Dusty Sparrow Reed | A Champion of Children

DustySparrowReed

Children’s Advocate, Trial Attorney
39 | Married | 3 children

Dusty Sparrow Reed is in a good place professionally and personally. So that this good reaches others, she works to make a difference as an attorney and school-board candidate, crediting her humble beginnings with keeping her motivated. She explains, “As a product of unmarried, teenaged parents, I grew up on an Indiana farm in a hardworking, blue-collar family of farmers, plant employees, construction workers, and veterans. I began working at age 12.” The quality, supportive schooling she received, she says, shaped her life and inspired her school-board candidacy: “Loudoun County Public Schools provide a well-rounded education for the ‘typical child,’ but I want to take LCPS to another level, to inspire diverse groups of children by engaging them and catapulting them to their potential.” She supports programs that enhance education for children who “don’t fit the traditional mold: children with disabilities, children with intellectual gifts and talents, children who are economically disadvantaged, minority children, and English-language learners.”

DustySparrowReedDescribe what you do for a living:
I’m a trial attorney by trade and child advocate at heart. My most fulfilling work is advocating for at-risk children, such as those whose parents are divorcing, who are bullied by a sibling, who have learning disabilities, or who are not engaged in school. I’m driven by removing barriers and helping children realize their full potential.

Who is the most influential person in your life and why?
My mom. She had me when she was 17, so in many ways, we grew up together. She was a single mom for much of my childhood and worked as a legal secretary. She took me to her work on Saturdays and told me early on that I’d be a great lawyer. More significantly, she’s the most selfless woman I know, helping old people, poor people, people in prison, and people without other people. She set the example for how to make the world better for others, one person at a time.

Who is your role model and why?
Jesus. He was patient, kind, and treated everyone with respect and dignity—even those who were outcasts of society. Jesus was principled and held people accountable for wrongdoings, but remained full of unconditional love. And because we all make mistakes, we need a dose of unconditional love in what can be a very unforgiving world.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” That’s advice worth living by.

What book has most influenced you?
“A Thousand Splendid Suns.” It illuminates the resilience of Afghani women and is both heartbreaking and inspirational. I gained compassion for women in countries where they don’t have some of the opportunities (or protections) we have here in America—women who are abused, exploited, or simply ignored. I gained a renewed respect for men who love and cherish their wives, daughters, and mothers. It made me more grateful to be an American woman.

What advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
Never say never. I’ve said it too often, yet “never” is where I’ve consistently found abundance and happiness.

What do you do in your spare time?
I spend time with my husband, Brian, a police officer. He’s amazingly supportive, patient, and kind, never critical or angry. He always has my back, tackling household stuff or driving the kids to activities while I work or even just rest. He’s easygoing and helps me relax, be playful, and enjoy the simplicities of life. Especially wine.

What is the biggest global challenge facing our world today?
Exhausting our natural resources and degrading the environment to the point of no return. I’m concerned for our children and grandchildren, uncertain of what this world will be able to offer to humanity in 50-100 years.

If you weren’t in your current career, what would you be doing?
A life coach. I love helping people identify their goals—in their careers, love lives, or overall happiness—and formulating a plan to overcome hurdles. I like being that cheerleader who encourages people to go for it.

What is your greatest accomplishment and why?
I’ve never accomplished anything alone or without God’s grace and will. I feel completely blessed in life and it’s not because I’ve always made good decisions. For example, I failed in my first marriage, and divorce put the lives of my three children at risk. By the grace of God, my ex-husband and I are great friends, supporters, and allies. We live in the same neighborhood, talk every day, and we celebrate holidays and birthdays together as family. For my children, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. If I was a part of any great accomplishment, that would be it.

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