Dr. Tellier with his gorgeous award and some very excited Head & Hands staff members
This April, we headed to the Montreal Science Centre to celebrate our very own Dr. Tellier, winner of Centraide’s prestigious Citizen Engagement Award! Centraide presented Dr. T with a beautiful trophy, and Head & Hands with a $10, 000 cheque. And they made a totally awesome video about Head & Hands and Dr. T!
For those of you who know Dr. T, this award likely doesn’t come as a surprise. For over 30 years, Dr. T has tirelessly provided front-line health services to Montreal’s most marginalized young people, both at Head & Hands, and, on a few occasions, in the streets, bars, and raves of Montreal’s Gay Village. We estimate that Dr. T has treated more than 20, 000 youth in our clinic over the years.
Internationally renowned as a champion of LGBTQ and youth health, Dr. T has mentored countless medical residents, and has presented at numerous conferences on his non-judgemental, harm-reductive, and inclusive approach to medicine.
At Head & Hands, we love to shed the spotlight on the incredible people in our community who make our work possible, and today we are doing just that, by recognizing the contributions of 8-year-old friends Sarah and Charlotte, and their moms Kate and Cathy.
But first, we have to come clean about something. We are late writing this blog post. Like, over a year late. At the same time, we thought this goodness was just too good to go unrecognized, and as the old saying goes, better late than never!
So here’s the scoop: A few Novembers ago, 6-year-old pals Sarah and Charlotte were planning a joint-party in celebration of their 7th birthdays, and, as Kate explains, their moms got to thinking: “Cathy and I agreed that neither of our kids really needed any more toys so we’d see if we could get the invited kids to donate to a worthy cause and help our girls understand how fortunate they are and get them interested in charity.” Both mothers had donated to Head & Hands before, and were particularly interested in supporting the Young Parents Program.
So how did two six-year-olds take to the idea that their gifts would be given to other children? “The girls were really proud to donate their gifts. We helped them get over not getting gifts from friends by promising a larger family gift. We talked about how proud we were, and took them for a special lunch after we visited the YPP. They had mixed feelings in the beginning, but once they met your staff and saw the space, they were really proud.” says Kate.
Charlotte and Sarah make a wish for their 7th year!
The party took place at Pointe à Callière, and in addition to collecting donations of toys and diapers, the kids dug for artifacts, made their own clay pot artifact to take home, and of course, ate cake! “Several of the parents told us how much they liked the idea, and we really hope that some of them will consider doing something similar,” shares Kate.
Charlotte and Sarah pose with YPP child educators Marnie and Melissa during their visit!
After the party, the girls went visited the Young Parents Program to drop off their donation, and met program staff to talk about the families they were helping out. “The thing that made it concrete for Charlotte was knowing that two families went to the Aqua Dome because of the money she donated that she had earned busking. It was really important that Charlotte and Sarah that the YPP staff spent so much time with them and were so kind to our girls and showed them the playroom and talked to them about what YPP does.
Legal Services Coordinator Ralph, with the DIY Divorce Pamphlet from back in the day!
Today we’re taking a look at Head & Hands’ former Do-it-Yourself Divorce service! To find out how it worked, we caught up with two people involved in the service back in the day—former participant Cheryl, and Gabor, who has been a lawyer at the H&H Legal Clinic since the mid-1970s.
If you have memories to share about DIY Divorce, please do in the comments! But for now…story time!
I learned about the do-it–yourself divorce course from a newspaper ad. I was separated from my husband and didn’t have the money to see a lawyer so I decided to take this amazing opportunity. The course was given by this lovely lady, Sandra Frost, who unfortunately died several years ago, but I will never forget her.
The course was free and we met as a group in varying intervals. Sandra expertly guided us all through each step. She gave us the information by giving us all copies of every document that had to be typed out, in what order, how many copies needed to be typed, and which department of the courts that they had to be presented to. It was time consuming especially given that no one used a computer back in the day! I had never even learned how to type so making four mistake-free carbon copies took me forever, but Sandra encouraged us every step of the way.
After all of the documents had been prepared and filed we waited to find out through the mail what our date at court would be. Because it had to be a no-fault divorce, that is to say, the spouses involved would not be contesting anything, we did not use the services of a lawyer and we represented ourselves in court. Sandra also explained to us what to expect and how to comport ourselves in front of a judge. It was quite a nerve-wracking experience, to say the least, as the atmosphere in the courtroom was daunting and the judge was very imposing and I was very young!
However, the only thing that I had to pay was the fee for the bailiff to present my papers to my soon-to-be ex husband, around $50. After it was all over, my sister and I went out for lunch with my now ex-husband. It was very civilized! I will always be grateful to H&H for the amazing help that I received from them at this time in my life when I needed it.
– Cheryl: former client, current volunteer and donor
I don’t remember when H & H started the service but it seems it was more than 20 years ago. It was important because many people had simple uncontested divorces and could not afford the $500 to $1000 divorce fees that lawyers were charging. Some people who could afford to pay the lawyer’s fees but wanted to control their own divorce file and did not want to be at the mercy of their lawyer also took the course.
Of course the same situation exists today in that some people have simple divorces but can`t afford the fees, especially the increased fees lawyers now charge. Unfortunately the procedure in court has become more complicated especially where child support is payable and a course that used to take, I believe about six or so sessions, might require a few more.
– Gabor Glasz: volunteer lawyer at the Head & Hands legal clinic, former board member
Become a member of the Head & Hands Board of Directors!
Support our organization and community!
What Is Head & Hands?
Head & Hands’ mission is to work with youth to promote their physical and mental well-being. Our approach is preventative, inclusive, non-judgmental, and holistic, with a fundamental commitment to providing an environment that welcomes youth without discrimination. We facilitate social change and the empowerment of youth based on their current needs within our community and society at large.
Head & Hands is currently looking for motivated, passionate people to run for election to our Board of Directors.
Applications are due May 15th at 6pm.
Who we are looking for:
We encourage all applications to our Board, and seek to create a balanced group to reflect the skills and priorities of our community. Head & Hands welcomes the unique contributions that youth (25 and under) bring to our organization, and invites these individuals to apply. We also encourage applicants to describe the unique contributions they, as individuals with diverse experiences, would bring to Head & Hands.
Commitment to social justice and to our mission
Willingness to participate in fundraising activities in a collaborative context
Desire to work with a diversity of people on common goals
Available for monthly evening Board meetings and ongoing committee work (total time commitment is approx. 8-10 hrs / month)
To support us in carrying out our mission, we feel it’s important for the Head & Hands Board to be strong and diverse in terms of skills, connections to programming, and connections to client communities. Having analyzed the balance of qualities on our current Board, and asked ourselves which missing qualities would be most be valuable to us, we encourage applicants who have been clients of, worked with, or worked in a similar field to our Streetwork, Legal, J2K, and YPP programs. We also encourage individuals to apply with energy to support us in event production, accounting & finance (non-profit financial management and bookkeeping), illustration and design, communications and public relations, and English to French translation.
As an organization that works to facilitate social change and the empowerment of diverse communities of youth, Head & Hands recognizes that living under marginalization and oppression often brings both challenges and valuable skills and perspectives. People of color, people with disabilities, women, Two-Spirited, queer people, trans* people, and other candidates who experience marginalization are strongly encouraged to apply and to self-identify in your Board Candidate Profile.
When asked, “Why hip-hop classes?”, J2K Coordinator Neil quotes philosopher Mutabaruka: “If you want more peace among the youths, create more dance.”
“When dancers hit, it’s the showstopper,” Neil continues, “it’s a hip-hop generation. It moves the youth. It’s not all they’re listening to, but they have access.” Animators at J2K have been hearing requests for dance programming for years, especially from the young women who hang at J2K. Lots of guys come for basketball, but reaching out to women and offering more options for youth to get into their bodies has been a longstanding priority. When K. Heaven approached Neil about offering hip-hop, it was a sweet opportunity. Since February, youth have been popping, locking, and wacking under the guidance of K. Heaven and Associates on Saturday afternoons. New programming always takes time to catch on with youth, but hip-hop has always been a catalyst for beautiful moments at J2K, from chilling and listening to music, to making beats together, to performing at our summer music showcases. We can’t wait to see where youth go with this class, so if you know someone between ages 12 and 17 who loves to dance…send them our way!
SERVE 2014 is around the corner, and we are officially recruiting a superstar fundraising task force for our volunteer Planning Committee!
We’re looking for the most dedicated and brightest minds to help in our fundraising efforts for the 9th annual Serve! Serve is gearing up to support the Sense Project, our peer-based sex education project. For more info about this cutting edge, harm-reductive and queer/sex/trans-positive sex ed program, check out Sense’s page.
The SERVE tournament is an exciting, fun, and sexy event that engages the vibrant bar and restaurant community with a fresh approach to fundraising and provides us with a unique opportunity to share our holistic vision of youth empowerment and wellness with Montrealers at large.
There are 3 positions waiting to be filled on a very dynamic, professional and motivated team. So if you are ready to learn and be active in your community, read about the positions here and apply right now! Send us a (short) cover letter before April 21st at 10 A.M! This is a chance to gain some real hands-on experience in event planning and fundraising, all while making memories you’ll tell your friends about for years to come.
After a looong winter that felt like it would never end, we’d secretly hoped that our Monthly Donor Drive this March would give us that little burst of sunshine we’d all been waiting for, in addition to some much-needed financial support. And guess what, it did!!!
We were so touched by the amazing outpouring of community support this month—from our hard working board members and staff who reached out to their communities, asking them to donate, to monthlies who graciously agreed to be photographed and featured on our website, to allies who spread the word about our campaign to anyone they thought might listen! Y’all rock our world, and you are the amazing forces that help this organization thrive!
And then we got the final total of monthlies who signed up, and our hearts warmed, and we think yours will too. That’s right: we are so excited to announce that 22 new monthly donors came on board this month, meaning that we now have 22 more supporters that have this organization’s well-being close to their hearts. Oh! And it also means that we beat last year’s formidable Monthly Donor Drive record of 17 bundles of awesome. Let’s just say this year’s Monthly Donor Drive brought us 22 beaming rays of sunshine. And the spring. Hurrah!
It’s coming up on time of year again – when we look back on what we’ve been up to over the past year, when we kick off a summer full of awesome events, and when we make important decisions about the future of Head & Hands. That’s right, we’re starting to plan our Annual General Meeting!
This year’s AGM will take place on Wednesday, June 18 from 7 – 9pm at St. Raymond’s Community Centre. A few important things happen at an AGM: staff members present all the great stuff that has gone on over the past year, organization management is discussed (staffing, finances, etc.), board candidates present themselves, and members vote on a new Board of Directors and by-law changes.
In classic Head & Hands style, this year’s AGM will be a dynamic and entertaining show – not to mention there will be delicious free food served, and childcare will be provided. It’s going to be a party, and you’re invited!