Education

VELA Education Fund supports innovative Atlanta learning pod

Innovators Mikayla Streeter and Khabral Muhammad explain how they responded to demand for new education models during COVID-19.

January 25, 2021

Six months ago with the Walton Family Foundation, the Charles Koch Institute announced the launch of the VELA Education Fund to support and nurture educators and learners who are operating beyond the K-12 system.

Two of these innovators are Mikala Streeter and Khabral Muhammad, the founders of Zucchinis Home School Co-Op, a project-based learning pod for children ages 4 to 10 in Atlanta. The co-op was featured in a recent VELA Education Fund video. In the video, Streeter and Muhammad discuss how the demand for new education models has grown significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they responded to parents who needed a safe and vibrant place for their children to learn.

“Life does not stop,” explains Muhammad. “The need to provide for one’s family does not go away.”

The co-op operates from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every weekday and offers age-appropriate music, science, math and English language curriculum in a small setting. Streeter and Muhammad intend to keep the co-op open even after the pandemic subsides.

“Children should enjoy what they’re learning,” Streeter says in the video. “They should feel safe, not just physically, but emotionally as well. This should be a safe space for just who they are as people.”

The Charles Koch Institute inspires and invests in social entrepreneurs developing solutions to America’s most pressing problems. Read more about our support for social entrepreneurs committed to education.