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 MakeFashion.ca 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!

Join us on Awesome Day in Canada as we support the community of Mission!

Awesome Day in Canada

Friends of Awesome, due to the recent flooding in the Calgary area, Awesome Foundation – Calgary will be postponing our June Pitch Night on 06/27 to focus our efforts on helping Calgarians to rebuild. 

For Awesome Day in Canada, we’ll be based in the SW community of Mission and will be supporting residents there in two ways:

First, we’ll be complementing the Volunteer Recruitment tent set up in the parking lot of the Mission Safeway location with our very own Relaxation Tent. It’s going to be a hot day tomorrow, so we’ll be providing a shaded place where people can rest up after cleaning up various buildings and where people can sit and enjoy the free food that a variety of vendors around Mission are providing to volunteers, first responders and flood victims, rather than having to sit on the sidewalk. We’ll also have a cell phone charging station set up where people who need a little more juice for their phones can plug in, which is important as much of the neighbourhood is still without power. We may have other amenities as well. Stay tuned!

Second, as Mission is still in desperate need of volunteers, we’ll be supporting their recruitment efforts by helping to promote the need throughout the day and by recruiting people for Task Force Awesome who will be a crack team of Awesome Volunteers who’ll help people in need to clean up and rebuild their homes. Grab a limited edition Awesome Calgary button and get out there and show your civic pride.

Everyone’s invited, so please, if you’re a supporter of our normal Awesome Calgary events, please come join us any time on 06/27 as we help support the residents of Mission during this difficult time. Bring your friends!

  • What: Join Task Force Awesome as Awesome Calgary supports the community of Mission
  • Where: Parking lot of the Mission Safeway (524 Elbow Drive SW)
  • When: Thursday, June 27, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • RSVP: Facebook
  • Hashtag: #AWEyyc

ADIC-AFCGY-Partners

Keep Calm & Stay Awesome! Or: How you can help with the #yycflood efforts

Looks like the folks over at Awful Calgary have declared war on Mother Nature due to the recent flood.

While it PAINS us to agree with them on anything, no one can deny the fact that recent events in our area aren’t just Awful, they’re absolutely Horrible.

Many people from within Calgary and outside of town are wondering how they can help. It’s a good question, and in fact, there are many ways!

For those of you out of town or wishing to donate monetary funds, you can do so through the Canadian Red Cross’ special Alberta Floods Fund here:

http://www.redcross.ca/donate/donate-online/donate-to-the-alberta-floods

They accept PayPal too, so you can donate online through credit cards, PayPal balance or even through your bank account if you have that set up. You can also use prepaid credit cards or gift cards that you can purchase from many stores. They work fantastic, although some prepaid gift cards require you to register a valid address first before they can be used for online purchases.

If you’d like a bit more control and granularity over where your dollars go, our friend Gena Rotstein over at Place2Give.com has set up a special page where you can choose what organizations receive your donation. It’s especially handy because some of those organizations aren’t equipped to accept online donations through their websites at this time.

http://www.place2give.com/CalgaryFlood.html

Note that Place2Give applies a credit card processing fee of 3.9% to all transactions, which will be added to your donation total.

Keep an eye on Volunteer Calgary’s blog for organizations looking for items to be donated:

http://volunteercalgary.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/calgary-flood-donation-drop-off-points-and-wish-lists/

It’s being constantly updated as new requests for items from various organizations come in.

If you’re interested in helping defy the odds to pull off The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth in time and on schedule for the citizens of Calgary and the rest of the world, keep an eye on the Calgary Stampede’s special web page here for updates and for when a general request for assistance from the community goes out:

http://calgarystampede.com/waterissue

If you’ve got specialized equipment or skills that you’d like to donate to help with the recovery efforts, you can contact the City directly by sending an email to [email protected]. They’re starting to reach out to people for that particular need, but only through that email address.

If you’re looking for opportunities to help clean up or restore our city, keep an eye on the Calgary Clean Up Facebook page organized by one of our friends (as well as former and Founding Awesome Calgary Trustee) Brian Singh, or register yourselves as a volunteer at YYC Helps and you’ll be the first to know when opportunities arise or when the general call for help goes out. They’ll be coordinating with the City to ensure that the grassroots community recovery initiatives complement the official overall City efforts as well.

http://yychelps.ca

You can also register as a volunteer with Samaritan’s Purse, which is useful if you’d like to help with cleanup efforts outside of the city of Calgary:

https://secure.samaritan.ca/donation/volunteer/

Or you can now register yourselves directly with the City as a volunteer!

The City of Calgary has set up a Volunteer Centre to bring able hands and recovery needs together.

Simply register your availability. Currently, they are not looking for specific skill sets (i.e. plumbers, electricians, etc). They are in need of generalists.

Volunteers can register as individuals or groups. To register, send an email with the following information to [email protected]:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Availability (For example, if you’re available only between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on any day but Tuesday, include that information in your email. But please, keep it simple!)

Volunteers can also register by calling any of the following numbers:

  • 587-998-7817
  • 587-998-7835
  • 587-998-7837
  • 587-998-7832

That’s it for now. Keep an eye on The City of Calgary Twitter account at @cityofcalgary and the Calgary City News Blog for all the latest updates.

In the meantime, Stay Safe, Keep Calm and Stay Awesome! We’ll get through this together.

Something Awesome: Nerf’ing your friends

Picture this:  You’re walking down the street at night after a long day at work. You missed dinner. Your boss made you stay extra late and all you want to do is kick back and relax on the couch. Maybe have a cup of cocoa. Maybe watch some TV. Just a normal, quiet evening before bed.

The street is deserted. You’re about halfway home. You’re still feeling a bit peckish. There’s a convenience store about four blocks to your right. Takes you out of the way, but the hunger. Oh, the hunger.

You decide to take the detour. That’s what convenience stores are for, right? The convenience. As you round the corner, you feel…something. Something that’s not quite right.

You look around. No one there. You shrug it off. You’re exhausted. Maybe a little paranoid. It’s getting late, right? The moon is out. Must be a trick of the lighting.

You keep walking, in anticipation of the hot dogs and giant cup of soda you’re about to get.

Then, all of a sudden, three guys jump out of a car in front of you. Two more people approach you from behind. You didn’t notice them at first, but your senses knew. You just never trust your gut.

The light is dim. You can barely make them out, but they begin walking ominously towards you. They start to reach into their coats for something. This is bad. Five on one. Crap odds no matter how you look at it.

“This is Calgary,” you mutter to yourself. “This kind of stuff isn’t supposed to happen here.”

As they aim their weapons at you, you choose to stand your ground. You’re not giving up without a fight. Besides, you’re tired, you’re still hungry and that convenience store is just within sight.

As the incoming projectiles come upon you, you whip out your Lightsaber and use your Padawan training to deflect everything. Then, as the aggressors try to reload, in an homage to The Matrix that would make Neo proud, you quickly sheath your Lightsaber, whip out your twin Nerf guns from under your coat and start showing these guys who’s boss.

That, in a nutshell, is Dartwars.

  • What:  Dartwars Calgary 2013
  • Where:  The entire City of Calgary
  • When:  June 1 – 30, 2013

If you’ve ever wanted to play at secret agent, then Dartwars Calgary is for you. An alternate-reality game, Dartwars is a month-long Nerf dart gun fight that takes place all over the city. Participants each get three lives and try to get points by eliminating other players. If a player scores a hit, they get a point and the other guy loses a life. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins.

Lightsabers are used in the event of melee combat, to settle disputes, or to block incoming Nerf projectiles.

There are safe zones. Places of employment, public transit and C-Train platforms, schools and your home are off-limits. Everything else in the city is fair game.

There are a bunch of other rules to ensure that this remains a fun and safe game for all. For the full list, check out the Dartwars Calgary website.

Dartwars Calgary 2013 was an Awesome Calgary Top4 Finalist in April 2013, and there’s still plenty of room available for people who’d like to sign up to play.

If you’re interested in signing up or learning more, the organizers are holding a Meet-and-Greet and Q&A on the final day of signups, Sunday, May 26. They’ll answer any questions you have, and you can meet some of the potential participants that’ll be playing all month long.

  • What:  Dartwars Calgary Meet-and-Greet, Q&A and the Final chance to Sign Up!
  • Where: Dickens Pub (1000 – 9 Avenue SW)
  • When: Sunday, May 26 at 7 p.m.
  • RSVP:  Facebook

To learn more, check out Dartwars.ca or follow them on Facebook or Twitter at @DartWarsCalgary.

Something Awesome: Baby Bottoms!

What’s awesome? Cute, bubbly, happy and healthy babies!

What’s not awesome? Babies that are forced to spend extended periods of time in soiled diapers because no clean ones are available.

1 in 5 Canadian mothers struggle to provide clean diapers for their children. For families who struggle financially to make ends meet, they have to sacrifice necessities in order to afford new diapers, and the average baby will use 2,800 diapers in their first year alone, costing an average of $850. Furthermore, daycare facilities often will not accept children without a full day’s supply of disposable diapers, which further increases the pressure on families in need.

Our March 2013 AF-Calgary Fellow Kristina Prins aims to change that and bring awareness to the need with her Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive.

  • What:  The Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive
  • Where:  North end of the Calgary Zoo (by the Penguin Plunge)
  • When:  Saturday and Sunday May 11 and 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A self-funded project from Kristina’s own pockets, she’s teaming up with the Calgary Zoo to provide a diaper drop off this Mother’s Day weekend in support of the Calgary Food Bank, who distributes a limited supply of diapers in hampers to families in need but is unable to spend any money on purchasing new ones as their mandate dictates that any funding has to go towards food. Citizens can drop off dollars or diapers at the zoo this weekend in exchange for a 2-for-1 admission for a future visit to the zoo.

All sizes of disposable diapers are needed, particularly sizes 5 and 6, and new or opened packages will be accepted.

If you can’t make it down to the Zoo this weekend, donations will also be accepted year-round at the Calgary Food Bank, Food Bank donation stations at various supermarkets around town, and at all Community Health Centres (Shaganappi, South and North West Community Centres have year round collections).

Other locations may accept diapers throughout the year as well. For all the latest, follow Kristina’s project on Facebook and Twitter, or if you’d like to learn more or how to organize a diaper drive of your own, send her a message by email.

So help a family in need this Mother’s Day weekend by donating some dollars or a diaper or two to the Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive!

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 wreckcity.wordpress.com and give them a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Something Awesome: Speed Gaming!

Who needs golf when you have board games?

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a board game nerd myself.  So when I found out that Awesome Foundation – Ottawa had funded a group back in January who wanted to throw Speed Gaming events in their city, not only did I think “Wow, that’s Awesome!” but I also figured that it was such a super-simple idea, that Calgary should have some of these events as well.

I searched on Google, but couldn’t find anything resembling the like in Calgary.  Mind you, I’m also a bit lazy so I didn’t search too hard, but all the same, I figured that it wouldn’t be too hard to pull off a version of it here (sans $1,000 micro-grant).  Thankfully, two of my fellow Awesome Calgary Trustees (and self-professed board game nerds themselves), Elizabeth Buchanan and Vanessa Mactavish, agreed with me and decided to help me host one.

So with that in mind, we’d like to cordially invite you to our take on a Speed Gaming event this Sunday, April 7 at Gamer Sunday at Dickens Pub (and it’s completely FREE!).


View Larger Map

If you didn’t know, every Sunday, the entirety of Dickens is open to gaming of all kinds.  Video, tabletop, board, card, you name it.  Bring your own or there are house games behind the bar that you can borrow to play.  They even have a set of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.  Seriously, it’s an awesome way to spend your Sundays.

How it’ll work:  There’ll be three 30 minute gaming sessions scheduled throughout the afternoon.  The schedule is as follows:

  • 1:30 – Registration. Grab a drink, get comfortable.
  • 2:00 – First Session begins with intros/icebreaker/rules.
  • 2:15 – Start your game!
  • 2:45 – End game. Break/grab a drink/chat.
  • 3:00 – Second Session begins with intros/icebreaker/rules.
  • 3:15 – Start your game!
  • 3:45 – End game. Break/grab a drink/chat.
  • 4:00 – Last Session begins with intros/icebreaker/rules.
  • 4:15 – Start your game!
  • 4:45 – End game.
  • 5:00 – Wrap Up. Feel free to hang out and play more games with some friends new and old.

Everyone will be randomly assigned to a table.  After an icebreaker and a brief introduction of the game at hand, people will have 30 minutes to play. Once done, the cycle repeats.

The list of games we’ll be playing is as follows (but sadly, no Baywatch):

All of the games above were selected because they force people to interact with each other, often in hilarious ways.  And what better way to meet new people than everyone making fools of themselves?  Trust me, it works.  By the end of the ordeal, everyone can be considered comrades in arms.

Liz, Vanessa and myself will also be holding informal Awesome Hours during our event (they’re like Office Hours, but more Awesome) where you can talk to us and learn more about The Awesome Foundation, what we’re all about, and about the various Volunteer and Trustee opportunities that we have available.

We’re also looking to recruit a batch of new Trustees and Volunteers to help us kick off Year Three here at AF-Calgary, so if you’re interested in joining up or learning more, then please do come chat with us (and play with us!).  And if you can’t make it down, feel free to fill out our handy-dandy application form and one of our Ninjas of Awesome will get back to you.

After our event, feel free to stick around and continue playing with all the cool people you’ll have met.  The pub is open to gaming until closing (in fact, a group of friends and I have closed out the bar a couple of times).

Hope to see you out this Sunday, and GAME ON!

Something Awesome: The Charity App Challenge!

Scroll, click, code. In the computer world that’s akin to ready, set, go.  Over two-days in February that’s exactly what Calgary software developers will be doing to help create mobile apps that benefit Calgary charities.

We’re proud to announce that Awesome Foundation – Calgary is working with the Calgary Herald, Digital Alberta and Place2Give to find out what Calgary’s IT talent can do to help 12 Awesome Calgary charities with a two-day Hack-a-thon taking place on Saturday, February 2 through Sunday, February 3, 2013 at the Calgary Herald as part of the Charity App Challenge.

While 48 hours isn’t a lot of time to develop a fully-functional gold release, the winning team will receive a chance to work with the charities to further develop and refine their apps with a $37,000 contract to be awarded after the Hack-a-thon on Sunday evening.

If you or someone you know is up to the challenge, there’s still time and room to get involved, whether as an app developer, a volunteer or as a sponsor.

If you’re an app developer or part of a team and wish to enter the Charity App Challenge, fill out the entry form here.

If you’re interested in helping out as a volunteer, fill out this form.

If you’re on Twitter and just want to help spread the word, you can keep up with the developers at either @YYCCharityHack or using the hashtag #Hack4Good.

For more information, check out the Calgary Herald website or contact Ann Huskinson, Calgary Herald Christmas Fund Manager at [email protected].

Something Awesome: Laughs, Laughs and more Laughs!

Center Stage

You may think this is funny, but when it comes to comedy, Calgary is no laughing matter…

…okay, that was was lame.  But you can’t blame a guy for trying!

Actually, Calgary has a lot to be proud of when it comes to the world of comedy.  Many famous comedians and improvisationalists have cut their teeth here in Calgary and were able to propel themselves into successful careers!

Some examples:

Calgary has a lot to be proud of when it comes to contributions to the comedy industry, but the unfortunate thing is that most people here outside of that industry might not even know it.

The brand-new YYComedy Festival, running September 24-30 in various venues around the city, aims to change that and it’s part of the reason why the YYComedy Festival was chosen to be a Top4 Finalist here at AF-Calgary in August 2012.

Conceived by Cory Mack, Harry Doupe and James Sutherland, the inaugural YYComedy Festival, coinciding with the 35th anniversary of Loose Moose Theatre and the 25th anniversary of Yuk Yuk’s, hopes to showcase Calgary’s best locally grown talent and those with a Calgary connection in the comedic field, paying tribute to the past, present and future of Calgary comedy.

And that’s definitely Something Awesome.

Tickets as well as more information for the festival including a list of performers and show schedules are available at yycomedy.ca.  For more information on the festival itself, check out these excellent articles by FFWD Weekly and the Calgary Herald.

Something Awesome: Live Art Battles

Picture this:  Two artists.  One Wheel of Doomb.  One random idea.  Two hours to make art.  That, in a nutshell, is what happens every Wednesday evening at the Gorilla House.

Dubbed Gorilla House LIVE ART, these are live art battles where two artists have two hours to create a piece of art from a random idea, which then gets auctioned off at the end of the night to any in attendance that evening.

The brainchild of Rich Théroux, Awesome Calgary Top4 Finalist for August 2012, these battles are open to the public and free to attend.  You can wander around the gallery to view other exhibits as the battle takes place, or stay and watch and be a part of the creative process.

To get a taste of what the Gorilla House LIVE ART experience is like, the video above tells you exactly what the concept of an Art Battle is, and the videos below show highlights from the summer and highlights from the art battle that took place on Wednesday, August 15.

  • What:  Gorilla House LIVE ART
  • Where:  Gorilla House Studios (1503 – 15 Avenue SW)
  • When:  Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

You can check out more Gorilla House LIVE ART videos on their YouTube channel and follow them on their Facebook page to learn more.

So if you’re looking for a place to monkey around, do yourself a favour and check out the awesomeness that happens every Wednesday evening at the Gorilla House!