUMBUS, United States - Wedgewood Village housing complex in Columbus, Ohio, has been dubbed a “hotbed” for crime. But thanks to the efforts of a local advocacy group, it will soon be home to a football league for its mainly immigrant youth.

The group My Project USA has devoted recent years to offering services to its residents, many of them Somali immigrants. Last month, it secured a grant from the Columbus City Council to create a football (soccer, in the local argot) league for the neighbourhood's youth by opening sports fields, hiring coaches and putting together an advisory board.

This is one of several steps Zerqa Abid, founder and executive director of My Project USA, is taking to aid Columbus Muslim, refugee and immigrant communities, many of which are targeted by human traffickers, gangs and drug dealers.

Columbus's Violent Crime Review Group expands to the Hilltop area, including Wedgewood

September 06, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther's Office said Thursday that the Violent Crime Review Group would expand to the Hilltop neighborhood, including the Wedgewood area, starting this week.

The program started up in the Linden neighborhood in May.

"Every day, every night you hear gunshots," said Mike Davis who lives in the Hilltop.

The review includes the Wedgewood area too.

"I am surprised as to why it was not there in the beginning, but I think this will definitely help," said Zerqa Abid, a Greater Hilltop Area Commissioner and leader of MY Project USA. "One of the complaints we hear a lot from our community is that by the time that the agencies come and the service providers come, sometimes it is too late. "

Community activists start soccer league to combat crime in Wedgewood

August 22, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio

In an area often considered a “hot bed” for crime, community activists are hoping the sport of soccer will serve as a catalyst for change in the Wedgewood community.

The group “My Project USA” has spent two years in the Wedgewood Village Apartment Complex working to offer services to thousands living in the community.

After opening food pantries and working to build connections with the Columbus Police Department, the organization is focusing on soccer to keep neighbor kids off the streets.

“Our goal is that we turn this community into the role model community for the city of Columbus,” community activist Zerqa Abid said.

After receiving $68,000 from Columbus City Council the project is one step closer to becoming a reality.

After 7 homicides in '17, residents at west Columbus apartment complex aim to end violence

May 25, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- Zerqa Abid and a team of volunteers have been working to make the Wedgewood Apartments, what some called the deadliest in Columbus, safer.

"You have to admit there is an issue and you have to work on it," said Abid.

There were seven homicides at the complex in 2017: multiple double-murders and a home invasion. It is a complex Abid believes around 2,000 children live with their families. So far in 2018, there has not been a murder.

Community in Crisis: Can Wedgewood Village rebound from a violent 2017?

April 04, 2018

“We recognize law enforcement alone is not going to be successful in changing the tide on a lot of the problems,” Hyland said. “So we’ve also started to reach out to non-law-enforcement partners, whether it’s within city government or quasi-judicial groups like the [Greater] Hilltop Area Commission, or nonprofits such as Friends of the Hilltop and My Project USA. ... I’m most impressed with Zerqa [Abid of My Project USA] and some of the youth leaders who live in Wedgewood. Zerqa has really managed to rally people.”

Abid, seated in the West Side office of My Deah’s thrift shop on Sullivant Avenue, which also serves as My Project USA’s headquarters, possesses a warm smile and a soft-spoken manner that mask a bulldog tenacity. (Hyland said Abid “might have rubbed some people the wrong way with her persistence” in pushing Wedgewood-related issues in political circles, though he admires this quality, believing the neighborhood needs strong, dedicated advocates.)

Wedgewood Village first entered onto Abid’s radar in the summer of 2015 when My Project USA, a nonprofit charitable organization launched in March of that year, passed out free meals for families living at low-income Hilltop residences River Pointe Apartments and Wedgewood Village.

Wedgewood Village neighbors lace-up to support community

March 18, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Dozens of residents and friends of the Wedgewood Village Apartments marched along Sullivant Avenue in the Hilltop Sunday afternoon to promote solidarity.

Organizers said the march is in response to a change.org petition asking the city to close the community down after high amounts of crime and suspected drug activity.

"Bear with us, we will make changes, and if you want to be part of this change, then please, no negativity," said Wedgewood Village resident Samira Mohamad.

Online petition calling city to shut down apartments complex inspires march to support res

March 16, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- A unity march is planned Sunday, March 18th to show support for residents of Wedgewood Village Apartments in Columbus’ Hilltop neighborhood.

Hilltop Unity March: Stop the Hate and Violence was organized after a petition was created on Change.org calling on the City of Columbus to shut down the apartment complex after years of incidents involving violent crime.

Wedgewood Village Apartments is home to many Muslim refugees and immigrants from Somalia and other African countries.

March organizer Zerqa Abid said comments on the petition gave her concerns for the safety of residents.

"My major concern was that it could easily trigger hate crimes against this community,” said Abid.

Columbus’ deadliest location: Hilltop apartment complex focus of efforts by police, residents

January 02, 2018

"Abid started My Project USA in 2014 to deal with the issues of human trafficking, drugs and domestic violence — especially in how they affect Muslim families. Through her project, she has gained a greater understanding of what is going on at Wedgewood Village."

Families, police go door-to-door at west Columbus apartments to cut down on crime

December 10, 2017

"They are saying that we will make sure that our children are safe and they are in a healthy and safe environment," said organizer Zerqa Abid with MY Project USA. "I think that is a huge thing. I have not seen more strong, beautiful moms than these people who are coming out today."

"This isn't a one-time thing. The group plans to do clean-ups often and help neighbors. They want to keep the area clean and drug-free, and help the largely Somali community navigate life in Columbus."

Boy Scouts program to focus on Wedgewood refugee and immigrant community

June 09, 2017

"In a program new to Columbus, City Council, the Simon Kenton Council of the Boy Scouts of America and MY Project USA are launching Boy Scout programming on the West Side. Though open to all children, the program will be specifically focused on the refugee and immigrant community in the Wedgewood neighborhood.

Many children in the community are falling victim to older children who “groom” them to become part of gangs, said Zerqa Abid, founder and executive director of MY Project USA, a nonprofit focused on protecting and empowering youth.

“We want to create a support program that really helps children and parents and empowers them against gang influences,” Abid said. Along with other programs MY Project USA is doing, Abid said she’s hoping the Boy Scouts will “uplift the whole community and change minds from being a refugee to being a loyal, productive American citizen.”

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© 2019 by MY Project USA 

Call Us:    614-905-0977

Visit Us: 3036 Sullivant Ave. Columbus, OH 43204

Mail Us:   P.O. Box 1311, Hilliard, OH 43026

Email Us:  info@MYProjectUSA.org

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