On Wednesday, June 18th, Head & Hands held its Annual General Meeting. We celebrated the past year in good company, with our clients, volunteers, donors, community partners, and staff and board members.
Our program coordinators were asked to share one of their favorite memories from the past year. If you weren’t at the AGM to hear their gems, the photo essay below presents the moments, memories, and accomplishments that excited and moved us in the past year.
Neil, J2K Coordinator, on how many youth had “firsts” at J2K this year, like their first on-stage musical performances!
Rhonda, our Social Counselor, had her poster board go missing on her! Nevertheless, she celebrated providing over 650 counselling sessions.
Allyson, Young Parents Program Coordinator, sharing memories of fun and relaxation from YPP summer camp.
Jon, our Director, celebrating the re-launch of our Street Work program in October.
Legal Coordinator Ralph helped 445 clients access legal information, support, and advice through our legal services and clinic.
Funding & Partnerships Coordinator Victoria, highlighting the total sum raised by individuals who held their own fundraising events for Head & Hands.
Street Worker Sara sharing an impressive statistic on harm reduction gear distribution, and breaking down what that statistic means below…
Chris, our Interim Office Coordinator, announcing the total number of meals distributed through our emergency food pantry last year.
Fundraising and Development Coordinator Juniper celebrating the impressive amount raised for our medical services, the Sense Project, and Street Work through Ca Marche!
Shanice, our Sense Project Research Assistant, sharing the Sense Project’s year-long relationship with the Ecole St-Luc!
Health Services Coordinator Jos highlighting the number of visits to our medical clinic.
An increase in fatal overdoses has been observed in Montreal over the past few months. These overdoses seem to be caused by heroin or cocaine, regardless of the method of consumption (shooting, snorting, or smoking.) These incidents are especially alarming considering that overdoses caused by smoking or snorting are highly uncommon, yet have recently become a frequent occurrence. This is caused in part by the increased presence of fentanyl in heroine and other drugs, which is a substance 50-100 times more potent than heroine.
If you are a drug user, there are ways to protect yourself and possibly prevent an overdose. Buy from someone you know or trust, and try not to use when you’re alone, but if you have to, leave your door unlocked. If you’re not sure where your batch comes from, start by taking a very small amount (not enough to get you high). It’s not a good idea to rely on the absence of an unusual smell, taste, or appearance as an indicator of a good batch.
Despite this rash of overdoses, Naloxone, the opioid antidote, has still not been authorized by the Ministère de la santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS) to be made available to street workers and other non-medical professionals. Naloxone is available anywhere else in Canada and the United States and has saved hundreds of lives from opium-induced overdoses. In Quebec, however, it can only be administered in hospitals, and only 20 health professionals in Montreal currently have access to Naloxone. The Quebec government is currently working on allowing ambulance workers to administer the antidote within the next few weeks. However, folks from the CRAN and Méta d’Âme predict that the expansion of access to Naloxone to streetworkers, community members, friends and family members won’t happen until the fall. So far, one person has died from an overdose everyday since mid-May, in Montreal.
With NDG being a more isolated neighborhood of Montreal, our streetworker Sara has noticed a higher probability that people use when they’re alone. If you or someone you know might use alone, and want someone to be around, contact Sara at 514-377-9858 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like out of some Montreal rom-com, Arwen and Serhiy met in French class at Centre Saint-Louis, and the rest is history. “Arwen wanted to learn Ukrainian for some music projects she was working on, so she asked me if I would give her lessons. I asked her if she wanted to join me for lunch instead,” says Serhiy. “We spent almost every lunch together for the rest of that course, talking about everything and anything. It’s been almost four years, and we still haven’t run out of things to talk about!”
This June, Arwen and Serhiy are getting married in Jarry Park, followed with a big potluck dinner and dance at a community centre nearby. The kicker to this “big Jewish-Ukrainian party”? They’ve asked guests to donate to Head & Hands in lieu of gifts.
“Both of us have received compassionate, non-judgmental care at Head & Hands when we needed it most, and we want to help other young folks continue to benefit from their services.” They shared over email recently. “Head & Hands’ services have made a profound difference in our own lives, especially when Arwen sought care following a sexual assault several years ago. We’ve also witnessed first-hand through our community work the positive impact that services like the Young Parents’ Program and the Sense Project can have on young folks and their support networks. It’s so important that services like these remain accessible and free, especially when they aren’t being provided elsewhere.”
A huge thank you to Arwen and Serhiy for sharing their stories with us, and for including us in their celebration. If you’d like to donate to in their honour, you can do it online here.
Oh and before we go, we had to share their answers to a few of our silly questions, ’cause they are too cute. As teens, Arwen was “desperately waiting for high school to be over!” while Serhiy was a “shy video game player and a surprisingly successful suits salesperson.” Also, Arwen has a celeb crush on Helene Cixous because “(Mega-babe, mega-brains)”, while Serhiy’s fave book is Moominsummer Madness by Tove Jansson. Now aren’t they just a delight?
Visit our “Give in Honour” page for more information about giving, or receiving, the gift of Head & Hands!
The moment we have all been waiting for: Head & Hands’ 2013-2014 Annual Report is here!
Our Annual Report highlights the past fiscal year at Head & Hands, with information on our programs and services, finances, team, and more. This year, the report unfolds into a map of NDG showcasing the statistics, client testimonials, and photos that we can’t wait to share with our community!