Something Awesome: Happy Mothers and Healthy Babies

What’s Awesome? Happy mothers and healthy babies! What’s not awesome? Parents of all kinds struggling to provide a basic necessity such as clean diapers for their children.

A baby uses on average 60 diapers per week, 240 diapers per month, or 2,800 diapers in their first year alone, costing approximately $850 per year. That’s equivalent to a month’s worth of groceries for a family of four!

The bottom line is that 1 in 5 Canadian families struggle to provide clean diapers for their kids. Some parents in these circumstances try to make ends meet by prolonging the use of both cloth and disposable diapers for as long as possible before changing them, which unfortunately can expose the child to many health-related risks and complications.

That’s why Kristina Prins started the Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive in 2013 as a way to raise awareness about the plight that some families face when it comes to providing something simple as clean diapers for their babies, as well as to inform the public that the Calgary Food Bank collects donations of both new and opened unused diapers for inclusion in their hampers all year long. The Food Bank relies on diaper donations from the public because their mandate dictates that any funds they raise must go towards food purchases.

The inaugural Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive received Awesome Calgary’s $1,000 micro-grant for March 2013, which helped Kristina cover some of the promotional and marketing costs needed to raise awareness of the diaper drive, the first of its kind and scale in the city. In the end, over 62,000 diapers were collected from generous Calgarians and were distributed to families in need, and it inspired four additional community health clinics to start year-round diaper collections to add to the existing three clinics that already collected diapers on behalf of the food bank.

Kristina’s back at it with this year’s edition of the Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive, hoping that Calgarians will step up and help more families in need by beating last year’s total. The flagship diaper drive event will be held again on Mother’s Day Weekend this year in partnership with The Calgary Zoo.


  • What:  Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive 2014
  • Where:  The Calgary Zoo (1300 – Zoo Road NE, near the Penguin Plunge exhibit at the North end of the Zoo)
  • When:  May 10 and 11, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

New and opened packages of disposable diapers will be accepted, in addition to monetary donations. All sizes of diapers are welcome, with a particular need for sizes 5 and 6. If you drop by the Zoo this weekend with a diaper or dollar donation, you’ll also receive a 2 for 1 admission for a future visit!

If you can’t make it to the Zoo this weekend, diaper donations are being accepted until Sunday at:

Diapers are also accepted year-round at the Calgary Food Bank, various Food Bank donation boxes at grocery stores around town, and at all of the Calgary Community Health Centres, with the exception of the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre downtown.

If you’d like to know more about the Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive or would like to help volunteer, feel free to reach Kristina on Facebook, Twitter or by email.

We hope you can help Kristina out, either with a diaper donation or two this weekend, or by spreading the word about this great endeavour with all of your friends and family. Let’s make sure that as many parents as possible in this city won’t have to go without something simple such as clean diapers for their children!

In the meantime, here are some photos from last year’s flagship Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive event, courtesy of Saudah Chan:

Something Awesome: Hi-Tech and High Fashion in Calgary

In November 2012, Awesome Calgary awarded a $1,000 micro-grant to Make Fashion, a collaboration of great minds who want to demonstrate that the convergence of Technology and Art can result in a form, fashion and community brand new to Calgary.

Fashion, jewelry and accessories designers were united with software and hardware engineers as well as technology enthusiasts to create innovative artistic pieces that demonstrated the convergence of fashion and technology.

100% of our micro-grant went towards paying for the materials needed to create the pieces, which included things such as electroluminescent wire, LEDs of various colours and an assortment of battery packs to power everything. All-in-all, the materials purchased with our grant contributed to the construction of about 10% of all of the creations.

The event was a HUGE success, putting Calgary on the map and at the forefront of wearable technology and high fashion around the world, and local creators Laura Dempsey and Angela Dale were even invited to show some of the pieces they developed for Make Fashion 2013 at the FashionWare show at this year’s International CES in Las Vegas in January.

This year, the folks behind Make Fashion are ready for their second annual gala. Entitled the Make Fashion Show & Gala 2.0, the organizers plan to go bigger and better than last year’s show, with a larger venue and by bringing in some of the top designers in this field from all over the world. Headlining the show this year are Erina Kashihara from Japan, Tricia Flanagan from Hong Kong and Rainbow Winters from the UK, alongside a plethora of Canadian designer teams.

As a special THANK YOU to everyone in The Awesome Foundation network for the support of their inaugural show last year, the organizers behind Make Fashion would like to offer everyone a special 20% discount off the cost of Advance Tickets (5% more than the early-bird special which expired on Feb 14; Yay!) for any of the various ticketing levels. To take advantage of their special offer, use this ticket link or navigate to and use promotional code LoveAwesome20 during check out to redeem. Advance tickets (while available) will be on sale up to the day before the event, so make sure to get yours before they sell out!

Make no mistake: This event is world class, and Awesome Calgary is proud to have helped kickstart such a show right here in our own backyard. If you’d like to learn more, check out our piece on the International AF Blog.

Hope to see you there!

The Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive was a huge success!

The Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive, our March 2013 winning project by Kristina Prins, took place over Mother’s Day weekend and was a complete success!  Over the weekend, 23,434 diapers were collected in support of the Calgary Food Bank to help families in need, and over 30,000 since the drive began in earnest in April.

The diaper drive culminated at the Mother’s Day weekend event at the Calgary Zoo, and here’s a photo recap of that weekend’s events from our Photographer of Awesome, Saudah Chan.

Meet Emmit, Kristina’s son and inspiration to start Calgary’s first diaper drive, raising over 30,000 diapers since April 2013.

Winning $1,000 at Awesome Calgary’s Pitch Night on March 2013, Kristina Prins launched her campaign at the Calgary Zoo for diaper donation drop offs.

With family pitching in and volunteers working many hours in shifts, Day One saw over 8,000 diapers collected.

While 8,000 diapers was impressive, Day Two of the Mother’s Day weekend Diaper Drive saw even more contributions, including a reunion with a childhood friend.

With the increased awareness of the fact that 1 in 5 families struggle to provide clean diapers for their babies, many Calgarians pitched in to support the cause.
Donating diapers is as easy as 1-2-3.
The generosity of local businesses, individuals and churches helped to raise thousands of diapers for families in need, making the diaper drive a huge success.
Day Two nearly tripled the previous day’s success, collecting over 23,000 diapers over both days for the Calgary Inter-faith Food Bank.

Helping hands make for easier work.
We did it, Calgary! See you again next year!

For more photos, check out our Flickr slideshow:

And here’s a quick message from Kristina about her experiences over the weekend:

Just because this year’s edition of the Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive is now over, it doesn’t mean you can’t still contribute! The need is ever-present and the Calgary Food Bank accepts diaper donations year-round. If you have diapers that you’d like to donate, you can drop them off at their main location or at one of the many Calgary Food Bank donation boxes located at grocery stores across the city. The Food Bank will happy accept opened boxes and unused disposable diapers.

Something Awesome: WRECK CITY

Our February 2013 winning project WRECK CITY: An Epilogue for 809 is slated to start on Friday, April 19, and things are slowly ramping up.

Entirely self-initiated and self-funded, the project involves over 100 local artists, musicians, performers and curators, and an initiative this massive could always use a bit more help.

If you’d like to help out, there are a couple of ways you can do so.

First, the WRECK CITY team needs volunteers of all sorts to help pull the event off.  They’re looking for enthusiastic and reliable people to assist with everything from gallery-sitting, tour hosts to guide audiences safely through the project, assistants to help the artists complete their work and support with cleaning up the spaces for hazard-free public interaction.  Volunteer dates range from April 13 to 27, with the majority of volunteers needed between April 19 to 27.

If you’re interested in helping out as a WRECK CITY volunteer, e-mail your expression of interest and your contact information (including e-mail address and phone number) to [email protected] by Friday, April 12 and make sure to put “RE: Volunteer for Wreck City” in the subject heading to make sure your message doesn’t get missed.

Second, if you can’t afford to volunteer your time, but can afford to throw a few dollars their way (especially in return for some really cool rewards!), check out WRECK CITY’s project page on Calgary’s culture crowd funding platform InvestYYC.  Every little bit will help make the event even more awesome, and InvestYYC will also provide matching funds for any donations totalling $100 or more.  You can also use the site to pledge time to the project as a volunteer as well.

WRECK CITY runs from April 19 to 27.  For more information, make sure to check out their website at and give them a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Plaid, Rocks, Saxophones and Affirmations

October 2012’s Awesome Calgary Thousand Dollar Thursday returned to its normal schedule of the fourth Thursday of the month, and we headed back to class as we held it at the Bissett School of Business at Mount Royal University.

The emcee for the night was Brian Singh, a Founding Trustee of AF-Calgary.  He had the privilege of hosting four super-awesome ideas, all attempting to convince the Trustees and audience why their idea deserved AF-Calgary’s November $1,000 no-strings-attached micro-grant.

Pitch 1:  Gratitude Rocks!

First up was Gratitude Rocks! by Susanne Alexander-Heaton.

Susanne’s idea was to get artists at the Calgary Drop-In Centre (who are also residents) to paint one of 26 different powerful words (Examples:  Harmony, balance, love) on approximately 450 rocks.  A pay-it-forward process, these rocks would then be given away to people who they feel most needs the words on the rock.  The person must then share their story when they give the rock away.  This way, the artists at the Drop-In Centre can see the impact they have on people with their creations.

The $1,000 would go towards paying the artists at the Drop-In Centre directly for their time in painting the rocks as well as for materials and supplies to pull off the project.

Pitch 2:  I am. We are. We will.

Second was I am. We are. We will. by Kaitilin Roth.

An enthusiastic Calgarian herself, Kaitlin’s idea is to create a wall of affirmations from fellow Calgarians highlighting who they are as a person, who they are as a group of Calgarians, and what they will do as a city to continue in their Awesomeness.

Three large canvases would be decoupaged with written affirmations, as well as with various photos taken around the city of Calgarians in action, serving their fellow Calgarians through various AWESOME acts of humanity.  Finally, a mirror would be placed in the middle of each canvas so that no matter what you look at, your awesome self will be reflected as you contemplate on how you have and can serve Calgary better.

The majority of the $1,000 would be used to pay for the materials needed to pull of the project.  Any leftover money would go towards light refreshments and other goodies to be given away at the official Hanging Ceremony where the completed project will be displayed.

Kaitlin would love for the project to be ultimately displayed at City Hall or one of the universities, and would aim to have the project completed by July 2013.

Pitch 3:   A Song for Westwinds

Third was A Song for Westwinds by the Westwinds Music Society, accompanied by a lovely performance from one of their saxophonists.

This year is the society’s 25th anniversary, and they hoped to commission pianist Matt Harris to write a piece of music to commemorate the special occasion.  The piece would be premiered with a Big Band Dinner Dance at the end of the year that would be open to the public to enjoy.  The piece of music would be kept in the society’s music library, and possibly made available to school and community bands everywhere.

The $1,000 would go solely towards the commissioning of the piece.

Pitch 4:  The 2nd Annual Log Driver’s Waltz Gala – A Plaid Party!

Last was The 2nd Annual Log Driver’s Waltz Gala:  A Plaid Party! by Karilynn Thompson on behalf of the GIRAF Animation Festival.

A Plaid Party! is a wholesome plaid-themed party hearkening to the days of National Film Board animations on CBC television in the 1960s and on.  The Log Driver’s Waltz Gala is a family-friendly event featuring GIANT retro-animations projected onto the five-storey tall side of the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, along with fire-pits, lots of free hot chocolate, animation workshops, DJs, food trucks and more.

The name of the gala was inspired by the famous piece of Canadiana, Log Driver’s Waltz, an animated short by the NFB created in 1979.

The $1,000 would be used towards helping to pay for the projection equipment needed to run the event.  That way, Karilynn would be able to ensure that the event could be kept at low-cost to no cost for the public to attend.

And the Winner is…

AF-Calgary’s October 2012 no-strings-attached $1,000 micro-grant went to Karilynn Thompson and her Plaid Party.  Congratulations, Karilynn!

This month, each of our AF-Calgary Top4 Finalists received an Awesome Foundation – Calgary T-shirt as well as a $250 gift certificate from Gilmour Ph
that the finalists can use towards highlighting or showcasing all of their awesomeness, in whatever form it takes.

Thank you to Mount Royal University for allowing us to host our event on campus.

Also, a BIG Thank You and heartfelt thanks and appreciation to ING Direct for sponsoring our latest batch of AF-Calgary T-shirts.  The only way you can get one is if you’re a Top4 Finalist or a Trustee/Volunteer with Awesome Calgary, so they’re super-extra limited edition.

If you’d like to relive the night’s events as they happened, check out our recap on Storify.

And with that, we look forward to our FINAL Awesome Calgary Thousand Dollar Thursday event of 2012, being held in partnership with the Calgary Public Library and their One Book, One Calgary program on Thursday, November 22.  For more details, see here, and if you’re coming, make sure to RSVP on Eventbrite, Facebook or Yelp!

Photo Copyrights:  Brett Gilmour / Eleni Tsaprailis

This is how The Awesome Foundation works

Ever wonder what it is we do exactly here at Awesome Foundation – Calgary or how it all works?

Check out this super-awesome piece that recently aired in the Arts & Culture portion of TELUS Optik Local’s myCalgary program, featuring August 2011 AF-Calgary Fellow (and now current AF-Calgary Trustee of Awesome) Matthew Hamel with his YYC Mobile Movies project, and AF-Calgary Founder Lori Stewart shot during the summer of 2012.  It sums it up quite nicely!

The full myCalgary episode features Calgary kayakers on the Harvie Passage, a primer on Pickleball and much more!  You can check it out at any time on Optik Video-on-Demand or here.

A BIG Thank You to Laura O’Grady from Spotlight Productions for taking time out of her day to do this piece on us.

Finally, we’re still taking submissions for October’s $1,000 no-strings-attached prize.  If you’d like to submit an Awesome Idea for consideration, fill out this handy-dandy web form!  The deadline for October submissions is Wednesday, October 10 at 11:59 p.m.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

CLOUD debuts to tremendous success!

Last Saturday, AF-Calgary’s August 2012 winners Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett’s CLOUD made its appearance at Calgary’s first-ever Nuit Blanche festival.

Throughout the eight-hours of the festival, which ran from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., Calgarians from all over were pulling on the rain shower of metal cords turning lights on and off creating a simulation of an electrical cloud.

Popular with the crowd, even a brief period of rain didn’t detract from the interest of festival-goers as they went right back to it once the rain stopped.

Here’s a taste of what happened that night, courtesy of Twitter:

Congratulations, Caitlind and Wayne on pulling off such an AWESOME project!  To learn more about the CLOUD project, check out their website.

“Buy Local” Episode 2 by Ashleigh Ahern is now up!

June 2012 AF-Calgary Fellow Ashleigh Ahern is back with Episode 2 of her Buying Local video series.

Ashleigh won Awesome Calgary’s June 2012 grant to create a video series that would give exposure and create public awareness of local businesses that are green and sustainable by shining a spotlight on them and profiling them on the web.

Today, Ashleigh speaks with Rod from Leaf and Lyre about the SPIN (Small Plot INtensive) method of farming.

Check it out!

AudioMob YYC 2: The Headphones Strike Back!

The next iteration of May 2011 AF-Calgary Fellow Kiran Somanchi’s AudioMob YYC is back this month as AudioMob YYC 2: The Headphones Strike Back is almost upon us!

AudioMob YYC was heavily inspired by New York’s ImprovEverywhere prank collective and was based off of their highly popular MP3 Experiments where members of the public were encouraged to download an MP3 file with audio instructions prior to meeting at a pre-defined place and time where they would then all activate the instructions simultaneously and follow them wherever they led.  The effect being that those who weren’t involved would have absolutely no idea why massive amounts of people were moving and doing seemingly random things in a coordinated manner, and those who were involved would get to be a part of one GIANT (and fun!) in-joke.

Billed as “one part flash mob, one part decentralized dance party and one part Jane’s Walk,” Kiran’s AudioMob YYC project aimed to bring a similar experience to Calgarians, while at the same time helping to promote local Calgary musicians by featuring their works in the soundtrack, educating participants on local culture and landmarks, and showing everyone in general that Calgary truly is a cool, hip and happening place to be.

The first AudioMob YYC took place last August with hundreds of Calgarians taking part.  Here’s a taste of what happened:

The second AudioMob YYC is set to take place later this month and everyone’s invited!  Here’s how it works:

  1. Download the mp3 file from starting five days prior to the event and load it into a mobile audio device.
  2. Sychronize your iPods, iPhones, Androids and wrist watches to the clock on the website.
  3. Show up at the starting location on the specified day and blend into the surroundings.
  4. At 5:15 p.m., hit play on your audio player and follow the instructions!

This year’s AudioMob YYC will take place on Friday, August 24 at 5 p.m. and will take approximately 45 minutes to complete.  The secret meeting place is in downtown Calgary at Courthouse Park, which lies to the north of the 4th street LRT station next to the old courthouse (4th Street and 6th Avenue SW).

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  • What:  AudioMob YYC 2: The Headphones Strike Back!
  • Where:  Courthouse Park (along 4th Street and 6th Avenue SW)
  • When:  Friday, August 24, 2012 at 5 p.m.
  • RSVP:  Facebook

With promises of special guests and other surprises, this year’s AudioMob YYC looks to be more awesome than last year’s, so help spread the word!  Tell your friends and family, keep an eye on the AudioMob YYC Twitter and Facebook accounts for continuing details, grab the MP3 file from the AudioMob YYC website when it’s available, and join Kiran and many other Calgarians on Friday, August 24 for all the fun, nay, AWESOMENESS!

YYC Mobile Movie is BACK!

August 2011’s AF-Calgary Fellow Matt Hamel and winning project YYC Mobile Movie is back again this year with a FREE outdoor showing of The Goonies on the side of the historic Simmons Building in Calgary’s East Village.

Timed to coincide with this year’s Cyclepalooza, this month’s free viewing of The Goonies will take place on Saturday, June 30 after the East Village Glow & Show, where Calgarians are encouraged to show up at 9 p.m. to ride their bikes along the RiverWalk to the Peace Bridge and back again, armed with glow sticks and more, and then stick around for the free movie.

Like last year’s free outdoor viewing of Casablanca, The Goonies will be projected onto the side of the Simmons Building right after the Glow & Show, but will be proceeded first by the premiere of a 15 minute short by our friends over at Hidden Story Productions (and created by AF-Calgary’s September 2011 co-winner Chris Hsuing) entitled Powered by the People, which will be entirely powered by bicycle generation.  It’s anticipated that everything should begin around 10 p.m.

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So bring your bike, a blanket and a lawn chair and enjoy another FREE movie under the stars courtesy of Matt Hamel’s YYC Mobile Movie.

And a reminder:  This month’s Awesome Calgary Thousand Dollar Thursday takes place this Thursday, June 28 at Melrose Bar & Grill.  Doors open at 6 p.m. and we hope to see you there!