Steinger, Iscoe & Greene is proud to announce that Morgan Levine 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.
When she was just 12 years old, Morgan began working with The Friendship Circle, an organization that helps children with special needs. It was at that point she became an advocate for children, but her passion for advocacy only grew as she got older. She maintained her relationship with The Friendship Circle and the families she was connected to through that organization even after she let for college.
When she attended Florida State University for her undergraduate degree, she stayed in contact with one little girl in particular: Arielle. When Arielle was 10 years old, she made her school cheerleading team, despite her cerebral palsy. When Morgan graduated and returned home, she began tutoring Arielle. They came across a section of Arielle’s workbook that described a little girl who walked with a cane. In the workbook, that little girl was described in insensitive ways, such as, “Her movements were jerky and not at all graceful.”
This description crushed Arielle and enraged Morgan, especially when it became evident that the moral of the story was that paralyzed children are not as quick as children who are not paralyzed. Morgan wrote a strong letter to the publisher of the workbook, who agreed to remove that section in future publications.
Morgan puts it this way: “Children should not be put in a situation where they feel unequal just because they may have a physical disability. Using the word ‘cripple’ is harsh and disgusting, and made Arielle feel different than her twin sister and her friends.”
No longer would a child with special needs need to see this story and feel as though they could not do things that they wanted to do. At that moment, Morgan became a voice for those who were under represented, those who did not know they needed a voice.
Though working with Arielle and other kids through The Friendship Circle began as just a Bat Mitzvah project, it quickly turned into a lifelong passion — and perhaps the longest Bat Mitzvah project in history! Even when she’s home during the Winter Break from St. Thomas University School of Law, she always makes time to reconnect with the families she’s met and volunteered for.
Morgan believes that when someone doesn’t have the ability to stand up for themselves, it’s important to do the right thing for them. She also believes our society could do a much better job of helping children like Arielle by simply having a voice and the strength to stand up for what’s right.
Though she is still early in her law school education, Morgan knows she’s on the right path to meet her goals in life. She plans to continue advocating for those who can’t advocate for themselves by proposing legislation on their behalf and giving those people a strong voice. She hopes doing so will help her live up to her lifelong goal and mantra: To be the change she wishes to see in the world.
Steinger, Iscoe & Greene is proud to support Morgan in her pursuit for a better world for those who aren’t able to advocate for themselves.