Innovators of the Week: Day1Dads Impact Foundation Provides Support for Fathers

Since 2021, Curtis Alexander and Steve Mix have raised funds for mental health services for dads while creating a community of fathers supporting each other.

From L-R: Steve Mix and Curtis Alexander, co-founders of Day1Dads Impact Foundation. Photo courtesy of Day1Dads.

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Long-time friends Curtis Alexander and Steve Mix founded the Day1Dads Impact Foundation after trying to connect during pandemic restrictions.

“We had to change our conversation from ‘Hey, let’s meet up for a drink on this patio,’ to ‘Hey man, how you doing?’” says Alexander.

The duo initially tried their hand at podcasting, discussing the challenges of fatherhood, but one interviewee propelled them to move beyond conversation.

“We had one dad who emailed us the day before the recording and he said, ‘Hey man, I don’t feel like I’m the dad I want to be, I’m not present [as] the husband I want to be and I don’t want to glorify it and make something up,’” says Alexander.

A few months later, Day1Dads was formed to create a community of dads who could rely on each other for help, advice and encouragement, while highlighting mental health resources.

The first Day1Dad fundraising event, a golf tournament in 2021, was attended by a plethora of Calgary men and fathers. It garnered more than 45 sponsors and raised more than $35,000 for Woods Homes, a mental health centre providing treatment and support for children, young people, adults and families. Since then, Day1Dads has hosted three additional tournaments, raising tens of thousands of dollars for mental health organizations.

“It’s an opportunity to listen to different individuals speak about mental health,” says Alexander. “The impact was really cool, to watch grown men who are in their late 50s and 60s who come back teary-eyed and crying [saying], ‘I’ve never had the opportunity to create a brave space for me to talk about my struggles.’”

This year, Day1Dads launched the Hey Dad Care Card, partnering with companies like Calgary Surge to hand them out for free at games. It’s also available for free on the Day1Dads website. The care card gives cardholders access to support from home, like BetterHelp, an online therapy organization that partners with Day1Dads to provide 30 days of free therapy.

Learn more about the people and organizations moving Calgary forward with Avenue's Innovation Newsletter.

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