Steinger, Greene & Feiner is proud to announce that Jessica Beugen has been awarded the Scholarship for Child Advocates for the Spring Semester of 2018. This scholarship, worth $1,000, is reserved for law school students who have dedicated at least part of their lives to helping and advocating for children who have been victims of abuse.
Jessica grew up in a situation no child should have to endure. Though she faced turmoil at home, she found a consistent voice she could count on: Mrs. Baskin, her fourth grade teacher. Mrs. Baskin inspired Jessica to be an advocate for children who are in abusive homes.
After her home life was settled, Jessica was able to turn her focus to education. She graduated at the top of her class in high school, accumulating two years’ worth of college credits, and co-founded a nationally-recognized volunteer club called Help Everyone Reach Out.
In some ways, Jessica has become a “Mrs. Baskin.” As soon as she was of the eligible age, Jessica became the youngest Guardian ad Litem in Palm Beach County, Florida. She has become the strong, consistent voice for suffering child in the same way Mrs. Baskin was for her.
Even when she was in college at Lynn University and was working three jobs, Jessica continued her work as a Guardian ad Litem whenever she could. She also spent a summer abroad working with the Jaffa Institute, and non-profit organization specializing in helping kids both educationally and therapeutically from underprivileged families.
These experiences as a Guardian ad Litem and working with the Jaffa Institute have helped shape Jessica’s worldviews, especially when it comes to advocating for children who can’t advocate for themselves. She believes one of the biggest issues state child protective services have is a lack of efficiency.
“They need to get the resources they need in a more streamlined way,” she says. “Jaffa offered so many resources to children in need. The state system needs to be modeled after that. Often, children coming out of abusive homes can’t find success in life because of this lack of resources.”
Jessica is currently attending the Fredric G. Levin School of Law at the University of Florida. There, she’s met Professor Cohn who is a major benefactor for the Jaffa Institute. The Jewish Federation of North and Central Florida recently held a fundraiser for the organization, where Jessica was asked to speak. She says she looks forward to working with him more in the future.
Though she is busy with school and work, Jessica still makes time to be an advocate for children. In fact, on her drive up from Miami to Gainesville for the first week of law school, she stopped by the local Guardian ad Litem office, where she took on a case involving a 20-day-old baby. This dedication to what she’s passionate about could be attributed to her father, whom Jessica calls her biggest inspiration. Though he worked full-time running his own business, she knew she could always count on him to take care of her and have all the answers.
“Everyone can find time to give back and be involved with issues they’re passionate about. Time isn’t the issue; people can always make time for their priorities.” Jessica explained. She continued by saying, “It’s imperative to prioritize giving back, especially if you’re in a position to give back.”
Steinger, Greene & Feiner is honored to help Jessica on her way to being an attorney who promotes social justice and has a positive impact in the lives of children.