This Father’s Day, we partnered with the team over at CoolxDad to spotlight a few incredible dads in a few of our fav styles (photography by William Isaac). Co-founded by Kevin Barnett and Arvy Lim, CoolxDad is a non-profit committed to helping POC be more present fathers and father figures.
By offering mental health, financial literacy, mentorship, and entrepreneurship programs, they’re helping dads show up both physically and emotionally — and a portion of proceeds from our Gift Guide will go towards supporting Kevin and Arvy’s mission.
Juan Valentine: Yogi, Barber, Creative
Can you give us some background on who you are and what you do?
I’m the owner of YBJ Studios at MECA, a handcrafted space that welcomes Houstonians to express themselves through hairstyle, mindfulness, and artistic lifestyle expression.
What inspires you and what are your passions?
Seeing and supporting my community as they achieve personal and professional milestones inspires me to continue my own journey towards a purposeful life.
How many kids do you have?
I’m a father to three sons.
What attracted you to the CoolxDad mission?
An opportunity to highlight the best part of my life through portrait, style, and storytelling.
What do you consider your job as a dad?
I consider my job as a dad to be the cornerstone of my son’s fatherly makeup. I hope they become better fathers than I through my leadership.
Should the role dads play at home be redefined?
Yes, in order to achieve more harmony within today’s ever-changing society.
Top underrated — but totally necessary — dad skill?
Laundry manager to myself and my sons, in order to pull a little more weight with the household chores.
What do you want to tell all the dads and father figures out there? What is the best advice you can give to them?
I’d like to advise new dads to connect as early and often as possible. Even before they learn to speak, they still are communicating with you. They feed off the energy we put around them.
Name the thing that makes your home feel like a home.
The master bed, which allows us all to snuggle up and watch TV.
Any silver linings this past year?
My mother beating cancer, my brother recovering from life-threatening COVID symptoms, and my wife and I giving birth to our third healthy son, in spite of our third battle with the most severe version of pregnancy illness, Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
What do you hope for your kids in the future?
I hope my sons inherit my strongest qualities and live a fulfilling purposeful life.
The #1 thing you love most about being a dad?
The best thing about being a dad is that the kids actually make your life way cooler once you get the hang of it.