Archive for November, 2013

Ask Anything: Family Discussions


Merci à Estelle, une de nos stagiaires en sexologie, pour cette réponse!

(Notez que nous répondons aux questions anonymes dans la langue où elles sont posées; en français ou en anglais.)

Q: Est-ce qu’on doit parler de sexualité avec nos parents? 

Ouh… dure question! Je ne crois pas qu’il y est une réponse absolue étant donné que nous avons tou-te-s des vécus différents et que nos vies familiales sont uniques. Ceci étant dit, voici quelques idées qui peuvent t’être utiles dans la discussion ou ta prise de décision. C’est peut-être important pour toi de parler de sexe avec tes parents, et c’est bien de vouloir le faire. Peu importe où tu te situes au plan sexuel, si tu es déjà actif-ve sexuellement ou non, ça peut toujours être intéressant de parler de sexualité avec tes parents… lorsqu’on est à l’aise de le faire, et qu’on sent que notre/nos parent-s y est ou y sont aussi ouvert-e-s.

Les sujets peuvent être amenés tout autant par toi que par tes parents. Parfois, ils/elles ne savent pas sur quel pied danser par rapport aux questions de sexualité, et attendent de voir ce que leurs enfants leur diront. Tu peux te demander aussi à quel-s parent-s tu devrais en parler. Vas-y avec le parent avec lequel tu te sens le plus à l’aise, ou en confiance. Voici quelques idées qui peuvent t’aider à commencer une conversation avec tes parents :

  • Choisi un lieu où tu te sens confortable et/ou vous avez moins de chance de vous faire dérangé : la voiture seul à seul avec un parent, ta chambre le soir, etc.
  • Le « bon » moment est dur à calculer. Il est quand même bien de prendre en considération lorsque tu te sens bien, et que tu vois que ton/tes parent-s est ou sont à l’écoute.
  • À chaque fois que tu as une question – pose là. Un exemple? Tu entends un nouveau mot comme hymen et tu aimerais savoir, c’est quoi. Tu demandes à ton/tes parent-s qu’est-ce que c’est. Comme ça, les questions qui te semblent plus dures à demander seront plus faciles à poser.
  • Tu n’as pas besoin de tout dire non plus… si tu veux garder des choses pour toi c’est bien, ton intimité t’appartient.
  • Il est possible que ton/tes parent-s n’aura ou n’auront pas toutes les réponses à tes questions, mais tu peux lui/leur demander de t’aider à trouver d’autres ressources si tu as besoin.
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Donor news: Young Parents Program youth chefs learn skills & earn income while putting food on the table!


Jessica & Melanie in the YPP kitchen

Delicious, nutritious food is central to many a healthy table, and it’s no different at the YPP, where dozens of young parents and their kids gather on Wednesdays and Fridays to share a hot meal. Teams of participants are hired to plan and prepare lunches for the group, providing much-needed income, helping build self-confidence, and giving employment experience that can help parents get back to work. Of course, the positions come with a big responsibility—filling the bellies of 30 parents and kids twice a week! Food is vegetarian and budget-conscious, and is shared by parents, children, volunteers, and staff who all have a place at the table.

We caught up with current chefs Jessica and Melanie to learn more!

H&H: What have you cooked and how did it go?

Melanie: Because it’s vegetarian, it’s hard to match everyone’s likes, because not everyone likes vegetables. We’ve made tofu shepherd’s pie, eggplant sandwiches, a few vegetable stir fries, meatless meatloaf, and we’ve made some really good lasagna. I think the stir fries and the eggplant sandwiches were the best, because everyone had 2-3 plates and asked for more! Most of the food is gone by the time we’ve finished eating so I think that’s a good sign.

H&H: How has the cooking program impacted your life?

Melanie: The cooking program has been a blessing for me, because just as I got the job, I had just had a large change in my family dynamic and I found myself as a single parent. It has been a huge blessing for me to be able to make ends meet. It has also been good in terms of self value, I feel needed and that I can contribute to the group. It’s a good program because we provide healthy food to everyone, and so the people who come don’t have to worry about lunch on those days.

Jessica: I have learnt a lot from cooking for YPP. I learnt about portion sizes and healthier meal choices, and how to make more vegetarian meals. It also gives me extra money for the month for extra things I may need.

H&H: What’s it like being a young parent?

Melanie: I was 16 or 17 when I had my first son. There are a lot of stigmas and stereotypes, but I did my best not to pay attention to them, and tried my best to break the stigma. Being a parent is challenging, it doesn’t matter how old you are. Whether you are 16, 36, 46, being a parent can be hard and scary, and it’s about knowing you have the resources there to support you.

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Spotlight on: Reel Activism


reel activism (640x360)

On October 15th, we had a great time at the launch event of Reel Activism, a brand-new series of monthly documentary screenings focusing community activism. The creative third-party fundraiser aims to raise funds for our Street Work program, and we couldn’t be happier!

We caught up with Dan Schioler, the mastermind behind the event, to learn more about the series.

Head & Hands: What motivated you to organize this series? 

Dan: Six months ago, I was looking for volunteer work that I could do with my daughter and was finding it tough to find something that worked for my schedule and filled a need for the organization. But I was being asked: what are your interests? So, I started to think about the idea of forming a community film club. We hope that the films can inspire people to get more involved in their community, raise some money for a great cause, and make people aware of some under-appreciated films.

Head & Hands: How did you choose the films?

Dan: I’ve always loved documentary films. There are so many great ones that most people have never heard of, and I’ve always gotten a kick out of making suggestions. It was easy to come up with these six films – it’s a nice mix of award winners with a few obscurities – but all of the films are fantastic.

Head & Hands: Why did you choose to partner with Head & Hands?

Dan:  My wife had done some volunteer work for Head & Hands in the past, so I was aware of the organization. Head & Hands was one of several groups that I proposed the idea to, and it was the enthusiasm from the staff that made me feel like this was a group that I would like to work with.

Head & Hands: What have you enjoyed most so far?

Dan: It has been great finding out about all the community organizations that are doing great work. It’s extremely encouraging and inspiring to meet such dedicated people. And they all react so positively when I tell them about the event!

Head & Hands:
What does the future have in store?  

Dan: I’ve got plenty more films that I’d love to expose people to. Not to get ahead of myself, but maybe this event is only the beginning!

Curious to check out the series? The next screening is on November 12th at 7 p.m, at the Centre Culturel Georges-Vanier. Visit Reel Activism’s Facebook page to stay updated!

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Donor news: Winning again, after rock bottom. By Mike, 24



“When I got to Montreal last October, I rushed things and didn’t think everything through. Some nights were extremely hard, and most nights I had no idea where I would sleep. All of this took a huge toll on my mental health and I developed severe anxiety issues.

Every time I had a panic attack, I would start to shake and crawl into a ball because life literally feels like it’s coming to an end. It must have looked like I had taken a lot of drugs, because when I went to the emergency room they checked my blood, assuming that I was OD’ing, and looking at me with judging eyes.

People think the worst and you can feel it—when you walk into a clinic and you have to scrounge up $ 80 or $130 to be there, and on top of it, they might not even give you the medication your body desperately needs because they are judging you and your story.

I went to the Head & Hands medical clinic on a Thursday night and I was able to explain my situation to somebody. I walked in and was surrounded by a staff that I felt completely comfortable with. Every time I have ever needed to speak with anybody, Head & Hands has been there for me, completely willing to listen, and never judging.

Because of Head & Hands, I have been able to stabilize my thoughts and mood and start my foundation for building a life here. While I have been taking my medication, I have also been able to slowly stop and start doing meditation techniques anytime I feel a panic attack happen.

Thanks to you, I feel like I’m winning again. After months of not knowing where I would get my next meal, months of pulling all of my resources together find an apartment and a job, things are finally coming together

There have been nights that I walked home crying out of joy after receiving food from your emergency bank. I cried because while many people turn their heads, Head & Hands does not. When you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom and nothing can save you, there is an organization like this that gives so much hope and then some.”


The Christie Community Bike Ride raises almost $5,000 for Head & Hands!


Participants and Head & Hands staff before the start of the ride.

Students at the McGill Faculty of Law organized the 5th annual Christie Community Bike Ride (CBR) and raised $4,800 to support the legal services at Head & Hands.

On September 8th, 60 students, faculty, staff, and community members collected pledges and embarked on 50 kilometer bike ride honouring Dugald Christie, a Vancouver lawyer who worked to make legal services accessible to low-income people. In 2006, Christie began biking across Canada to raise awareness about the inadequacies of legal assistance programs, and was struck and killed by a van four months into his campaign.

We caught up with two of the ride’s organizers, Katie and Alain, to learn more about the event.

Head & Hands: Can you tell us a bit about why you got involved with the CBR?   

Alain: In my first year at law school I took part in the ride as a volunteer mechanic. It provided me with a valuable reminder early in my legal career that it is important, if not essential, to look for ways to use your personal passions to support broader goals.

Katie: The ride is an excellent initiative which builds community by opening the school year with a fun reflection on access to justice issues. It is a time to remember that most of us come to law school because we have an interest in justice – not just as some abstract Hollywood concept, but as a concrete part of people’s lives.

Head & Hands: Why did you choose Head & Hands as a beneficiary?

Katie: All too often, legal problems are isolated and extracted from the context of people’s lives. We appreciated that Head & Hands takes a more holistic approach to working with clients, and hoped to expose young lawyers to the possibility of working in integrated, interdisciplinary teams to create better solutions.

Head & Hands: What was your favorite part of the event?   

Alain: I have two. The first is the ride’s ability to act as a community builder. My other favourite part has come from planning the route. Many of the participants are new to Montréal, and I use the ride as an opportunity to introduce them to the fantastic cycling infrastructure (and vistas) that Montréal possesses.

Kaite: Doing the final test run of the route with Alain! We ended up biking fairly late into the evening and our ride included a flat tire, a beautiful sunset and running into huge swarms of bugs in Parc Jean Drapeau – it was really gross, but also fun! Auctioning off  left-over lunch items like a giant jar of mayonnaise was also a fun & impromptu way to increase donations!

*A special thanks to Thomas Chalmers, who raised over $1,700!

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