Julie Sparks, a mother of three, realtor and third-year student at the William S. Richardson School of Law at University of Hawaii at Manoa, has been named 2014 Hawaii Mother of the Year.
Sparks will be honored at a banquet on Saturday, March 29, at the Hale Koa Hotel Banyan Tree Showroom. In April, she will join honorees from other states for the national American Mother of the Year competition in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
A divorcee and single mom who remarried five years ago, Sparks juggles a full-time job as a realtor, plus a full-time load of law school courses and spends one day a week on a law school externship with Sen. Sam Slom’s Minority Research Office at the state legislature.
Sparks and her family also sponsor five children through Compassion International. Her teenage daughter met two of them last summer during a mission trip with their church to the Philippines. Additionally, Sparks has done pro bono work at Family Court for a program that deals with child welfare.
Sparks has a 22-year-old stepdaughter, who is married and living on the mainland, a 19-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter.
The Hawaii Mother of the Year competition is sponsored by American Mothers Inc., Hawaii Association. Sparks was nominated for the honor by a friend and filled out the application because of her friend’s encouragement. The local chapter personally interviewed nominees.
One of the things Sparks told her interviewer was simple: “I think my generation was sold a bill of goods, that you’re not very valuable if you’re just raising kids,” she said. “But the most important job you can do is to make sure you’re raising good people, because it affects everyone for the future.”