Head & Hands Blog

30 New Donors in 31 Days: Our March Monthly Campaign!

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It’s that time of year: the temperature is dropping, the snow is melting, and we’re gearing up for our Monthly Donor Campaign! As the days start to get longer, help Head & Hands continue our longterm relationship with our community by becoming a monthly donor! Our goal is to sign up 30 new monthlies in 31 days!!

We can’t stress how much we love our monthly donors! Each week on the blog, we’ll be introducing you to some of the amazing people who donate monthly to Head & Hands. Becoming a monthly donor is one of the best ways to contribute to our financial stability and ensure that we can be there for Montreal’s young people. Many of our most crucial services – including our legal services, medical clinics, info and referral program, and the Sense Project – receive no designated funding, and monthly donations go a long way towards keeping these services alive! In the last year, about $18K of our budget came from monthly donors, who gave in increments ranging from $5 to $200 a month!

Richenda, our Fundraising Administrator, with a thank you card for our monthlies!

Richenda, our Fundraising Administrator, with a thank you card for our monthlies!

Gifts of all sizes make a huge difference, and we hope you’ll help us reach our goal by signing up or helping us spread the word! Visit our “Give Monthly” page for more information, or to sign up! And if you have questions, contact our Fundraising and Development Coordinator Malaika at gifts@headandhands.ca or 514-481-0277.

We love our Volunteers!

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Are you one of our volunteers?

As you know, Head & Hands offers all kinds of services and resources to youth in our communities—a medical clinic, a legal clinic, a youth drop-in space, a young parents program, street work and risk-reduction support, dozens of sexual health workshops, popular education, and advocacy. We also have a comprehensive information and referral system, offer a food pantry, and provide counselling, tutoring, and instrumental support to youth and young adults from our local NDG community as well as across Montreal. Hundreds and hundreds of people come through our doors, reach out through email, and call us for support and resources. Our main office is open 11.5 hours a day, 5 days a week, with services offered at J2K on Saturdays as well!

How do we manage to do so much? VOLUNTEERS!!! OUR FANTASTIC RELIABLE AMAZING INSPIRING WONDERFUL  BRILLIANT VOLUNTEERS!!!! Whether you’ve given 2 hours once this year or dozens of hours multiple times, we couldn’t have done it without you. You are literally the reason we can run all of our programs and provide so much support to youth in our communities! Let’s be extra clear: You are at the heart of Head & Hands.

WE THINK YOU ARE AMAZING AND WE WANT TO TELL YOU!

SO WE ARE THROWING YOU A PARTY!

When: Friday, March 27th, 6:30 pm–9:00 pm

Where: Centre Communautaire St Raymond’s Community Centre, 5600 Chemin Upper Lachine (Metro Vendome + 90 bus or 104 bus or a 5-7 minute walk)

Who: You, other volunteers, and the Head & Hands staff – feel free to bring a plus one

What to expect: Light food and drinks, music, games, prizes, mingling

Accessibility information: St Raymond’s Community Centre is wheelchair accessible with an automatic door and elevator. There is a wheelchair-accessible, single-stall bathroom on the same floor as the event. Childcare will be available. Please let us know if you have any other accessibility requests by emailing eoc@headandhands.ca.

Please RSVP by March 14, 2014.

We hope you can make it!

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!

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

 

 

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?

FullSizeRender (10)

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*

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!

Take a few minutes to support trans rights in Québec!

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Trans Rights March

[Image from this past summer’s Trans Rights March in Montreal]

HI FRIENDS! ACTION REQUIRED!

About a year ago, the Québec government brought forward a law with some very exciting promises for trans rights… and we waited a year for the regulations needed to make that law an on-the-ground reality.

Those (proposed) regulations are now here, and… they suck.  They include several requirements that would place trans folks seeking to legally change their name at risk of serious harm.  This is not just disappointing – after so much promise, and such a long wait, it is infuriating.

GOOD NEWS: We can influence the politicians involved to change this regulation!  We can make it better!!  The H&H team has just sent letters to several of the ministers involved, and we’re asking you to do the same.

BONUS: It’s super easy, thanks to some amazing tools created by a collective of awesome trans activists (the same wonderful folks who wrote that analysis of the proposed regulations, linked above)!  Follow these links to download a template letter, as well as a list of contact details for all the government representatives working on this law.

You can send letters by mail or email!  When you do, please shoot a quick message to our friends at the Centre for Gender Advocacy (psa@genderadvocacy.org) to let them know what you’ve done in support of this important campaign.

 

THANKS, COMMUNITY!!!

Trans* Legal Clinic!

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Clinique juridique Trans* legal clinic logo

Do you want to change your name and sex designation legally and wish you had a bit of support navigating the bureaucracy involved?

ASTT(e)Q is hosting a Trans* Legal Clinic series and it might be a great place for you to find the legal support you have been looking for!

Community members, lawyers, and law students have come together to offer support to trans* folks wishing to legally change their name or sex designation. For the first few months, the clinic will be hosted by ASTT(e)Q, a trans health organization in Montreal. And we at Head & Hands couldn’t be happier about this initiative!

At Head & Hands, we support trans* youth and we respect people’s right to self-determination. We receive many first-hand accounts of how hard it is to not have the necessary identification to access things like housing, banking, school, work, food banks, and medical care. Using ID with the wrong name or sex designation can put people at risk and can cause emotional and physical harm. Having ID that properly reflects your name and presentation can make a big difference.

While not all trans* identified people want to change their name or designation of sex legally, many do, often because they face incredible barriers to accessing health and social services using ID cards incongruent with their chosen name and their gender presentation. However, even folks who have chosen make these legal changes may struggle to do so, frequently because the process is long and daunting. If you need support or information regarding your application process for legal name or sex designation changes, the Trans* Legal Clinic could be a good place to start!

This January marks the first in this series of legal clinics for trans* folks hosted by ASTT(e)Q to provide legal information and consultations on changing name and sex designation on identity papers. From now until May 25th, ASTT(e)Q will be hosting the Trans* Legal Clinic once a month during the ASTT(e)Q Monday night drop-in, 7–9 pm. Volunteer law students will provide legal information, with the volunteer supervising lawyer, Samuel Singer, offering free consultations. It is important to note that the clinic can only provide legal information and consultations about changing identity papers and not about other legal issues (check out the Head & Hands legal clinic if you’d like to see a lawyer about other issues). Appointments happen on a first come, first serve basis. The space is wheelchair accessible, and services are offered in both English and French.

Where:

ASTT(e)Q is located at 1300 Sanguinet, Montréal (between metros Berri-UQAM & St-Laurent)

When:

Monday, Sept 26th, 7–9 pm

Monday, Feb 23rd, 7–9 pm

Monday, March 30th, 7–9 pm

Monday, April 27th, 7–9 pm

Monday, May 25th, 7–9 pm

For more information on the Trans* Legal Clinic please contact cliniquejuridiquetrans@gmail.com

For more information on ASTT(e)Q please contact James McKye: james@astteq.org

Faggity Ass Saturday: Return to the Playhouse!

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faggity ass fridays january

For the past 8 YEARS, Faggity Ass Fridays (FAF) has brought party people onto the dance floor and straight into our hearts at Head & Hands. As Montreal’s longest-running queer dance party, FAF is forever young and forever grateful for all of the folks who come out every month to dance for social change.

2015 marks a new chapter for FAF: we’re moving venues, back to The Playhouse! The Playhouse saw our favorite little dance party grow into its fabulous self, and now we’re back, stronger than ever and ready to party.

On January 31st, come celebrate a new year and a new venue with us as Faggity Goes Homo, exceptionally on a Saturday this month.

As always, all donations collected at the door go directly to the Sense Project, Head & Hands’ holistic, sex-positive, and queer-friendly sex education program. We’ll  be on the dance floor, sweating and grooving to make sure Montreal youth get the sex education they deserve.

Unfortunately, The Playhouse is not wheelchair accessible. There is one flight of stairs into the venue. If you’re interested in specific measurements or more information about accessibility, please contact the host of the party at faggity@headandhands.ca

DJs:

JNNBNNRCK

J’VLYN D’ARK

Hostess: 

J’VLYN D’ARK

Saturday January 31st, 10pm-3am

18+

The Playhouse (5656 avenue du Parc) 

$10 suggested donation, PWYC, no one turned away