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.