Joel and Denise Golden Merit Award in Child Advocacy

The Joel and Denise Golden Merit Award in Child Advocacy is presented annually to University of San Diego School of Law students who are already using their legal skills to impact the lives of children in foster care. Students are eligible for the award at the conclusion of their second year of law school study. This award seeks to encourage students to work on behalf of foster children, thus enabling the foster children of San Diego to benefit from the innovative efforts of young legal advocates.

This award was created by a former USD law student who specialized in child advocacy and benefited from the opportunities offered by the Children’s Advocacy Institute. The award is named in honor of the student’s parents: Joel, a gifted and generous attorney who works to vindicate civil rights, and Denise, a tireless child advocate and exceptional adolescent therapist. Most importantly, both are role models of unconditional love and support, which every child deserves.

The following USD law students are past recipients of the Joel and Denise Golden Merit Award in Child Advocacy:


  • Hala Alskaf 


  • Maryam Rastegar 


  • Holly McCord


  • Georgia Gebhardt


  • Justine Elgas


  • Brenden Shaw


  • Julia Davis


  • Rebecca Wu


  • Christopher Mank


  • Kirsten Widner


  • Johanna Schonfield
  • Kerrie Taylor
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Children's Advocacy Institute
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110
Phone: (619) 260-4806
Fax: (619) 260-4753

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