The Jonathan Foundation

Omar J. Marhaba

Omar J. Marhaba

Omar Jamal Marhaba, Jr. is the eldest son of TJF’s founder and President, Raja Marhaba. He has worked as a business analyst for six years for a direct sales software company in the Orange County. However, Omar Jr.’s journey through the K-12 education system was filled with many obstacles.

Beginning in the fourth grade, he began experiencing educational difficulties, which impacted his comprehension of reading materials, vocabulary skills, and writing. Because testing conducted by his school showed him to possess superior intelligence, Omar Jr. was offered a 504 plan, instead of an individualized education program. Receiving only classroom and instructional accommodations, he continued to struggle academically.

While in the fifth grade, Omar Jr. was formally diagnosed with the inattentive type of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as well as multiple learning disorders. But, he continued to not qualify for special education services. By middle school, he was not only labeled as being “lazy”, “defiant”, and “too social” by school personnel and teachers, but also began being bullied by both his peers and teachers.

As a result of his continued academic struggles and ongoing bullying, Omar Jr. suffered from depression as well as panic and anxiety attacks before transitioning to high school.

Although, he eventually qualified for special education and related service during high school, Omar Jr. never really received the programming and services to meet his educational needs. In spite of this, he graduated from high school six months early as well as participated in and successfully completed a Business Plan competition in 2006 hosted by UCLA’s Anderson School of Business Management.

Omar Jr.’s continued involvement with TJF goes beyond being a member of the Board. He and his brother Jonathan actively engage other young people with disabilities that impact their learning as well as serve as mentors to individuals who are facing similar struggles and experiences in school.

Since its inception in 2001, The Jonathan Foundation has provided families of children and adolescents with various types of disabilities with information, resources, referrals, and direct advocacy services by Raja in both special education and regional center matters. Moreover, Raja has developed a strong relationship with Children of the Night, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing children from prostitution and continues to volunteer her professional advocacy services to children and teens served by the organization’s programs. Driven by her personal experience and the outcomes of some of the cases in which she had been involved, Raja decided to launch the “Assessment Scholarship Program” in 2014 to lessen the financial burden families are faced with when obtaining private evaluations.

In addition to her involvement in The Jonathan Foundation, Raja is not only a licensed realtor, but also the co-owner of Martec Construction, Inc., which she runs with her Partner, Omar. She and Omar have operated Martec Construction for over twenty years. Due to her work in the company, Martec Construction has been recognized as a woman-owned business since 2003.

Raja’s educational background includes possessing an Associate of Applied Science degree from Borough of Manhattan Community College in Business Administration. She also holds a certification in Paralegal Studies with a Concentration in Litigation and Corporations from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she also successfully completed the Management Development for Entrepreneurs (MDE) Program. Raja was selected and successfully completed the first cohort of the federally-funded Special Education Advocate Training (SEAT) Program in 2006. After her completion of the SEAT Program, she was selected to be a member of the Education Panel & Committee for the Juvenile Division of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, which is comprised of special education attorneys and advocates, who are court-appointed to represent the educational needs of children involved in the foster care and probation systems.

Raja continues to hold active memberships and certifications with the National Association of Women Business Owners, National Women’s Business Enterprise and Women-Owned Small Businesses. Additionally, she has earned several awards as a result of her more than twenty years of success with Martec Construction and, later, The Jonathan Foundation, including being one of several women recognized with the Enterprising Women of the Year Award in February 2016, and is also one of nine extraordinary women whom have been award the 2019 L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth Award..

Raja has two children Omar Jr. and Jonathan

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