Archive for February, 2015

Welcome to Devon: our new Evening Office Coordinator!

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Devon

Hey community! There’s someone we’d like you to meet. Their name is Devon, they’re the new evening face of H&H, and they are amazing.

As Evening Office Coordinator, Devon oversees our main office in NDG to ensure that it remains a warm and safe space in which to welcome youth, clients, and other community members. They provide front-line support, coordinate volunteers, oversee our web & social media presence, and more!

Devon has now been with us for a couple months, but it’s already hard to imagine life at H&H without them. This probably has something to do with the incredible wealth of experience they bring to their position: 10 years living in NDG, personal familiarity with our programs and services, and years of professional collaboration while working as a coordinator with beloved allied organizations P10 and the Centre for Gender Advocacy. Oh, and a Master’s degree in Social Work. That too.

Devon is bursting with ideas and energy – we’re so excited for them to add their own particular flavour to the H&H mix, and to help us continue carrying out our mission in creative and thoughtful ways!

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Solidarity through Action at Ecole St. Luc

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Ecole st luc collage

This week, 5 students from the Ecole St. Luc set up shop in their school cafeteria to spread the word about Head & Hands and raise funds to support our programs and services.

In case you may have forgotten, the secondary school cafeteria is not a quiet space. During the lunch hour, the cafeteria was loud and bursting with energy in every direction. The students rose to the challenge, managing a line-up at their bake sale table while distributing pamphlets and starting conversations with fellow students about the support available to them at Head & Hands. According to the students, their biggest challenge was attracting youth to the table, because many of the youth in their school didn’t know about Head & Hands yet.

Their creative pitch: $1 for a brownie, and to help us make sure you have support in your adolescent lives!

This week’s fundraiser was part of a year-long project that the students are working on, with support from Madame Blondin. According to the students, they wanted to get involved with Head & Hands because we’re in their neighborhood, and we help people who are their age.

Earlier in the school year, they came to Head & Hands for a tour of our programs and services. They met the team, and talked about what it means to work in solidarity with an organization. They learned about our holistic and harm-reductive approach, and why it is so important to have youth services that meet youth where they’re at, so that they could become advocates for Head & Hands in their school and community. They have outreach and fundraising activities planned throughout the year, including a car wash coming up in the spring!

We truly love when youth get involved in supporting other youth in our community. No effort is too small, and everyone has something to contribute. We’re thrilled that these Ecole St. Luc students are learning fundraising skills, and becoming advocates for youth health in Montreal!

If you would like more information about how to become involved with our Solidarity through Action campaign, here are guides for students and the general public

 

 

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Ten Tips for Keeping your Vagina Healthy and Happy!

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The vagina is an amazing sexual and reproductive organ. Most of the time vaginas are really good at taking care of themselves. Sometimes though, harmful bacteria and parasites are introduced into the vagina and its surrounding areas, which can result in unpleasant infections such as yeast, bacterial vaginosis (BV), urinary tract infections (UTIs), and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Here are a few helpful tips to keep your vagina happy and healthy!

Health Services Coordinator Jos with a Happy and Healthy (albeit fabric) Vagina!

Health Services Coordinator Jos with a Happy and Healthy (albeit fabric) Vagina!

1) Wear cotton underwear. Avoid synthetic materials like polyester so your vagina can breathe.

2) Wash your hands. Remember to wash your hands before you insert a tampon or menstrual cup, before masturbating and/or having sex. Ask your partner(s)s to wash their hands before sex too.

3) Avoid getting soap inside your vagina. Soap can upset your vaginal flora, so best to wash your genitalia with just water.

4) Don’t douche. Douches often contain irritating perfumes and can flush out the flora that you need to maintain a healthy vagina. Douching can lead to an infection or help spread an infection farther into the reproductive system, so best to not do it.

5) Wipe from front to back after you pee. There can be harmful bacteria hanging around your bum, don’t bring it forward to your sensitive parts! Use the same logic when it comes to anal sex. If a penis, toy or finger has been in your bum, don’t put it in your vagina afterwards without washing it or putting a new condom on it.

6) Pee after sex. This helps to flush out any bacteria that could have entered the urethra during sex, helping to prevent UTIs. Drinking cranberry juice can help prevent UTIs as well.

7) Eat plain yoghurt! It contains active bacterial culture that is good for your vaginal health and helps to prevent yeast infections. It’s an especially good idea to eat yogurt (ideally without sugar) anytime you’re taking antibiotics because they can make you more prone to yeast infections. If you don’t eat yogurt, you can also get acidophilus in pill form at your local health food store.

8) Use a condom. Penises and shared sex toys can introduce harmful bacterias into the vagina, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea (and other STIs). Be safe, use a condom if you’re having penetrative sex. And make sure to get tested regularly.

9) Never leave a tampon in for longer than 6-8 hours. Leaving a tampon in for too long can result in toxic shock syndrome (TSS), which can be fatal. Avoid sleeping with tampons in. Consider using pads or menstrual cups (like the Keeper or Divacup) instead. Menstrual cups can be left in for up to 12 hours.

10) Get to know your vagina! Look at it with a mirror. Get to know how it looks, smells and tastes. It’s normal for your vagina to have a slight odour and some discharge. Your discharge will change somewhat throughout your menstrual cycle and when you are sexually aroused. While you’re at it, get to know your menstrual cycle too (you can track it on a calendar, or there are lots of free period apps now for smart phones!). Pay attention to what’s normal for you, that way if ever something is out of the ordinary (like increased discharge, a funny smell, itchiness or irritation, pain, bumps/sores/rashes, abnormal bleeding and/or a late period), you’ll know to get it checked out.

Spread the Love with Head & Hands: Printable Cards!

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Valentine’s Day is coming up, and if your idea of a good time doesn’t include celebrating the free market in the name of love, we have a solution for you! Why buy chocolates filled with sugar and laced with capitalism when you can support Head & Hands instead?

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Allow us to re-introduce you to our most adorable fundraising campaign yet: Give the Gift! When you donate online through Give the Gift, you’ll receive a set of cards, custom-designed by youth artist J’VLYN. They’ll be ready to print to give to your lovers, friends, exes, crushes, siblings, and distant relatives! Really, there’s no need to limit your love or your donation. Give to everyone to help us meet the growing need for our medical, social, and legal services!

Gifts of all sizes make a difference to Montreal youth:

$15 provides 2 days of healthy food for a young family
$25 funds one counselling session
$50 covers the cost of 5 after-school tutoring sessions
$75 allows us to give one sexual health workshop to a group of youth
$250 puts our Street Worker in the community for 15 hours of outreach, distributing clean needles, crack pipes, and condoms
$500 foots the bill for one week of evening medical clinics

Give the Gift! There’s no better way to declare your love for Head & Hands!

Want some cookies (not laced with capitalism!) to go with your card? Support the Young Parents’ Program and order some yummy cookies!

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*French translation coming soon*


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Celebrate Black History with Head & Hands!

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February is Black History month in Canada!

We believe that Black history is everyone’s history, and every day is Black history day. With that in mind, we want to share some ways you can get involved in the interesting cultural, musical, and other events that mark Black History month!

There are so many events throughout Montreal in celebration of Black History Month! You can visit the official website of Black History Month in Quebec  for a calendar of events.  As well, Dawson College is organizing a lot of programming around Black History month. Check out their Facebook page for more information. The Hive has made a beautiful poster listing events you’ll probably want to go to this month, and it’s not too late to catch the last event of the Fro Festival: a reading by poet Akua Naru.

Here at Head & Hands, we’re celebrating Black History Month with exciting activities at Jeunesse 2000 (J2K). The theme at J2K this month is, “You are Black history.” J2K Coordinator Neil explains that the goal is “to increase knowledge and conversation and to acknowledge the contributions of Black people to strengthen the community.” As Neil puts it, in a knowledgeable and strengthened community, “Black history would be every day.”  Come to J2K this Thursday for a presentation from our Legal Coordinator Ralph on traffic lights, gas masks, and other inventions by Black inventors. There will also be “Cinema Noir” film screenings (with snacks!), dance classes, and more! See the J2K Calendar for the exciting list of events happening the whole month!

J2k Calendar

If the snow is getting you down, and you’re just not up for leaving your apartment, you can still learn about Black history with our two film recommendations, a documentary on journalist, suffragette, and Civil Rights leader Ida B. Wells, and a film on Madame C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire in America!

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