Rolling Out

Dope Dads CEO Rob Owens wants to help lonely fathers feel special

Rob Owens knows what it feels like to be alone, so he created Dope Dads to build community

Rob Owens felt as if he was alone during his daughter‘s early years in the world. With no solidified father figure, Owens took matters into his own hands and created Dope Dads, an organization dedicated to helping dads who are “Doing Our Part Everyday.” Owens has activities such as Dope Dads Run, where fathers and families come together for fitness and bonding, and movie screenings, including a feature release on July 1 at AMC Parkway Pointe.

Owens spoke with rolling out about the organization, fatherhood, and what it’s like to be a girl dad.

What led you to create this platform?

I think that it comes from a couple of places. One of them I would like to call a foundational or root experience, and that’s my experience as a son to my father, and then the seed experience is my daughter, who’s now the fruit of the work that we’re doing and a part of that fruit that we’re bearing. In the moment that it happened, I just remember it almost like an epiphany moment. My daughter was born in November 2015, so I maybe had a month or so to settle, and then toward the end of the year, I had the epiphany moment, and it stemmed from just a feeling of being alone and feeling like I was having the experience by myself. I don’t have a relationship with my father to lean on and I didn’t have a lot of male role models to look up to.

I just felt alone; I felt that it needed to be a community built around fathers, and also so they can share those experiences. We get sad, too. Women experience postpartum depression, but when they say that having a child is a life-changing experience, every word in that sentence is true.

What is it like being a girl dad?

I have a really good friend and he’s a new father. He’s also a girl dad, and he asked, “What is it like? What advice could you give me as an upcoming father?” I told him I didn’t really think there’s a lot of difference per se when you’re raising a son or daughter. What I would say is that when you’re raising a son, you are modeling behavior that you want your son to take on as a man.

When you’re raising a daughter, you are still modeling behavior, but you’re modeling behavior for a man you want your daughter to be with. At the end of the day, as parents, but also as people, right, but as parents, more specifically, we are to model behavior that we want our children to experience throughout their lives, and I think those experiences create energy, which creates attraction. You want them to be attracted to you; you want them to attract the type of person that you are.

What does being an active father look like?

I think work-life balance is important, so being active means that you are actively and intentionally raising your child. We grew up in a culture where it’s, “Do what I say, not as I do,” and it can be maybe a little harsh, but I think that we have an opportunity to do it differently. We have an opportunity to allow our children to be seen, to be heard, and to express themselves. I think that being active means really listening to what they say and giving them the space to say how they feel without … making them be quiet or feel any judgment.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Join our Newsletter

Sign up for Rolling Out news straight to your inbox.

Read more about:
Also read
Rolling Out