Head & Hands Blog

SERVE 2016 IS HERE

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Is there a better feeling than the excitement that  comes from putting our gloves and coats back into our closet for the next six month, and saying goodbye to the boots we pranced around in all winter long?

It’s finally time to welcome Spring, and of course, the arrival of a new season is usually coupled with the welcoming of new and exciting challenges.

For people like me who have missed out on accomplishing their early New Year’s resolutions  (like heading back to the gym or starting to eat healthier) thankfully the arrival of buds can often be a second chance for new beginnings, thus creating an improved and empowered versions of ourselves.

On my side, I am ‘in ’between beginning my contract as a new Serve coordinator and ‘’restarting’’ my diet left between the doors of February and March.

The countdown has begun! For the next few months,  with the help of our dynamic and motivated team, we will work together, mixing all the best ingredients to make the 11th  annual Serve an amazing experience.

Serve is an initiative that we put on for old and new friends of Head & Hands, but for those who are hearing it for the first time, let me give you a little introduction:

Serve is the fundraising idea of the century!  It’s the perfect fusion of community action and education. Through this volleyball tournament, bars and restaurants  face off to fundraise for the Sense Project, our sexual education program.  In 2005, the Quebec government removed sex education as a mandatory part of the curriculum, so Head & Hands created the Sense Project to fill that gap.

Let me give you 5 kicking good reasons why you should be at Serve on July 24th.

  1. Bow down’’ to the sand: if you’re like me and you hate that annoying crunching noise of boots on snow, Serve is the perfect time to enjoy the beach volleyball courts and to let the little grains of sand caress your feet.
  2. Combine the useful and the enjoyable, by supporting a good cause: help us in our mission to inform and educate our youth! The Sense Project is coordinated by amazing animators who travel around Montreal responding to youths’ questions and giving workshops.
  3. Take the chance to be carried away by new smiles: if you’re like me and your winter has ended with a tough break-up, Serve will be a great opportunity to embrace all things new, because when you smile at life, life smiles back.
  4. Sip some refreshing beer or pop in the warm weather, definitely what we love most about summer.
  5. Allow yourself to cut loose a little, to step out of your daily routine : because every summer has its story.

#Sunscreen #sunglasses #beach #volleyball #drinks #Sunday: you’ve got all the #best #summer #hashtags at #Servemtl. Mark July 24th into your schedule and come share in the fun.

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Give the Gift: A Love Letter for Head & Hands

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Give the Gift: A Love Letter for Head & Hands

happy valentine's!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

For the past seven months, I have been working at Head & Hands as a Special Events and Fundraising Assistant, and what a journey has it been. Although, it is now time for us to part ways, it certainly is not the end of one of the healthiest most wonderful, and rewarding relationship, I have ever experienced. It has been a labour of love from beginning to end, every second spent at H&H has been magical. Of course, I was already quite familiar with the organization, but I did not expect to be this enthralled. From the first moment I stepped foot into the office, I fell in love with the staff, the clients, its mission, programs and services, and even its oddly charming offices.It has never been a chore to get up in the morning to go work, because I know that every day is filled with a degree of excitement. It is with great sadness that I have to  leave the first job that I actually genuinely loved and enjoyed, but it only makes me appreciate the organization even more. My time at H&H has truly been a life-changing experience that I will forever cherish, and from the bottom of my heart I thank H&H not only for all that it has given me, but for all of the amazing work it does for its clients and the community. In my heart H&H is the best nonprofit organization out there, and it deserves all the support it can get.

Whether or not one could argue that Valentine’s day has been commercialized and is no longer representative of a celebration of love, the presence of love all around us is undeniable, and with everything happening around the world, there is no harm in being reminded that love is the most powerful and positive energy in the universe. Love and compassion are the driving force that compels us to work for social change. Although some of us tend to ignore the holiday all together, out of principle, a lack of interest, or because we are single, it is of the utmost importance to take a second to think about everyone we appreciate, and most of all take care ourselves. Ok so, Valentine’s Day is just like every other day, and we should celebrate love on a daily basis, but if you have been forgetful lately, why not use the day as an excuse to take yourself out on a date,  treat yourself to something nice, or just do something that makes you feel good? Give the Gift is a great way to make you feel good about yourself, and also a way of making a difference in your community, by supporting Head & Hands (H&H).

If you care about H&H and its clients as much as I do, Valentine’s Day is a wonderful occasion to show your appreciation and devotion to the organization by “giving the gift” of making a difference and making yourself feel good in the process. Give the Gift  to everyone to help us meet the growing demand for our medical, social, and legal services! This past year alone, our health services were accessed by over 1,200 youth, close to 6,520 clean injection kits were distributed by our Street Worker, and an estimated 309 people registered for the emergency food pantry. No matter who is on the receiving end, there is nothing more satisfying than the goodness that comes from a donation being made in one’s honour to support youth in our community.

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 outre
  • ach, distributing clean needles, crack pipes, and condoms
  • $500 foots the bill for one week of evening medical clinics

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Solidarity Through Action: Spotlight on Third Eye Ensemble

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Solidarity Through Action: Spotlight on Third Eye Ensemble

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Solidarity Through Action encourages students as well as the public to lead peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns and special events in their communities to help support Head & Hands. We all share common  goals, ideas, and the belief that the causes we hold dear are worth “our” time and effort. The desire to bring about social change is that common ground that creates unity and compels us to work together in solidarity.

The Third Eye Ensemble (TEE) truly understands the meaning of solidarity. As a non-profit theater company that dedicates itself to producing engaging and thought-provoking material, TEE consistently works to not only help create meaningful work for artists themselves, but to also help community organizations, including Head & Hands (H&H).

Co-Founder and Artistic Co-Director Anne-Marie Saheb says that the TEE is “an artist founded company whose mandate is to produce work that challenges audiences to fully explore common perceptions about social, political, and environmental issues”.TEE supported  H&H by donating funds raised from the production of the play Blue/Orange because of our commitment to the  physical and mental health of Montreal’s youth.

Blue/ Orange is a provocative,  satirical comedy that centers around racial dynamics and mental illness. Anne-Marie, graciously provided H&H  with an exclusive interview on third-party fundraising, the ensemble, and its relationship with community organizations.

H&H: How and why was the Third Eye Ensemble created?

TEE: The idea started with Frederick Ward (Founding Father and Chairman Emeritus of TEE) and a few emerging artists who sought to develop as actors, directors, writers, and producers, with the intention of providing a platform for recent graduates of the DOME (Dawson College Theater) to produce independent theater.

TEE was established in 2011 when we introduced ourselves to the community by presenting our inaugural production of The Exonerated, which involved the 13 actors of the ensemble.

The Ensemble’s core has adapted, to the ever-changing careers and lives of its members. We now find ourselves where we are today, with myself and Jaa as Artistic Co-Directors. Throughout this process, our mission statement remains the same:

“To persevere in our artistic service to humanity, never cloud imagination with facts, but to be truthful in our testimony.”  – FREDERICK WARD

H&H: Why did you choose Head & Hands as the recipient of the funds raised by the ensemble?

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TEE: I had the privilege of directing our production of Blue/Orange, a play by Joe Penhall, touching on cultural differences and mental illness. In looking for a local organization that could benefit from a portion of our proceeds as well as have a particular interest in the story we were telling, I came across Head & Hands.

It is vital for members of a community to support each other, exchange ideas, and transfer knowledge by stimulating communication and bridging gaps between information and understanding. Communities, in turn, thrive on each other’s discoveries. Humanity then inevitably benefits and grows. As non-profit organizations, both Head & Hands and the Third Eye Ensemble want to see a healthy society in which we empower every individual with the resources required to stay healthy.

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H&H: Why did you get involved with Solidarity Through Action?

TEE: The survival of non-profit organizations depends on people who feel compelled to support them. In order to feel compelled, people must first know these organizations exist and for that, organizations must reach out to the public and share why they do what they do, tell people what they believe in.The key to reaching out is to develop contacts outside of immediate partnerships.Those exchanges can create a very supportive network and that’s a great environment for fundraising opportunities.

Head & Hands is extremely grateful to the Third Eye Ensemble for working in solidarity with others, to encourage social change while promoting youth empowerment through engagement.

Solidarity Through Action is a great way to get involved and support Head & Hands’ core programs and services. To find out more about Solidarity Through Action please visit our webpage “Run an Event” or contact Victoria, our Funding and Partnerships Coordinator at      514-481-0277 or  via e-mail at  funds@headandhands.ca  

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Give the Gift! Make a Difference

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Give the Gift! Make a Difference

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December is here, reminding us to be thankful for all that we have accomplished throughout the year. As we welcome the new year, celebrating all of the opportunities that lie ahead, why not give your loved ones the gift of making a difference? Give the gift! Show your appreciation for Head & Hands, and for the ones closest to you by participating in the most heartwarming fundraising campaign of the year, it’s perfect for the holidays.

When you donate online through Give the Gift, you’ll receive a package of custom-designed cards, ready to print at home and give to friends and family on behalf of each donation. Give the Gift was made possible thanks to two talented local Head & Hands supporters: web programmer, Danielle Bakhazi, and youth artist, J’VLYN.

Give the gift  to everyone to help us meet the growing demand for our medical, social, and legal services! Help us raise funds to provide youth with the opportunity to once again enjoy  the Young Parents Program (YPP) summer camp. Need more reasons to “give the gift”? This past year alone, our health services were accessed by over 1,200 youth, close to 6,520 clean injection kits were distributed by our Street Worker, and an estimated 309 people registered for the emergency food pantry. No matter who is on the receiving end, there is nothing more satisfying than the goodness that comes from a donation being made in one’s honour to support youth in our community.

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

Okay, so we’ve explained why it’s amazing. But how does it WORK?

ENG CARDSimply click this “Give the Gift” link to purchase a greeting card and spread the love!

All gifts of $20 or more will receive a tax receipt. If you have any questions, please contact Funding and Partnerships Coordinator at 514-481-0277, or gifts@headandhands.ca.

Happy Holidays from the Head & Hands team to all of you.

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Solidarity Through Action With Jam For Justice (J4J)

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On September 24th 2015, Jam for Justice (J4J) a little know non-profit student organization that organizes and hosts benefit concerts to support community organizations and Montreal’s local talent, took L’Alizé’s stage by storm to support Head & Hands. The crew took the initiative via Head & Hands’ peer-to-peer third party fundraising program Solidarity Through Action. The benefit concert focused on the MusikAddict program offered by Head & Hands’ very own Jeunesse 2000 (J2K) youth drop-in center. The production drew a significant crowd by showcasing acts such as MOOCH, Winterstone, as well as Magi Merlin, and   raised funds for our programs.

President Dave Fang, VP Michelle Shi, VP External Jamie Snytte, VP Design Prerna Ramaswamy, VP Internal Liang Chen, and VP Finance/Charity of the McGill Students’ Chapter of Jam for Justice Aidan Steinmetz-Wood, gracefully provided us with some insight into Jam for Justice. The team works wonders together and makes a concerted effort to promote social change through music..

J4J Crew

The J4J crew Michelle Shi, Aidan Steinmetz-Wood, and Toby Moore

H&H: Why did you decide to organize a benefit concert for Head & Hands specifically?

Aidan: For each benefit concert, all the execs research a charity that is important to them and that they want to donate to. We then have a meeting and vote on which one we all like best. For this concert, Head & Hands was actually my choice. My mom worked with you guys when she was in her twenties, so I looked you guys up and really liked what I saw. We really liked the idea behind the MusikAddict program that promotes musical growth in kids and teenagers, so we decided to donate to you guys.

 

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Magi Merlin

H&H: Why did you get involved with Solidarity Through Action by holding your own fundraiser?

Aidan: I think that third party funding is important because it supports charities that may not have the manpower to fundraise for themselves, and it helps expose the charities to the world. As a University chapter one of our main goals is to expose McGill students to local charities and initiatives. Many students are not from Montreal and just stay in the “McGill Bubble”, so they aren’t exposed to what’s going on in much of the city. Our concerts introduce these students to different charities and organizations that they can support or get involved with.”

Jam for Justice takes great pride in helping community organizations and its youth by showcasing local musical talent in innovative ways. Head & Hands is extremely grateful to Jam for Justice for working in solidarity with others, to encourage social change while promoting youth empowerment through engagement.   

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Mooch

Solidarity Through Action is a great way to get involved and support Head & Hands’ core programs and services. To find out more about Solidarity Through Action please visit our webpage “Run an Event” or contact our Funding and Partnerships Coordinator at 514-481-0277 or funds@headandhands.ca  

Please have a look at  the McGill Students Chapter of Jam for Justice‘s facebook page, as well at the Jam for Justice page to see their upcoming events, and the amazing work they have been doing. If you wish to join-in the efforts please feel free to consult their website jamforjustice.org

 

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Ça Marche 2015: A Big Thanks From Head & Hands to You!

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The Farha Foundation’s 23rd edition of Ça Marche (2015) was held on Sunday, September 27th, at Le Parterre du Quartier des Spectacles, where Head & Hands danced a whole 7km for the 8th year in a row.  What a beautiful, sunny day it was! The Head & Hands team was incredibly grateful to have been met by a gorgeous, lively crowd for Ça Marche.

We are so absolutely overwhelmed by the love and support we received throughout the campaign the Ça Marche campaign that expressions like “gee golly” come to mind! We couldn’t have done it without all your wonderful selves. 

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To the Farha Foundation, our staff, board members, volunteers, dancers, walkers, photographer, videographer, donors, and support system, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You all made this event amazing!

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We have currently raised an estimated $26,000 and the money is still coming in until December 1st . We’ll be sure to keep you posted on the total amount raised, and we’re hoping that with your help, we’ll soon be able to celebrate when we reach $30,000. Every donation counts toward supporting our medical clinics, peer sex-ed Sense Project, and all of our crucial  youth programming. The number of people who have stepped up to help support our programs and services for Montreal’s youth is simply amazing!

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5 Reasons to Support Head & Hands’ Ça Marche Campaign!

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It’s finally that time to put on your dancing shoes and join Head & Hands (H&H) for Ça Marche 2015. Together we will continue the dancing tradition we began back in 2008. You might ask yourself why you should dance for seven kilometers on a Sunday morning. Well, besides the fact that it’s a wonderful occasion to get in shape with this one of the kind intense cardio workout or that it’s a good way to send off the summer and welcome the fall,  Ça Marche supports our crucial services, which were accessed  almost 30, 000 times last year! Let’s explore some more reasons why you should participate in Ça Marche 2015:

 

1)Our medical services provide youth between the ages of 12-25 the necessary tools to make informed decisions. This past year, our health services were accessed by over 1200 youth, many of whom come to our clinic because lack of health insurance, financial resources, stigma, or discrimination prevent them from accessing services elsewhere. Our approach is non-judgmental, holistic and confidential — welcoming to each and every one of our clients!

 

2)When the rights to a life-saving drug like Daraprim, which is mostly used to treat immunodeficiencies such as AIDS, can be bought by one individual who can single-handedly raise its price from $13.50 to $750 a pill, the presence of NGOs and community organizations becomes that much more relevant. Head & Hands, like other community organizations, fills-in the gap. When you think about how the HIV/AIDS pandemic is still affecting an estimated 20,000 Quebecers, it is even more of a reason to take part in the Farha Foundation’s annual HIV/AIDS walk —  to not only raise awareness, but to help fund programs that are aimed at HIV prevention and harm-reduction like our health services.

 

3)This past year, over 300 people registered for the emergency food pantry — a 46% increase from the previous year!! During times of economic uncertainty, the demand for affordable food increases! Our food pantry is unique in Montreal because you don’t have to show ID or proof of address in order to access it, making it accessible to everyone who needs it!

 

4)The Street Work outreach program is the only one its kind in the bourough of Notre-Dame-De-Grâce (NDG) , and this year we’ve distributed over 6, 000 clean injection kits!

 

5)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.

 

And of course, there are so many more reasons to support us that we didn’t have room to include!

 

Please join us on Sunday, September 27, at le Parterre du Quartier des Spectacles for the Farha Foundation’s annual HIV/AIDS walk, Ça Marche 2015.

 

Thank you for supporting Head & Hands by donating HERE.

 

*French translation coming soon!

Why Join Ça Marche 2015? Because Sex Ed Makes Sense

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While watching our very own Funding and Partnerships Coordinator, Victoria, lead an interview featured on CBC News’s The National where she discussed the importance of sex-ed and our sexual health services, I felt an immense sense of pride to be working for an NGO that really makes a difference in the community. Since the 2005 Secondary School Reform which effectively removed sex education from the school curriculum in Quebec, regular school teachers who don’t always have the expertise necessary to properly educate young people have been providing informal sex-ed classes. It has become abundantly clear that projects such as our peer-based sex-ed program, The Sense Project, now active in 13 schools are more essential than ever. As Victoria puts it, “Training is so important! You would never send an untrained math teacher into a classroom.” This lack of education is perhaps reflected in the Institut National de Santé Publique’s 2013-2014 statistical report on Québec sexual health, which shows that the Chlamydia incidence rate within the 15 to 24 demographic has steadily increased. Nevertheless, sex-ed is not only a matter of educating youth about STDs, issues concerning consent, body image, sexual orientation, cultural sensitivity, quality and gender identity are equally important which is why The Sense Project is so valuable.

While Québec’s provincial government is reviewing its sex-ed policies and deciding on whether to implement its mandatory sex- ed pilot project, programs such as The Sense Project which has developed comprehensive workshops, definitely help fill in the gap.

Every year we raise money for HIV prevention, education, and support services for youth. Ça Marche is more that an annual HIV/AIDS walk; it is vital for the simple fact that funds raised during this time will help finance core programs and services such as the Sense Project!

You can sign up here to join the fundraising team!

Or donate to the team here!

Social Counsellor Rhonda Discusses ÇA MARCHE 2015

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Over 330 youth accessed free and ongoing mental health support through Head & Hands (H&H) during the past year. The success of this amazing social counselling program can in large part be attributed to social counselor Rhonda, H&H’s very own “mother hen.” Rhonda has dedicated fourteen years of her life to the organization and loves every minute of it. We recently sat down with Rhonda to discuss Ça Marche and her work.

H&H: What do you enjoy the most about working for H&H?

Rhonda: This is a very special place; our services are very important and they make a difference. I’m really privileged to work here. My favorite part is working with the clients. I love to be invited on their journeys of self-discovery, and to be able to help them through these journeys. My work allows me to explore the many ways in which we impact one another.

H&H: Why is participating in Ça Marche important to you?

Rhonda: I guess, it’s always been what I have considered my personal project…like in terms of fundraising at Head and Hands, it’s a campaign I really get on. We’re so lucky that the Farha Foundation organizes this great fundraiser that allows us to raise money for our programs and services. I also have some personal history with the Farha family: “Ronnie” Farha and I shared backyards, he was just a bit younger than me, and adorable, just adorable. His mother (Evelyn) was just so lovely, and they moved away but my mother kept in contact. Sadly, Ronnie passed away from AIDS.

H&H: So for you participating is like paying tribute to Ron?

Rhonda: Yeah, as a tribute to “Ronnie” and his mom, because to lose a child is so devastating,and also because Ron contracted HIV in the early years, and we’ve come so far now. So yeah, I walk and I tell people about how important Ça Marche is to raise money for Head and Hands’ services, including our medical services which provide HIV/AIDS education and screening to Montreal youth. Not everybody can join us the day of the march, so I say I will walk for you (donors). I strongly belive in the work we do. I carry a heart with me on the day of  Ça Marche. This year I will invite donors for a tea party at my apartment, and make cakes. So this year the tea party will be at my house!

H&H: Any word of advice for people fundraising this year?

Rhonda: Look at it as an opportunity to contribute. The attitude is important, this is my big time of the year. I really push for this one.

There you have it — some great words of wisdom from Rhonda, who passionately invests herself in Ça Marche every year to raise money for the organization that is the closest to her heart.

To join our team or support our efforts, click here!

 

Ça Marche 2015: A Day to Remember

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Hey everyone!

Let’s welcome fall, and say “goodbye” to summer with an epic dance-party!

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My name is Marie and  as the new Special Events and Fundraising Assistant , I’m happy to invite you to join us for our 2nd biggest fundraiser of the year: Ça Marche.  Join-in on the fun, dress up, and dance the day away. This mega dance-party will be held on Sunday, September 27, at Le Parterre du Quartier des Spectacles, situated at metro Place-des-arts, Montréal’s cultural epicenter. Help us raise $30,000 to finance our core programs and services for 2015-2016, including our medical clinics that offer youth HIV prevention, education, and testing, our social and legal services, and the Sense Project, our peer based sex-ed project, and J2K – our teen drop-in center!

Can you believe that our programs and services were accessed over 28, 000 times by almost 7,000 youth last year? We want that to continue. With your generosity and valuable time you will also help raise awareness to the HIV/AIDS pandemic still affecting an estimated 20,000 Quebecers.

Besides the fact that Ça Marche is the second biggest fundraiser of the year, and will give you a chance to show off your dance moves, and meet new people, it is also being held on what happens to be a pretty cool day.

Here are some fun facts about other social justice events and innovations that have taken place on September 27th:

  • on September 27, 1954, public school integration began in Washington D.C.and in Baltimore M.D.
  • the launch of Google on September 27, 1998, completely altered the way people interact with one another creating a “global village” that makes it a whole lot easier to unite for causes we care about….like.. Ça Marche!
  • on September 27, 2012, the Mars Curiosity Rover discovered evidence of an ancient fast-moving streambed on the surface of Mars, proving that there not only once was a body of water on the planet, but that life could exist beyond planet Earth. In my opinion, this could be used as a reminder that as the only known advanced civilization, ‘we’ should show other potential lifeforms that when we cooperate together we can accomplish great things, like raising 30K for Head & Hands!

  •  Finally, the lead singer of one of my favorite bands Sleater-Kinney, and founding member of the revolutionary Riot Grrrl    movement , Carrie Brownstein was born on September 27, 1974.

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At this point, I am sure that all of you really wanna get involved, and this is how you can do so:

Simply sign up here to join our fundraising team:

 Click this link. Do it now. Greatness awaits you! 

Then create a profile and collect pledges. You can also donate in person at Head & Hands (5833 Sherbrooke O). All gifts above $20 will receive a charitable tax receipt. Your presence at the event will of course also be greatly appreciated.

Please join in on the fun, dress-up, show off your dance moves, help us maintain all of our amazing programs and services, and spread the word!

If you have questions please contact Marie at: specialprojects@headandhands.ca

Thank you for all of the support.

We will see you all on the 27th !