Head & Hands Blog

Throwback Thursday: DIY Divorce!


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

Head & Hands no longer offers DIY Divorce classes, but we do have a legal clinic where community members can speak with a family lawyer, and a legal coordinator who is there to help youth with all legal queries. In the last year alone, our volunteer family lawyers assisted with 157 cases!

Head & Hands is looking for new Board members!


Become a member of the Head & Hands Board of Directors!

Support our organization and community!

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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.

The Opportunity:

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)

Interested?  Find out how to apply here!!


2014 Board recruitment priorities:

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.

Hip-Hop with K. Heaven


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!

Volunteer Committee Call-Out: Serve 2014!



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.

Monthly Donor Drive Roundup: 22 Beaming Rays of Sunshine!


2014 Monthly Donor Drive

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!

Save the date: AGM on June 18th!


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!


Why I commit: Dr. Sam Freeman


Dr. Sam Freeman

“Head & Hands is the only organization of its kind in Montreal. Health is about so much more than what goes on in the clinic or hospital. Head & Hands gets that.” – Dr. Sam Freeman

Dr. Freeman signed up as a monthly in 2011, when he was still a medical student at the Université de Montréal. Today, Dr. Freeman is in the midst of his first year of a pediatrics residency at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, yet somehow finds the time to maintain his passion for soccer, the taste of home-grown Quebec Maple Syrup, and that new Arcade Fire album. We are also excited to announce that Dr. Freeman will be working and learning in the Head & Hands medical clinic in one of his upcoming rotations, and we can’t wait to show him around!

Monthly donor since: April 2011

I fill my days with: Work; playing, watching and reading about soccer; sitting in my neighbourhood café; watching whatever TV show I’m hooked on. 

As a teenager I was: Pretty excited to become an adult.

Top three things you’d want to have with you on a desert island: Good shoes, a knife (!), and a very long novel.

Song I have stuck in my head right now: It alternates between XO by Beyoncé and Afterlife by Arcade Fire

I can’t live without: A can of my uncle’s Quebec maple syrup in the fridge.

My advice for youth today: Try to do things without worrying about whether or not you’re good at them.

Want to be like Dr. Freeman and become a monthly donor before the end of our March monthly donor drive on March 31st? Visit our Monthly giving page, or give Juniper a call at 514-481-0277!

Meet the front-desk crew!


Volunteer Appreciation Party, March 2014

Meet our current group of front desk volunteers! After this winter’s 30-hour training, we’re up to sixteen wonderful people who are on the desk once a month or more at our main offices. Volunteers commit to one year with us, but in our third year running this program, we still have folks from our first ever front desk volunteer training working with us. We rely on these volunteers to give our Office Coordinators time off the desk: to supervise their colleagues, go to committee meetings, do community outreach and advocacy work, or take a day off. Front desk volunteers also support our programs in many different ways. Not only do they take on projects like funding research, calendar maintenance, and resource preparation, they also provide front-line support as part of our Information & Referral program. We love our front desk folks, and couldn’t do what we do without them!

Why I commit: Angie



“As a gal who grew up with a rough childhood, it kills me knowing how it feels to be lost and judged when you ask for help. If my bit helps one teen avoid having to figure it out alone, words cannot express how relieved I am to know they might be ok.” – Angie

Monthly donor Angie first found out about H&H in 2003 when she saw a sign in the window at our former home across from Girourd Park. After reading up on us, she promised herself she’d get involved, and that day came when Angie participated in a Zombie walk, where a group of undead supporters lurched their way around town to raise funds for H&H! Since then, Angie not only got involved as a monthly, but also organized a zombie-themed bowling fundraiser for us (!!) and regularly volunteers as an event photographer! And as a small piece of trivia, Angie is the only monthly who literally brings us her donation in person each-month. How’s that for community-based funding?!

Name: Angie Radczenko

Monthly since: June 2013

I fill my days with: I work full-time as a studio framing assistant, but my passion outside work is horror, photography, nature, astronomy and anything I get creative on!

Is there a particular Head & Hands program that you are passionate about? Off the top of my head it would be Sense, as I learned about sex through TV and my own research. I had no idea what a period was until I saw an episode of Roseanne when I was 14!

As a teenager I was: Messed-up, quite simply. I met good people at 16 (still friends today!), and changed schools (by myself, no easy feat!) due to bullying, and by 17 I started to see it gets easier :)

Top three things you’d want to have with you on a desert island: Nature guides to the region, deluxe Swiss Army knife, and a harmonica. (Did I take this one too literal, hehe?)

On a lazy afternoon I: Roam around the river hunting for critters and talking to strangers

I can’t live without: Oxygen (nuknuk)

My fave book, zine, magazine, blog: That’s a tricky one…I guess anything non-fiction and science/nature related, I’m a learning junkie :)

Want to be like Angie and become a monthly donor? Visit our Monthly giving page, or give Juniper a call at 514-481-0277!

Why I commit: Carly



“I want Montreal’s youth, especially those who live and love in the margins, to have a safe place to seek support.” – Carly

Monthly donor Carly’s relationship to H&H has truly blossomed since that fateful night in 2005 when she accidentally attended an H&H fundraiser titled “Dance Dance Revolution”, thinking she’d be playing the video game. From there, Carly says, “I got involved as a Sense animator and a board member in 2007. I got paps at the clinic. I prez’d the board for two years, which was the coolest and hardest job I ever had. I no longer live in Montreal, but I still give to H&H and encourage my loved ones to do the same.” Supporters like Carly, who know us inside and out, are truly one in a million, which is why we decided to profile her this month despite the 543km between us. Read on for more on her passions, her advice for youth today, and that celebrity crush that just smolders on.

Name: Carly

Monthly since: February 2014

 I fill my days with: helping create and spread sex ed resources for queer and trans youth, knitting, blogging about knitting, painting my nails, roasting cauliflower, reading tarot, boxing.

 Is there a particular Head & Hands program that you are passionate about? I think that what makes H&H so special is having so many services available with the same approach and values, so picking one out is hard. But I do have a tender spot in my heart for Sense. I want all youth to be able to make informed and empowered decisions about their bodies, and giving folks peer based, accessible, inclusive information is such a powerful way to facilitate that. Oh man, and Street Work! We all talk about meeting youth where they’re at; Street Workers *literally* do that.

Celebrity crush (dead or alive): Catwoman

Issues that I feel particularly passionate about: Probably too many.  Body autonomy; consent; prison abolition; dismantling white supremacy; unlearning transmisogyny; queering desire.

My advice for youth today: You’re the expert on your own self; only take advice from people who believe that.

Want to be like Carly and become a monthly donor? Visit our Monthly giving page, or give Juniper a call at 514-481-0277!