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Local Young Authors Create United Way Centennial Activity Book

March 29th, 2023

Thanks to three talented, creative sisters from central Ohio, United Way of Central Ohio has a unique activity book that tells the story of our centennial celebration through the eyes of a curious child. In the book, Zakira, whose name comes from combining the three sisters’ names, meets and becomes friends with local individuals who are supporters of United Way.

Young readers (called Sunbeams by Zakira) meet local philanthropists such as Donna and Larry James, Ann Pizzuti, Tanny Crane and Janet Jackson, the former CEO of United Way. Designed for coloring, the illustrated book includes fun activities on every page. Children will have fun doing mazes, riddles, matching games and a crossword puzzle, all while learning about the importance of friendships, volunteering and community service.

“The Zakira Presents activity book celebrating United Way of Central Ohio’s centennial is a wonderful reflection of our values of friendship, helpfulness and understanding,” said Lisa S. Courtice, president and CEO. “United Way has been bringing people together for 100 years to make central Ohio a better place for everyone. These young authors worked so hard, using wonderful creativity and thoughtfulness, to tell our story and inspire future generations to help make a difference in our community.”

Zahara (age 9), Zakiya (age 12) and Zalika (age 14) are the authors of the “Zakira Presents!” reading and activity book series, whose motto is, “The more you understand each other, the better friend you can be TO one another.” Local to Columbus, the Obayuwana sisters are of American, Nigerian and Tanzanian ancestry, and are proud Columbus City School students.

Other books in the series, which the girls began in 2021, include “Zakira Presents Kwanzaa,” Zakira Presents Ramadan” and “Zakira Presents Columbus Humane,” among others. The books include activities and reflective questions that encourage young readers to

  • Practice empathy, healthy cultural curiosity, and appreciation.
  • Foster a spirit of community building and global citizenship.
  • Celebrate self-empowerment, diversity and inclusion.

As United Way celebrates our 100th year of impact, the activity books will be available at various centennial and Success by Third Grade events, and for donors during specific centennial campaigns. It is also available to purchase at 

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