Archive for September, 2014

H&H chats CA MARCHE with Parents at the YPP!



This week, Head & Hands headed over to the Young Parents Program (YPP) to see what has motivated some of the program’s participants to walk in Ca Marche.

Today at the YPP, parents and kids are in full Ca Marche prep-mode, getting their swag ready for the walk.

For a variety of reasons, the youth we spoke to preferred to keep their identities confidential, but their touching remarks attest to the importance of supporting Head & Hands’ unique youth health services through events like Ca Marche, which raises funds and awareness to support many Montreal groups working on research, prevention, and treatment of HIV/AIDS.


The parents were asked why they were walking in Ca Marche?, and why they attended Head & Hands’ Young Parents Program?

One parent said that her mother had been living with AIDS for 19 years now, so it was an issue that she has been affected by her whole life. Meanwhile, the YPP has been a sanctuary of sorts for her and many others: “It lets me get out of the house, helps to not be alone. And my kids can hang out with the other English kids, which is more rare at daycare”.

Another participant chimed in: “YPP broke my isolation from Elizabeth House [a private rehabilitation centre for young mothers]. You know, when I was there, I couldn’t talk to anyone. I felt alone. The YPP helped change that, and I’ve been coming since mid-december of last year!”

Another parent was adamant about her show of solidarity: “I know girls who have worked the streets, and have been infected by HIV. I’ve been there myself, and I’m lucky to have come out clean”.

The last parent we talked spoke courageously and with hope, despite fighting to hold back the tears. Someone close to her heart – a sibling – contracted HIV a few years back.

“It’s very taboo. I mean, she lives a normal life. It’s easier in 2014 than it was back then, but it’s hard to know someone you love has it.”

This parent has been affiliated with Head & Hands on and off for a long time. When she became pregnant and was afraid to tell her parents, she came to H&H. We proposed attending YPP, and though at first she was skeptical because she thought it was your average child protection agency, she quickly turned around when she started attending.

“I feel depression, you know. It’s hard getting off the couch sometimes. But it’s energizing for me to come here to the center to get things off my mind, and hang out with the other parents”

By now, she’s so confident that YPP is a great program for youth in her position that she even brought her roommate, who was attending YPP for the first time that day.

Our last parent left us with some uplifting words about why she is dancing in Ca Marche: “I’m going to dance because dancing makes me feel good! You dance to celebrate everything about who you are”.


And with those words, we at Head & Hands invite you once more to COME DANCE with us tomorrow at Ca Marche, or DONATE right HERE!



If you’d like to donate directly to the YPP, please contact Allyson (

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Painless Pee Tests for Penises


Do you have a penis? Does getting tested for STIs (sexually transmitted infections) make you nervous? In case you didn’t know, Head & Hands does urine testing (not a urethral swab) for chlamydia and gonorrhea. It’s painless! All you have to do is pee in a cup!

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two of the most common STIs out there, so if you’ve ever had unprotected oral, anal or vaginal sex you’re at risk. Youth under 25 are especially at risk.

Symptoms for people with penises include burning when you pee, penile and/or anal discharge, itching of the penis and/or testicular pain. But here’s the thing – only 50% of infected people experience these symptoms, so the only way to know for sure is to get tested. Both chlamydia and gonorrhea are easily treated with antibiotics when someone tests positive. Knowing your status can help you protect yourself and your sexual partners. While you’re at it you can also get tested for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B with a simple blood test.

If you’re between the ages of 12-25, come on down to the medical clinic at Head & Hands and give us a urine sample!




Why Are you Walking (*dancing), Richenda?



This month, we are interviewing some of our walkers to see why they are participating in Ca Marche, a crucial fundraising event for us at Head & Hands. We’re so grateful to all of them, and are curious to know what motivates them!

This week’s Ca Marche walker:


H&H: Who are you and what do you do at Head & Hands?

R: Well, I’m new! I started here at the end of July, and I couldn’t be more excited to be here! My job as Fundraising Administrator is to process all the donations that come into the organization, and write text for thank you cards to our donors.

H&H: That’s awesome. Tell us more about yourself! What’s your favourite food?

R: Well I’m currently a student at McGill University, majoring in Women’s studies, where I’m also a member of the Black Students Network. And as for a favourite food, I’m going to have to go with a cliché: chocolate!

H&H: So you’re participating in Ça Marche this year. What are your thoughts! What are your feelings!

R: Indeed I am! All of our super amazing services that we offer at Head & Hands need funding from fundraising campaigns, but I admit that I love the idea of getting to dance down the street in Montreal! And dressing up! All of our core programming benefits from this fundraiser, including awesome work we do towards HIV education, prevention, and testing!! Head & Hands has had to turn away 200 people from its clinic this year, and often these are people without health insurance or queer and trans people who may face judgement elsewhere. We don’t want to have to turn people away! So give us money! We have a week left! Please and thank you with chocolate on top.

H&H: I know we’re all excited for the dancing too. So now the second-most important question: what will your costume for Ça Marche be?

R: You’ll just have to come out on September 27th to see! But I am currently taking suggestions.

H&H: So let’s say after reading this, someone feels moved to donate right away? How would they go about doing that?

R: What a great question. You can sponsor me personally right here OR sponsor the whole Head & Hands’ team of sexy fundraising dancers right here.

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#TBT: MTL’s First Trans* Rights March


trans march 1

Today on the blog, we’re looking back to August 10, when almost 400 members and allies of Montreal’s trans* community took to the streets to demonstrate our strength as a community and call upon the Quebec government to follow through on its commitments towards respecting trans* rights.  This powerful event was  organized by the collectif Participes, a recently-formed group of dedicated, creative, and inspiring trans* youth!

Last year, the government passed a law promising to alleviate the discriminatory barriers faced by trans* people who want to legally register their gender.  Almost a year later,  all clauses of this law have been put into action except the ones dealing with trans* rights.  Meanwhile, social and institutional discrimination against trans* people – from barriers to accessing hormone therapy to ongoing violence – remain widespread.  This article provides a more detailed overview of the many reasons we all gathered to march last month.

Here at Head & Hands, we were thrilled to participate in this historic action as part of our ongoing work to support trans* rights.  Did you know that our medical clinic runs Montreal’s only trans* health program for youth that uses an intake process based on informed consent, trusting each individual as the expert on their own experience rather than requiring a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria to access hormone therapy? We also provide extensive free counseling to trans* youth and their families, and incorporate trans*-positivity into our sexual health education workshops through the Sense project!

Also!  Did you know that Head & Hands’ health services receive no government funding??  We rely on individual and community support to keep these services going, and we’re mobilizing this month to gather donations as part of our Ca Marche campaign!  If you’d like to join us and dance 7km through downtown Montreal on September 27th,  follow THIS link.  And of course, you can sponsor us directly by following THIS one!

Finally, some more rad pics from the day of the march…!

trans march 2 trans march 4 trans march 5




What’s up with J2K!?



J2K, our youth drop-in centre, is going through a bit of a space-related adventure this season! Jeunesse 2000 has been at the same location at 3770 Décarie for the past 23 years, in a building that belongs to the Ville de Montréal . A drainage issue with the pool over the summer has forced them to close the building for the next 3 months, in order to do some renovations. These changes have been in effect since September 8th, and should last until sometime in November.

In the meantime, J2K is relocating to the Manoir, where we will have a small drop-in space and gym access. All programming except for MusikAddict will take place at the Manoir on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pmand on Saturdays from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

For the month of September, MusikAddict sessions will be held at KoSA Academy on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Starting in October, and until we get our space back, we’re hoping to move MusikAddict to Westhaven Community Centre, which J2K has collaborated with and had a good relationship in the past.

For as long as we’re out of our space, J2K can be reached at 514-462-5944. Check out the J2K calendar for details about activities throughout the month of September, and see below for addresses and contact info for the Manoir, KoSA Academy, and Westhaven Community Centre.

Le Manoir (Comité Jeunesse NDG):

5319 Notre-Dame-de-Grace ave (corner of Decarie), 2nd floor, 1st door at the top of the stairs.

KoSA Academy:

2207 Beaconsfield ave. H4A 2G9


7405 Harley ave. H4B 1Y2 514-872-6134


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“Why Are You Walking CA MARCHE?”, Part II: Lex Gill


There are SO many good reasons to dance the dance with us, so over the coming weeks, we will be interviewing some of our dancers to see why they do it!


Want to JOIN the Head & Hands team? Sign up HERE!!

Want to SEE last year’s epic dance moves? Check them our HERE!!

Want to DONATE? Donate HERE!!


This week’s walker:

LEX GILL! (To the right of the storm trooper)
Who are you, and how are you associated to Head & Hands?My name is Lex, and I’m a member of the board of directors at Head & Hands. I study law at McGill University and work for a civil liberties org. I can also do a handstand!

Why are you participating in Ca Marche?

One of the important things about Ca Marche is that events like it work to combat stigma around HIV/AIDS, and give us an opportunity to celebrate life, get inspired, and support amazing organizations doing rad work (like Head & Hands!). I’m participating in Ca Marche because I know it has an impact!

Why should others participate in Ca Marche?

Because we need your support! And also because it’s going to be tons of fun.

I also promised all my donors that if I met my first fundraising goal, I’d dress up like a fairy princess for the walk. Well, we blew right past that target and I had to increase my fundraising goal almost immediately, so you’ll definitely get to see me in wings and a tiara!

Say something about the importance of H&H and its health services within the Montreal community.

Head & Hands is one of the most amazing places in Montreal: it approaches health care and community work from a place non-judgemental, holistic support. Its work has had such a huge impact on the lives of so many young people—including my own.

Anything else you’d like to add about H&H or Ca Marche!

Do it! See you there September 27!

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Solidarity through Action: Back-to-School Edition!




To be in solidarity with someone is to support a person by working beside them instead of from above or pushing up from below. It is recognizing that everyone needs help in different ways, everyone is capable of different things, and everyone is deserving of justice and access to services.

It’s September, back-to-school season in Montreal, and the signs are everywhere: crisp fall breezes, packs of students on the streets and buses, and our medical clinics buzzing with the annual summer-is-over rush. September at Head & Hands also signals another wonderful arrival— phone calls and emails from students wanting to get involved in our Solidarity Through Action campaign.

Solidarity Through Action supports students in leading peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns and events in their communities, because wonderful things happen when youth get involved in supporting other youth. Fundraising is one of the strongest, most active, and most effective ways to show your support for a cause you believe in. From bake sales to educational campaigns, we raise an important part of our budget through the creative efforts of students from elementary schools to universities— over $20,000 last year alone!

If you’re a student and you have an idea for a Solidarity Through Action campaign or event, or if you’re an educator or school animator and you would like to know more about how to get your students involved, contact Victoria at

We’ve got detailed guides for students in any school setting, and we’re available to meet with you or your class to brainstorm ideas and to give you the tools you need to become Head & Hands ambassadors. We look forward to working shoulder to shoulder with you to ensure that our city’s youth get the support they deserve!



Ca marche

On Saturday September 27th, Head & Hands supporters, staff, and board, will take to the streets as part of Ça Marche 2014, the Farha Foundation’s annual HIV/AIDS walk.

This year, we’re setting our sights high with an objective of $30,000! We know, we’re ambitious – but we also know that with your help we can make it happen!!
Your donation will support three core health services:

1) Our twice-weekly weekly medical clinics: accessible and welcoming to youth regardless of income, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status. It’s the only community-based youth-clinic in Montreal, and our health services were accessed almost 2,000 times last year!

2) The Sense Project: peer-based sex-ed program that reached nearly 800 youth last year. Sense offers a series of three holistic workshops covering topics including STIs, contraception, consent, gender identity, sexual orientation and more!

3) You’ll also be contributing to help our newly reinstated Street Work program run better than ever! This program supports NDG’s most marginalized youth with in-the-streets risk reduction. It’s the only program of its kind in NDG, and offers HIV and Hepatitis C prevention, crisis intervention and active listening, accompaniments, support navigating social services, educational workshops, clean gear, and condoms.

There are SO many good reasons to dance the dance with us, so over the coming weeks, we will be interviewing some of our dancers to see why they do it!


Want to JOIN the Head & Hands team? Sign up HERE!!

Want to SEE last year’s epic dance moves? Check them our HERE!!

Want to DONATE? Donate HERE!!


Now, without further ado, let us introduce our very own


Who are you and what do you do at Head & Hands?

My name is Ralph also known as Waahli, I coordinate the legal services and the legal clinic at Head and Hands. As a paralegal I provide legal information to youth explore options and empower youth to make informed decision in a legal situation.

On my free time, I’m also MC, Producer, and performer for Global Hip Hop collective Nomadic Massive, and operate Wyzah Musk Soap, a business environmentally friendly organic soaps.

Still, somehow I find the time to partake in Ca Marche!

Why are you participating in Ca Marche?

I’ve done it in the past and I feel that it is important to raise HIV/AIDS awareness and demystify the myth around it by applying concrete action by walking without taking the fun away, you know being creative about it. It’s also way to gather, share and celebrate life and its many facets in a positive way.

Why should others participate in Ca Marche?

Cuz’ it happens once a year, and it’s one of Head & Hands’ most important fundraisers! Working here, I also recognize the importance and direct impact that these funds have on our programs. Oh yeah, and because it’s always good times!

Anything else you’d like to add?

Be there on sept27th!!






Today, we’re very excited to launch the newest resource on our website: a series of interactive quizzes allowing you to test your legal knowledge and get quick answers to some of our most common questions!

Over many years offering legal support services, certain questions pop up again and again – questions about housing and evictions, labour rights, ticketing and arrests, and dealing with the youth protection system. We’ve gathered these questions together into simple on-line quizzes, which we hope will provide easy access answers to some of your most pressing issues!

If you have a situation that needs deeper answers, and want to go further than these quizzes can take you, please don’t hesitate to give us a call! Our legal coordinator, Ralph, is available on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays to support youth with questions around all manner of legal issues. We also offer evening legal clinics each Wednesday and Thursday, where community members of all ages can meet with volunteer lawyers for some quick advice. And of course, if we’re not able to support you with your particular situation, we’ll be happy to offer a referral to one of the other great legal resources in this city.