A Los Angeles Charter School Turns Casual Friday into a Fundraiser for Starlight

Nadar Ali is a soft-spoken man with a huge heart. He’s the principal at a Los Angeles based Learn4Life Concept Charter School. He and his staff work with young adults who have dropped out of high school or are in danger of dropping out and provide them with resources, mentoring and courses to graduate.

“There is a certain population of kids who are going to do fine. It has always been my life’s work to help kids who need that extra push,” Nadar said.

Nadar makes it his mission to give back to the community. As a result, his charter school hosted a twist on a casual Friday fundraiser where staff could pay $3 to wear jeans and $2 to wear tennis shoes. All the funds raised could go toward a charity of his choice. Nadar chose Starlight.

“I researched your organization, I think it was the photos of the kids on your website. They reminded me of my daughter,” Nadar said.

Caring for a Seriously Ill Child

Nadar knows first-hand what it’s like to have a seriously ill child. In 1993, his daughter, Atiyah, was born with Trisomy 13, also called Patau syndrome. It’s a chromosomal condition associated with severe intellectual disability and physical abnormalities in many parts of the body.

“The night she was born, the doctor was telling us about her illness. He said that kids like this don’t live more than a week or two,” Nadar said. “They told us, don’t get your hopes up, don’t make a whole lot of plans for her.”

Atiyah Ali, born August 19, 1993

Despite this, Atiyah beat the statistics and lived well past birth.

Atiyah was the light in their world for six years. The Ali’s have four other children and everyone helped take care of their little sister. Atiyah suffered from sleep apnea and Nadar or his wife would administer CPR multiple times a night, every night. Suddenly, one night, she stopped breathing and they couldn’t revive her.

New Perspective on Life

“She’s still my angel and I still think about her every single day. I’m a better person because she was in my life,” Nadar said.
Caring for Atiyah gave him a new look on life and for this reason, he said he will continue to give back to communities in her honor.

If you’re interested in holding a fundraiser at your workplace or school, email us at [email protected] Your gift combined with the gift of others helps turn pain, fear and stress into laughter, fun and joy – because a sick kid is still a kid at heart.


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Tara Millspaugh

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