The Jonathan Foundation

Jonathan A. Marhaba

Jonathan A. Marhaba

Jonathan’s journey is nothing short of inspiring. Despite being diagnosed with severe dyslexia and being told he would never graduate high school, he not only graduated but excelled with a 4.0 GPA in college. He realized the hardships his family faced and the lack of resources available for individuals with learning disabilities. The Jonathan Foundation is dedicated to helping children, teens, and young adults with special needs understand and cope with their challenges.

Through his foundation, Jonathan mentors and speaks with individuals, empowering them to realize that their disabilities are not limitations but “gifts.” His dedication to the cause is rooted in his own experiences, where a nonpublic school placement and the proper services allowed him to develop into the person he is today.

Jonathan is not only a board member of the foundation but also managed several projects for his family’s construction business and currently is a Realtor License #02078041. In addition, he’s a gifted performer, having participated in several productions in the Theater Arts Department at Moorpark College. With his selfless dedication and passion for helping others, Jonathan continues to make a difference in the lives of those dealing with challenges due to their disabilities.
The results of his efforts are priceless, as seen through the success stories reported by individuals he mentors and speaks with. Jonathan’s work in the continually misunderstood world of special education is vital, and he serves as a role model to those he helps.

He also continues to mentor children, teens and young adults with special needs in an effort to help them to better understand what they are going through and show them they are not alone, that their disability is not a disability but a “gift”.

Jonathan’s Story:

“He will never graduate high school.” This was the stigma surrounding my struggles throughout school as an individual with severe dyslexia. Even with such discouragement, I was able to cope with my learning challenges, graduate high school, and sustain a 4.0 grade point average at a college level in spite of having a reading fluency equivalent to a fifth grader. My story and success formed the roots of The Jonathan Foundation and the necessity of its existence. The effort put forth by my mother and the hardships my family was forced to endure is something no family should have to go through. There is no reason why a mother should have to watch her son drop two grade levels in reading in one semester before she would be “allowed” to obtain services from a school district. As a result of this domino effect, my reading fluency dropped to a 1st grade level as I transitioned into the 7th grade. All this was because the school district exploited our lack of knowledge in order to prevent giving me the proper services. With my self-esteem extremely low, it was my final placement in a nonpublic school during 7th Grade, surrounded by people who cared about and understood me, and most important, who believed in me, that I credit for educational success. The services I received, the result of winning the fight against the school district, allowed me to develop into the person I am today. There are so many factors that ensure the success of someone with a disability or “a gift”, which is the way I look at my dyslexia.

The difference people made in my personal experience as well as how that played a crucial role in my success, is why I want to give that opportunity to others. The world of special education needs people that are willing to work hard to make a difference. That difference is what drives me to help the many people others overlook.

Through his work with The Jonathan Foundation, Jonathan has been able to make a similar difference in the lives of others dealing with challenges due to their disability. Receiving confirmation of his efforts through the reported success stories from individuals he mentors and speaks with, such as the following note: “Where can I ever begin or end to say thank you? I have been blessed to have your help. My life was changed because of you.”

He believes such results, in the continually misunderstood world of special education, are priceless.

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