Archive for the ‘Info & Referral’ Category

Volunteering at Head & Hands

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We love our volunteers! They are amazing, solid, inspired, exciting, and  creative  members of our team and a huge reason we are able to do all that we do to support youth in our communities. We invited our volunteers to write testimonials about their experiences of volunteering for Head & Hands, and we are in awe of the words, stories, and beautiful insights they have shared with us. So today on our blog, we have chosen to highlight the voice of one of our amazing volunteers!  We have so enjoyed getting to know our volunteers and we know you will too!
When I first arrived in Montreal in 2012, I felt like a little boat adrift in unfamiliar waters. In Ottawa, where I had lived for the vast majority of my 23 years, I felt at home. Each downtown street in Ottawa is, for me, paved by memories and each bus stop is as familiar as my mom’s living room. I took for granted that I belonged to my community and my community belonged to me. In Montreal, suddenly I knew what it was to be a stranger, disconnected from my comfortable network. After a few months feeling anonymous and out-of-place, I realized that community is like anything else: the more you put into it, the more you get out. By volunteering at Head + Hands, I became connected once again. I learned that the heart (and the head, and the hands) of community is people taking care of one another. During my training, I became a part of my community by learning from wise peers. Sitting at the front desk, I became a part of my community by connecting people to resources, by being a welcoming face for a young person nervous to access a service they need. Deep in conversation with volunteers, staff, and clients at Head and Hands, I became a part of my community by listening to its collective needs and feelings, its diversity of opinions and goals. Today I feel like my little boat adrift at sea has docked in port and retired its sails for a while, because this lovely island is a place I can call home”. – Front desk volunteer

Big changes for our food pantry

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The thing I love about working the food pantry is getting to meet and chat with people while sharing food and resources!

Big changes are being made to our food pantry!!

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By providing a couple days’ food to folks who need it, the emergency food pantry is an essential piece of Head & Hands’ game plan towards fostering a healthy and food-secure community.

Like all our H&H services, we approach our food pantry from a non-judgmental and holistic philosophy- no questions asked! As an emergency food provider we understand that a major challenge for many people to access services like food resources is not having an ID – and we know there are many reasons why someone may not have ID. We don’t think that should be a barrier to accessing food. We do our best to make it as easy as possible for you to come in and grab what you need. The general process for the food pantry is pretty straight-forward: if you are between 12-25 you can pick a bag twice a month; if you’re over 25- you can come by once a month. You don’t need ID, proof of address, or proof of income! Let us know if you have kids – we offer extra for families! The pantry is divided in two sections – food that needs to be cooked, and food that doesn’t, because we know not everyone has access to a stove or kitchen.

Good news… We have expanded the food options available and have added soy milk to our pantry! And….

We are now accredited by Moisson Montreal, the largest food bank in Canada, whose mission is to redistribute food donations to community organizations. Their donations will not only increase our food pantry stocks but will also mean bigger and better things for our YPP collective kitchen and more food options at J2K!

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!!!

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

Check out Monster Academy!!!

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Are you under 25? Are you interested in talking about mental health?

Monster Academy might be the right fit for you!

Head & Hands has long been committed to combating the silence around mental health, a silence which can lead to isolation, alienation, stigma and criminalization. We think that conversations about mental health can be powerful and transformative, and we are pretty excited to introduce you to Monster Academy, an exciting new(ish) initiative launched in Montreal in June 2014.

Monster Academy is a social justice–oriented workshop series designed to provide accessible, anti-oppressive mental health skills training to youth in Montreal. It is also intended to open a restorative dialogue around the silencing and stigmatization of “being crazy” in the broader Montreal community. Monster Academy is based upon the principles of empowerment, harm reduction, respect for self and others, interdependence, mindfulness, and community serving community.

Here at Head & Hands, we believe in the power of youth as leaders, teachers, and educators. We believe in prioritizing and creating space for voices in our communities. These are shared values with Monster Academy.

Monster Academy offers a FREE 8-workshop course for youth aged 16 to 25. Workshops contain practical components such as self-care and mental health intervention skills, guided discussion on mental health–related topics, and other skills such as group animation. They also offer support to youth interested in developing their own community projects.

Monster Academy is currently accepting participants for the winter 2015 Monster Academy: Mental Health Skills for Montreal Youth program. Application deadline is January 31st! Click here if you are interested in more information or would like to take a look at the application.

Support Sex Workers at Dec 17th Action and Vigil

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ACTION SANTÉ, TRAVESTI(E)S ET TRANSSEXUEL(LE)S DU QUÉBEC (ASTTeQ), RÉZO AND STELLA, L’AMIE DE MAIMIE have invited sex workers, those who work with sex workers, and allies to join in a walk and vigil this December 17th, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

Last year, sex workers and allies celebrated a huge victory when the Supreme Court recognized that criminal laws contribute to systemic violence that sex workers experience, and declared those laws unconstitutional (check out this link for more information). This year, however, the federal government introduced a new set of laws (known collectively as C-36) which came into effect on December 6th and will once again cause harm to sex workers – compromising safety, security, and dignity.

C-36 is a big concern for us and the folks we work alongside with on a daily basis. We here at Head & Hands, an organization committed to harm and risk reduction, believe that C-36 will lead to increased surveillance and criminalization of marginalized and racialized communities – trends we are already fighting against! C-36 is a strong reminder as to the importance of our Street Work program, our legal clinic, our work against racial profiling, and our commitment to underscoring the strength and resilience of our communities. These laws also remind us that the fight for safe working conditions, decriminalization, and dignity for sex workers is rooted in demands to end to gendered, racialized, systemic violence. The fight continues.

With the passage of C-36 , we at Head & Hands, along with ACTION SANTÉ, TRAVESTI(E)S ET TRANSSEXUEL(LE)S DU QUÉBEC (ASTTeQ), RÉZO AND STELLA, L’AMIE DE MAIMIE are calling for people to come together  to demand safe working conditions for sex workers.

We encourage you to learn more about the incredible work STELLA is doing, about Bedford v. Canada, and about the devastating laws under C-36.

We are calling upon you to come out in numbers on Dec 17th to support sex workers and call for an end to gendered, racialized, systemic violence. We are looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!

 

When: December 17th, 2014, 4:30pm-5:30pm

 

Meeting point @ 4:30pm

Montreal Municipal Court

775 rue Gosford, Montréal

(Champs de Mars metro)

 

Vigil afterwards

Palais de Justice

1 Rue Notre-Dame East, Montréal

Community contacts: The Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal

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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.

 

Exciting new pamphlet resource!

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Head & Hands has a brand new resource, hot off the press, that we’re excited to share with you! This pamphlet complements every bag of food given out through our Emergency Food Pantry. The Food Pantry Pamphlet provides suggestions for combining food items and making meals out of them, as well as a comprehensive list of food security resources in Montreal. 

The emergency food pantry at Head & Hands aims to provide about a day’s worth of food, twice a month, to youth who are struggling with food security. This program has evolved over the years but some recent changes to the food pantry have made it more accessible.

Because some of our clients don’t have access to a kitchen or cooking supplies, we now have a section in our pantry for food that doesn’t require any cooking or kitchen tools. Instead of the usual pasta, canned sauces, vegetables, and soups, folks now have the option of getting pull-top meal cans, nuts, granola bars, juice, crackers, and other foods that don’t require any preparation.

This resource comes as a way of addressing the increase in demand for food security resources. Getting adequate access to food is an issue that many NDG and Montreal youth struggle with. Since we re-launched our Streetwork program, demand for our food pantry has more than doubled. As our Food Pantry is only an emergency service, we try to confront food insecurity though referrals as well. As such, this pamphlet lists close to 60 Montreal food resources categorized as either “food baskets” or “hot meals”.

Get the PDF version of the pamphlet here, or stop by our office to pick up a copy!

Meet Sarah!

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All of us at Head & Hands are so excited to welcome Sarah, our new Daytime Office Coordinator! She’s been bringing in the sunshine every morning since early April, welcoming community members and providing information, referrals, and support to youth throughout the day. Alongside her warmth and her excellent instincts, she brings with her experience at some of our favourite Montréal community organizations, including Filles d’action, DESTA, and Face à face. Say hi next time you’re in the neighbourhood!