Archive for the ‘General’ Category

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!

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!

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: Steph Guico

Steph at work!

Steph at work!

“Head & Hands gives to local youth on a daily basis in innumerable ways, and my small contribution is the least I can do to say thank you. Head & Hands was a no-brainer when it came to deciding on a worthy place to dedicate my ‘latte fund’ to!”     – Steph

Allow us to kick of this sixth annual monthly donor drive with Steph, longtime supporter of Head & Hands and current President of our Board of Directors! Steph first heard about Head & Hands while volunteering with SACOMSS: “Back then H&H was a constant source of resources, allieship and inspiration… and it still is!”

Although we have a hard time imagining this firecracker having a lazy afternoon, Steph swears she spends them binging on Netflix and reading like the rest of us. Then again, she also GETS UP BEFORE SUNRISE and then fills her days with about a million amazing projects. Meet Steph Guico, dear readers!

Name: Stephanie Guico

Monthly donor since: April 2012

I fill my days with: Sunrises before anything. Then tea. Then? Dividing my time between community organizing, cooperative management, and building a course curriculum in business management and community accountability.

If I won a trip anywhere in the world I would: Go back to the Phils!

Top three things you’d want to have with you on a desert island: A loom, a notebook and a mirror… don’t want to be stuck there forever!

As a teenager I: Oh no, you went there. I’ll put it like this: I didn’t quite fit anywhere, so I found ways of building custom-made places for myself. Oh, and I was watching a lot of Dawson’s Creek when I should have really been watching more Buffy.

Why did you sign up as a monthly donor? I first plugged into donations through the Ça Marche campaign. Seeing the team’s dedication to fundraising and their creativity in finding ways to hook people in made it hard to resist! After realising that I could still round off my month “despite” that donation, I figured I’d work a monthly donation into my budget. It seemed more sustainable, committed and realistic than doing a large one-off donation, and I barely notice it go through my account now.

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

March’s monthly donor mayhem!


This March, it’s  monthly donor mayhem at Head & Hands! Each week on the blog, we’ll be introducing you to some of the amazing people that donate monthly to Head & Hands and keep this place flourishing! We’ll also be engaging in the pandemonium needed to sign up thirty new monthlies by March 31!

In the last year, about $21, 000 of our budget came from 96 monthly donors, who gave in increments ranging from $3-$125 each month.  Becoming a monthly donor is one of the best ways to contribute to Head & Hands 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.

Gifts of all sizes make a huge difference, and we hope you’ll help us reach our goal by signing up or helping spread the word! Visit our “Give Monthly” page for more information, or to sign up! And if you have any questions, our Fundraising and Development coordinator Juniper is always there to answer them, at or 514-481-0277!

What’s up with Street Work: 4-month update!


Last October, we re-launched our Street Work program after a 2-year hiatus, restoring this essential service to our community. Since then, Sara, our Street Worker, has been back on the streets of NDG, bringing our harm-reductive services outside the Head & Hands office and straight to the young people who need her support. We’re excited to share with you some exciting updates about Street Work’s first 4 months back in action!

Sara has been busy giving on-the-spot support, clean needles, crack kits, condoms, and safer-sex and drug use information to youth in NDG.  So far, she has already met with 230 new clients, and has provided 1,425 clean needles 2,151 condoms, and 37 crack kits. From just 4 months of work on the streets, it is clear to us that Street Work is addressing a serious need in our community that would not otherwise be met.

During these cold winter months, Sara has kept busy visiting neighborhood schools and group homes, dropping by to say hi, meet youth, and distribute condoms and information. Sara has also given several harm-reduction and drug workshops to youth in schools and group homes. She wants youth to leave her workshops drug-savvy, and tells participants that she wants them to “be that friend in your friend group” that folks can come to for information.

In the coming months, Sara is looking forward to giving workshops at Jeunesse 2000, our teen drop-in center, and visiting more community centers and teen drop-in spaces in the neighborhood. She is also looking forward to the warmer months, where she will be able to meet more youth in parks and outdoor spaces!

Visit Street Work’s brand-new page on our website to learn more about the services Sara offers, check out other resources on harm-reduction, and learn how you can support Street Work and help keep the program alive!

Meditation at the YPP


Parenting is hard work! Last Wednesday, YPP participants took some much needed time to calm their minds and bodies with a meditation and pajama day…babies included, of course!