Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Dancing for social justice!


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!


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 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!

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


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!



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.


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!



If you’d like to donate directly to the YPP, please contact Allyson (

Painless Pee Tests for Penises


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!




Why Are you Walking (*dancing), Richenda?



This month, we are interviewing some of our walkers to see why they are participating in Ca Marche, a crucial fundraising event for us at Head & Hands. We’re so grateful to all of them, and are curious to know what motivates them!

This week’s Ca Marche walker:


H&H: Who are you and what do you do at Head & Hands?

R: Well, I’m new! I started here at the end of July, and I couldn’t be more excited to be here! My job as Fundraising Administrator is to process all the donations that come into the organization, and write text for thank you cards to our donors.

H&H: That’s awesome. Tell us more about yourself! What’s your favourite food?

R: Well I’m currently a student at McGill University, majoring in Women’s studies, where I’m also a member of the Black Students Network. And as for a favourite food, I’m going to have to go with a cliché: chocolate!

H&H: So you’re participating in Ça Marche this year. What are your thoughts! What are your feelings!

R: Indeed I am! All of our super amazing services that we offer at Head & Hands need funding from fundraising campaigns, but I admit that I love the idea of getting to dance down the street in Montreal! And dressing up! All of our core programming benefits from this fundraiser, including awesome work we do towards HIV education, prevention, and testing!! Head & Hands has had to turn away 200 people from its clinic this year, and often these are people without health insurance or queer and trans people who may face judgement elsewhere. We don’t want to have to turn people away! So give us money! We have a week left! Please and thank you with chocolate on top.

H&H: I know we’re all excited for the dancing too. So now the second-most important question: what will your costume for Ça Marche be?

R: You’ll just have to come out on September 27th to see! But I am currently taking suggestions.

H&H: So let’s say after reading this, someone feels moved to donate right away? How would they go about doing that?

R: What a great question. You can sponsor me personally right here OR sponsor the whole Head & Hands’ team of sexy fundraising dancers right here.

#TBT: MTL’s First Trans* Rights March


trans march 1

Today on the blog, we’re looking back to August 10, when almost 400 members and allies of Montreal’s trans* community took to the streets to demonstrate our strength as a community and call upon the Quebec government to follow through on its commitments towards respecting trans* rights.  This powerful event was  organized by the collectif Participes, a recently-formed group of dedicated, creative, and inspiring trans* youth!

Last year, the government passed a law promising to alleviate the discriminatory barriers faced by trans* people who want to legally register their gender.  Almost a year later,  all clauses of this law have been put into action except the ones dealing with trans* rights.  Meanwhile, social and institutional discrimination against trans* people – from barriers to accessing hormone therapy to ongoing violence – remain widespread.  This article provides a more detailed overview of the many reasons we all gathered to march last month.

Here at Head & Hands, we were thrilled to participate in this historic action as part of our ongoing work to support trans* rights.  Did you know that 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? We also provide extensive free counseling to trans* youth and their families, and incorporate trans*-positivity into our sexual health education workshops through the Sense project!

Also!  Did you know that Head & Hands’ health services receive no government funding??  We rely on individual and community support to keep these services going, and we’re mobilizing this month to gather donations as part of our Ca Marche campaign!  If you’d like to join us and dance 7km through downtown Montreal on September 27th,  follow THIS link.  And of course, you can sponsor us directly by following THIS one!

Finally, some more rad pics from the day of the march…!

trans march 2 trans march 4 trans march 5




What’s up with J2K!?



J2K, our youth drop-in centre, is going through a bit of a space-related adventure this season! Jeunesse 2000 has been at the same location at 3770 Décarie for the past 23 years, in a building that belongs to the Ville de Montréal . A drainage issue with the pool over the summer has forced them to close the building for the next 3 months, in order to do some renovations. These changes have been in effect since September 8th, and should last until sometime in November.

In the meantime, J2K is relocating to the Manoir, where we will have a small drop-in space and gym access. All programming except for MusikAddict will take place at the Manoir on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pmand on Saturdays from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

For the month of September, MusikAddict sessions will be held at KoSA Academy on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Starting in October, and until we get our space back, we’re hoping to move MusikAddict to Westhaven Community Centre, which J2K has collaborated with and had a good relationship in the past.

For as long as we’re out of our space, J2K can be reached at 514-462-5944. Check out the J2K calendar for details about activities throughout the month of September, and see below for addresses and contact info for the Manoir, KoSA Academy, and Westhaven Community Centre.

Le Manoir (Comité Jeunesse NDG):

5319 Notre-Dame-de-Grace ave (corner of Decarie), 2nd floor, 1st door at the top of the stairs.

KoSA Academy:

2207 Beaconsfield ave. H4A 2G9


7405 Harley ave. H4B 1Y2 514-872-6134


“Why Are You Walking CA MARCHE?”, Part II: Lex Gill


There are SO many good reasons to dance the dance with us, so over the coming weeks, we will be interviewing some of our dancers to see why they do it!


Want to JOIN the Head & Hands team? Sign up HERE!!

Want to SEE last year’s epic dance moves? Check them our HERE!!

Want to DONATE? Donate HERE!!


This week’s walker:

LEX GILL! (To the right of the storm trooper)
Who are you, and how are you associated to Head & Hands?My name is Lex, and I’m a member of the board of directors at Head & Hands. I study law at McGill University and work for a civil liberties org. I can also do a handstand!

Why are you participating in Ca Marche?

One of the important things about Ca Marche is that events like it work to combat stigma around HIV/AIDS, and give us an opportunity to celebrate life, get inspired, and support amazing organizations doing rad work (like Head & Hands!). I’m participating in Ca Marche because I know it has an impact!

Why should others participate in Ca Marche?

Because we need your support! And also because it’s going to be tons of fun.

I also promised all my donors that if I met my first fundraising goal, I’d dress up like a fairy princess for the walk. Well, we blew right past that target and I had to increase my fundraising goal almost immediately, so you’ll definitely get to see me in wings and a tiara!

Say something about the importance of H&H and its health services within the Montreal community.

Head & Hands is one of the most amazing places in Montreal: it approaches health care and community work from a place non-judgemental, holistic support. Its work has had such a huge impact on the lives of so many young people—including my own.

Anything else you’d like to add about H&H or Ca Marche!

Do it! See you there September 27!