By: Dr. Sharon Torrence Jones, Founder, Dottie Rose Foundation

I often speak about my grandmother, Dottie (Mama D) and my mom as they were such huge influences in my life but I don’t mention my dad as often as I should.

You see my dad is my biggest cheerleader and is the ultimate entrepreneur, although he would probably say he is not if asked.

My parents have one of the best marriages I have ever seen. They are truly in love and are to each other their best friend. They laugh and support, fight… some, and always find time to make me,  my brother, my children and my husband feel as though we are the most important people in the world. Seeing, that many days, I want to pull my hair out with my two lovely but always on the go boys, Ethan (7) and Dylan (3). My parents unconditional support is a true blessing.

As a child, my mom was a stay at home mom but had a teaching career prior to deciding to stay at home after I was born. So my dad, with his innate ability to hustle worked three jobs to give my mom the opportunity to stay at home. Although my mom is not to go without acknowledgement, as she still worked at night for our neighbors helping to paint glass reindeer to make extra money.   As a kid, I didn’t think much about it because my brother and I would go with my dad as he cleaned the church, cut wood or even sometimes we would go on his paper delivery route. I learned at an early age how to manage time and the ethic of hard work. He never complained about working hard and now as I look back, I realize he truly enjoyed the challenge. At 68, he is still working and can keep up with the best of the young people, grey hair, new knees, and all!

My dad and I are very similar both in looks and drive, and I have found myself following in his footsteps but working several jobs to create more financial opportunities for my family and how in taking the leap as a full time entrepreneur. I call my dad to ask questions and he was the first person who encouraged me to buy my first house by myself! He said, you will figure it out and somehow I did. We sat at was is now called Lucky Lou’s but then was Fairview Grill and talked through the process and that is one of my most favorite moments with my dad. AND I am still in that same house, 13 years later.

One other factor, I need to mention is that when I was in college, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. It was so incredibly hard on my family and my brother in particular as he was there as an “only child” helping and being a rock for my dad as my mom worked her butt off. He is cancer free now but the chemo left him with numbness in his feet and hands and a ringing in his ears. But you would never know if you spoke to him now. My dad chooses to find the good in everything, a rare quality. His spirit and love have always been an inspiration to all of my family. And his is the number one man to my children.

We are so influenced by our childhood and mine was one of joy and I owe that to my parents and grandparents. I grew up with the notion I can be anything I want and that is priceless.Their support and love have given me the strength to jump into full time entrepreneurship

Thank you dad for teaching me how to create a side hustle as now I am able to live a dream I never thought possible. Everyday I am able to help kids through computer science!

To learn more about our work at Dottie Rose Foundation, go to dottierosefoundation.org