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Pandemic Perseverance

The following is an example of an entrepreneur involved with IFEL who is persevering in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

IyaSokoya Karade

Athletic Arts Academy


The world that IyaSokoya Karade knew was completely devastated when COVID-19 hit. An executive order from the government deemed her business, Athletic Arts Academy, Orange, NJ, as a non-essential business. While her existing licensed summer camp expedited the re-opening process, concerns about future shutdowns forced Karade to find additional ways to protect the academy while also helping families in her community.  “Even though building this business from the ground up has taken a toll on me, fighting my way back from COVID-19 has made me focus and become more determined,” she stated. 

Coach Iya.webp

Karade applied for and won a grant from the State of New Jersey, allowing her to procure an official childcare license and to upgrade her facility and programs to encourage more families with children to enroll. Programs at the academy also nurture children’s emotional and spiritual development and provide safe, affordable and dependable childcare for low-income working families in the community. “The past year has put a terrible strain on working families in surrounding, predominantly African-American, Latin, and immigrant  communities, where family members often work multiple jobs. Receiving this grant has enabled the academy to offer parents much-needed financial relief,” Karade stated. Child care enrollment is open for families by visiting,

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