Archive for the ‘General’ Category

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!

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!!!

Donor News: Street Worker Sara Talks Suicide Intervention

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Since the re-launch of our Street Work program, Sara has been supporting youth through a variety of complex and sensitive challenges, including 14 suicide interventions. We sat down with Sara to learn more about how she is supporting these youth through their most difficult times.

"These feelings can be some of the hardest we as humans can feel."

“These feelings can be some of the hardest we as humans can feel.”

 

H & H: How do you know if someone is considering suicide?

I listen for certain key words or phrases like “hopelessness” or “things don’t matter anymore.” Often the client is someone I have an ongoing relationship with and I’ll notice that they’ve lost interest in the things they normally do. These are red flags. I’ll then ask them, “Are you thinking suicide?” or “Are you thinking of hurting yourself?”

H&H: How do clients react?

Usually, they’ll just say “yes” or “no.” Or they’ll say, “No, but I think about it sometimes.” I think if people are suicidal, they feel a lot of relief that someone is not afraid to talk about it.

H&H: If a client says that they are suicidal, what do you do?

I say, “I’m really worried about you right now. These feelings can be some of the hardest we as humans can feel. It’s understandable you are having feelings of hopelessness.”

If you’re worried someone’s going to kill themselves, and if they’re in a state of shock, sometimes it can be good to be directive, while still checking in to make sure they’re on the same page as you. I provide and explore options with them, such as going to a crisis centre. I talk through the process with them so they know what to expect. I also let them know that we can make the call together, and that I can be with them – they don’t have to go through this alone.

H&H: What kind of follow-up do you do?

I get their permission to build a network of support with them by connecting them with various crisis and relevant support services. I follow up with the person to see how meetings are going with the other organizations and ask if there are other areas in their life they are looking for support with.

In addition to our street worker, our social counselor Rhonda provides support for people thinking about suicide. Our holistic approach means that we draw on a variety of networks at Head & Hands and in the larger community to support those going through difficult times. 

If you or someone you know needs someone to talk to, you can contact Sara 514-377-9858 or call us at 514-481-0277 to make an appointment with our Social Counsellor, Rhonda.

You can also call Suicide Action Montreal at 514-723-4000 or Tracom at 514-483-3033.

 

Closure: 225 minutes for 225 million!

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Head & Hands will be closed on Monday, November 17th between the hours of 1:00 and 5:00 pm. Last year, after Quebec’s community organizations demonstrated a need for $225 million in additional funding, the previous provincial government committed to $162 million in funding increases. The current government has canceled even this modest commitment, and community groups across the province are joining together to express our outrage. There will also be a protest at Place Émilie Gamelin starting at 1:00 pm; attendees are asked to wear black. Feel free to access all our services as usual before 1:00 pm and after 5:00 pm on the 17th! We’ll be here at 10:00 am as usual, and will reopen at 5:00 to offer services until our usual closing time of 9:30 pm.

Dancing for social justice!

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Over the next few weeks, Head & Hands will be participating in TWO dance-actions, calling attention to different social issues affecting the youth in our community… and we want you to join us!!

The first event is taking place on Thursday, October 23rd.  We’re partnering with Project Genesis and the POPIR to challenge the Quebec Rental Board on their grossly unfair waiting times.  In theory, the Rental Board exists to protect the rights of both tenants and landlords.  When a landlord brings a complaint before the Board, it is usually addressed within 5-6 weeks.  Meanwhile, it often takes almost 2 years for the Board to address complaints brought by tenants!

So, what are we doing?  We’re gathering in front of the Rental Board offices and staging a zombie dance wake-up call!  In addition to the dozens of people joining from other groups, our H&H crew is planning to perform the choreography from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video, bringing our special touch to the event.

Interested in joining us?  We’re hosting a rehearsal to learn the dance together on October 22nd, from 5-7pm at the NDG Food Depot (2146 Marlowe, at Vendome metro).  It’s gonna be so fun!  Then, join us at 11am in Dorchester square (Peel metro) for the main event!

That’s not all, though… on Halloween, we’re co-organizing yet another event with the NDG Food Depot and several other community organizations, in solidarity with the National Day of Action against Austerity.  This second event is kicking off at 4pm on October 31, at the NDG Food Depot.  We’ll meet for a free meal and final preparations, before heading into the neighbourhood around 5:30pm.  We’ve got several rehearsals set up over the coming weeks, as outlined below… join us for as many as you want, and let’s dance in the streets together one more time before winter!

We see first-hand the growing need for strong social services to support youth who struggle with income, food, and housing insecurity.  By dancing through the streets of NDG with other groups who work to address the root causes of these issues, we’re gonna call on our community to affirm the need for our work and stand with us in the face of proposed funding cuts!

Rehearsal Schedule (single version)

 

Thriller Poster

Welcome, New Sense Animators!

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Sense Class 2014-15

 

We’re excited to introduce you to our 16 new and returning Sense Animators! These wonderful volunteers just finished their 33-hour-long training and are ready to head out to schools, community centres, and group homes to give sexual health education workshops to Montreal youth.

Led by Health Educator Gabrielle, and Sense Project Research Assistant Shanice, this training session familiarized our peer animators with the Sense Project’s holistic, non-judgmental and youth-centered approach. They were also provided with the tools, skills, and knowledge to facilitate discussions with youth around sexuality and sexual health.

One of the many essential elements to a successful training session is having copious amounts of food available and for that we’d like to thank the People’s potato, Nouveau Palais, Burritoville, Dépanneur Le Pick-up, Lola Rosa, and Aux Vivres, for supplying us with three weeks’ worth of delicious food!

As always, we invite YOUR school or community group to get in touch about booking workshops! We can do them in English or in French, and can provide harm reductive, non-judgemental drug education workshops in addition to our sex ed offerings. If we don’t already have a workshop or presentation that fits the bill, we can often create one that meets your health or sexuality needs! Just email Gabrielle at healthed@headandhands.ca. And if you want to volunteer as a Sense animator during the next academic year, keep an eye out for an application callout in the summer of 2015!

 

 

Ca Marche: Thank You High Fives for All!

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thank you high-fives to all!

thank you high-fives to all!

Thank you times a million! We are filled up to our ears with gratitude and love for all of you for contributing to this year’s Ça Marche! Thank you to the Farha Foundation, our staff, board members, volunteers, dancers, walkers, donors, and support system for making this event incredible!

We currently have raised $22,000 and the money is still coming in! We’ll be sure to keep you posted on the total amount, and we’re hoping, that with your help, soon we’ll be able to celebrate $25,000 and then….the big $30,000. The number of people who have stepped up to help support health and social services for youth is simply amazing! Every donation counts toward supporting our medical clinics, peer sex-ed Sense Project, and our other youth programming. You have all helped us celebrate Montreal’s youth and the lives of all those affected in some way by HIV/AIDS.

This past Saturday’s weather was nothing short of perfect with the sun shining brightly which allowed for some seriously hot spandex, drag, short shorts, and dresses. We took to the streets in our glittery glory and strutted our stuff to Phoebe’s wonderful dance choreography.

What a day! We can’t wait until next year, but before then, we’ll be releasing a video (stay tuned) and photos from our photographer, Angie.

*French translation coming soon!

Community contacts: The Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal

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http://www.nwsm.info/i/nwsm-logo.gif

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on a beloved sister organization, the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been able to connect with the NWSM more closely, which has been quite a privileged relationship! More specifically, Sarah, our Daytime Office Coordinator (whom you’ve already been introduced to!) has maintained a relationship with them. Since she joined our team in April, Sarah has been fostering relationships with various community organizations in Montreal.

This summer, Sarah’s had the chance to get a tour of the Native Women’s Shelter, meet their staff, and find out about their services. A few weeks earlier, their executive director Nakuset, who is also the Co-chair of the Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Network, came to Head & Hands to give our staff team an incredible workshop on the Resilience of Urban Aboriginals. They have also donated a substantial amount of pasta to our food pantry, for which we are extremely grateful!

The Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal is a multi-service non-profit located in downtown Montreal. Apart from providing shelter, food, and clothing to aboriginal women and their children, they hold a number of in-house programs and holistic services such as advocacy and support services, various types of counseling and therapy, workshops, healing circles, elder visits, ceremonies, and more. They also do outreach and prevention work. You can find out more about the amazing and indispensable work that they do on their website.

 

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

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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.

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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!

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If you’d like to donate directly to the YPP, please contact Allyson (ypp.pjp@headandhands.ca)

Painless Pee Tests for Penises

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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!

PEE

PEE