Archive for the ‘Sense Project’ Category

Want to be a Sense Project Volunteer for the 2015-16 school year?

on

We are currently seeking new volunteers for the 2015-16 school year!

Interested in facilitating sex ed workshops with youth in high schools? Getting involved with the Sense Project at Head & Hands is a fantastic opportunity to learn, grow and support the well-being of youths in Montreal. Be a part of the magic of the Sense Project as we embark on new changes and visioning in this 10th year of sex ed!

About Head & Hands

Head & Hands is a community organization in NDG that services youth aged 12-25 across the city of Montreal. Since 1970, Head & Hands has been committed to the overall health and well-being of youth, providing holistic services and programs. Our approach is harm/risk reductive, holistic and non-judgemental which is especially important for one of our most important programs: The Sense Project.

About The Sense Project

The Sense Project is Head & Hands’ by youth for youth sexual education program. In 2005, sex ed was phased out of the public high school curriculum resulting in a huge gap in youth’s health education. Over the past decade, the Sense Project has been filling that gap with comprehensive, holistic and inclusive sex ed that centers youth and their needs. Our workshops create space for youth to learn about and discuss topics such as anatomies, genders, STIs, consent culture and more. Head & Hands firmly believes that youth have the right to accurate and accessible information in order to make empowered decisions about their health and lives.

Sense Volunteers a.k.a. “Sensies” are the face of the Sense Project. As a Sensie, your role is to contribute to the program by facilitating sex ed workshops and/or supporting the development of the Sense Project. It is especially important to embody the principles of Head & Hands and our approach which means meeting youth where they’re at. Sensies will have the opportunity to participate in an extensive training in which you’ll learn more about sex, Head & Hands’ approach, allyship and how to facilitate workshops for youth. The goal is to help equip you with the tools and resources to be able to do your own reflective learning and then share with your peers.

Interested? Here are the requirements:

  • New applicants must be aged 25 and under.
  • Volunteers should be committed to Head & Hands’ principles of anti-oppression, risk reduction, and non-judgment.
  • Volunteers should have some availability on weekdays during the day. Throughout the school year, your amount of volunteering is highly dependent on your availabilities and the workshop requests made by schools and organizations.
  • Bilingualism is not mandatory, but it’s an asset! The training will be bilingual (ENG-FR).
  • It’s also an asset if you have previous animation experience or experience working with youth.
  • It is mandatory to attend the full volunteer training (dates listed below).
  • Animators must commit for an entire school year and in taking part in any additional trainings for the Sense Project.

Training dates

If you meet these criteria, please complete a volunteer form and send it to Gabrielle at healthed@headandhands.ca. The deadline to apply is Monday, August 24th at 10 AMWe’ll then book a short screening interview with prospective volunteers.

If you have any questions, feel free to call Shanice at (514) 481-0277!

Volunteer Form Sense Project 2015-16

Donor News: “Your Body is Okay!” Our Sense Project Coordinator Talks Body Diversity, Beauty Standards, and Sexual Performance Anxiety

on
Gab, Sense Project Coordinator

Gab, Sense Project Coordinator

 

Ontario’s new comprehensive sexual education curriculum, revised last year, shows just how much Quebec is lagging when it comes to equipping youth with the information they need to make empowered sexual decisions.  Since sex education was effectively removed from the Quebec curriculum in 2005, rates of STIs as well as dating and sexual violence have risen steadily among teens. For the past ten years, youth volunteers trained through Head & Hands’ Sense Project have been working tirelessly to fill the gaps by leading workshops on gender and sexuality, safer sex, and consent to youth in schools, group homes, and CEGEPs.

This year’s most popular workshop explores questions of body and genital diversity, society’s beauty standards, and sexual performance anxiety. According to Sense Project Coordinator Gab, one of the ways through which today’s youth are exposed to unrealistic beauty standards and sexual expectations – and one of the topics they’re most eager to talk about –  is porn.

“The reality is, youth are watching porn, so we need to be having frank discussions with them on how a lot of mainstream porn is made,” Gab explains. “It’s a performance and what’s not shown is communication and consent.”

Gab also discusses how porn can impact body image and expectations: “Makeup is used to change the colour of genitals, but our workshops set the record straight: genitalia come in all shapes and sizes, and can range from pale pink to dark brown. Casting, editing, and filming make it so bodies look and perform in a very specific way; so we talk to youth about having realistic expectations of their bodies and their partners’ bodies.

The response to the workshops has been incredibly positive.  For many youth, it’s their only opportunity to ask burning questions to peer-educators, knowing they won’t be judged! There’s a strong need for more workshops, but resources are limited. “These days, everyone’s budget is limited, so we don’t always get paid and we’re often underpaid for the workshops we give; but we don’t turn down an opportunity to give much needed sex education for youth, even if we have to do it for free.”

The Sense Project depends on community giving, which means that we need you to help this project expand and reach more youth. As Gab explains, “There’s nothing like seeing the sigh of relief from a youth when you tell them their body is okay.”

 

10 years and 10 facts about the SERVE TOURNAMENT!

on

serveis10

 *image descriptions to come!*

Hey H&H community!

My name is Kay and I am this year’s Serve Tournament Coordinator! (Not gonna lie – I practiced saying that a few times in the mirror leading up to my interview for this position.) I am so excited to get to work with the incredible team at Head & Hands to help produce this year’s Serve Tournament, in support of the amaaazing Sense Project!

Given that this is actually the TENTH year of Serve, I figured I’d give you one fact about Serve for every year we’ve been around, and sprinkle in some fun tidbits about me here and there too so we can get to know each other a little better. Ready?

FACT #1: This year’s Serve tournament is taking place Sunday July 26, which is 168 days before the end of the year, and 1+6+8 is 15, and 15 is the age I was when I came out to my little sister (she said “I don’t care what gender they are, I don’t want to think about you kissing *anybody*!!” … fair enough, sis.)

image description: two cute little girls, one 4 and one 2. they are both white and blonde. the one on the left is wearing a giant straw hat, a striped grey and white shirt with a pink and yellow shirt underneath. she is reaching out to her left toward her younger sister, who is wearing a similar giant straw hat, a long sleeved white shirt and a floral dress overtop. she is also reaching out and touching her sister on the shoulder. this is me and my sister in the 90s!
me and my sis!

 

FACT#2: The Sense Project was created in 2005 in response to the Quebec education reform, which virtually eliminated sexual health education from the high school curriculum. In 2005, I created a patented rag-on-the-end-of-a-broom technique to chase spiders out of a boathouse without having to directly touch them with my hands, which means that Sense and I are all about YOUTH INGENUITY.

image description: colour photo of a brown striped dock spider centered in frame, with text. the image is titled "dock spider facts" in white text with a green background, and various facts surround the spider, in brown circles with white text. the facts, going clockwise, are as follows: "they can swim!" "they can catch fish!" "they carry the egg sac in their fangs!" and "they walk on water!"
terrifying.

 

FACT#3: Since the beginning of Sense Project, some 300 volunteers have been trained as workshop facilitators, providing holistic and non-judgmental info on everything from sex to how our bodies work to consent to relationships to safer drug and alcohol use. I am also a trained peer sexual health facilitator through this wicked project in Toronto called Empower! Youth and I am super passionate about youth and sexual health promotion.

image description: photo of a person standing with their back to us, their hands are on their hips and we can only see from their waist down. they are wearing light blue mom jeans with a skinny brown belt. different hands of people of different races are reaching towards this person's epic butt.
this is actually my butt.

 

FACT#4: The Serve Tournament was actually started by a group of restaurant employees to help raise money for Serve and contribute to their community, and it’s been a raging success ever since.

FACT#5: Last year’s Serve tournament raised $40,400 for youth sexual health education!

FACT #6: Head&Hands (perhaps unsurprisingly) is home to a number of Virgos. My dad is a Virgo! So either we are all going to enjoy some brutal puns together or argue about politics. Or maybe both – time will tellllll.

image description: a black and white illustration of wings, with black lines stretching up from the bottom of the frame and the word "virgo" in an italic font at the base of the image. the centre of the image has beautiful wings stretching out toward the right and left of the image, and three strands of oats overlapping between the wings. above the wings is the virgo constellation.
from The Wild Unknown (I covet their tarot!)

 

FACT#7: On average, Serve participants drink roughly 18 kegs of beer. When a keg of beer is tapped it stays fresh for approximately 12 hours, so even at the end of the long, hot day of volleyball in the sun, our beer is gonna be super tasty! Me, I also stay cool and fresh under pressure and barely sweat at all, so I can assure you I’ll probably smell okay if we are standing next to each other cheering on the teams at Serve.

FACT#8: On another beer-related note, Parc Jeanne Mance, where we hold the tournament every year, has a wild connection to beer making. No really. In 1879, it was actually named by the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain as a significant source of this psychoactive plant called henbane that before the German Beer Purity Law (a real thing too, still in use today by German beer makers!) was used as a flavouring agent in beer! I don’t know how to connect this to me really except to tell you that I am the sort of nerd who got really excited about learning this fact.

 

image description: a photo of the plant henbane growing in what seems to be a park, caged by a black oval cage, with a sign on the front. the sign has an image of a skull and crossbones, and reads "hysocyamus niger, henbane". there is two paragraphs of text with more information below that is too small for me to read/caption!
henbane!

 

FACT #9: Last year, our hosts at Serve were Juniper, the former Fundraising and Development Coordinator, and Julie, both of whom are talented, femme-identifying musicians and performers. Me, I’m a singer and a femme too. FEMME POWAAAH!!

image description: an embroidered pair of hands. the hands are embroidered in black, and have hot pink nails. one of the hands is painting the middle finger of the other hand, which is raised in a "fuck you" gesture.
source: FemmeThings etsy shop

 

FACT#10: I tried out for my school’s volleyball team three times, and didn’t get picked. This year at Serve we’ll be bringing back the LOSERS’ TOURNAMENT, an opportunity for people like me to get some measure of glory and dignity back and reclaim our right to have fun playing sports!

Well team, I hope this has been informative. For me it’s been mildly humiliating BUT it’s also gotten me jazzed about this year’s event (and given me some ideas for future less research-intensive blog posts.) If you have any questions about Serve — or wanna get involved!! — feel free to shoot me an email: serve@headandhands.ca.

SEE YOU ON THE COURTS!!

Why Ontario’s new sex-ed curriculum is leaving Quebec in the dust (and how we can catch up)

on

Have you heard? Ontario has a new sex-ed curriculum! This curriculum update—the first since 1998, i.e., around the time Google was invented—will be implemented in schools this fall, and covers a bunch of ‘new’ topics including same-sex relationships, sexting, and masturbation.

While it’s hard to predict how this new curriculum will be implemented, we are super excited that Ontario is taking steps toward a sex-ed curriculum for the 21st century! We are also pumped that the conversation is expanding to become more comprehensive, inclusive, and holistic. High fives! At the same time, we at Head & Hands are making the same sad faces we had back in 2005 when the Quebec government basically removed sex ed from the curriculum. Because they still haven’t put it back!

Quebec is lagging behind when it comes to sex ed, and youth are the ones who are losing out. Sure, some sex ed is happening—by community organizations like Head & Hands and some teachers—but it certainly isn’t happening at the level or frequency required to meet the needs of our province’s youth. From the Sense Project’s past 10 years on the ground doing sex ed to fill in these gaps, it has become clear to us that the government needs to step up!
As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Ten years have passed since the curriculum reform, and we have seen stats go in the wrong direction in Quebec. STI rates are rising (and yes, F@#% STIgma), and so too are rates of relationship violence. At Head & Hands, we believe that in order to address these challenges, we need sex ed in every classroom that is non-judgemental, holistic, and speaks directly to youth.

We think that youth deserve consistent, reliable access to information and tools regarding sexuality, consent, boundaries, gender identities, and healthy relationships. Having access to emotional, behavioural, and communication tools can support youth in making informed decisions about their sexual health.
Access to comprehensive sexual health information is more important than ever in an era when youth can find all kinds of sex and sexual health information at the click of a mouse (or touch of a screen). The debate over access to sexual health information has changed—youth are accessing and exchanging information at increasingly frequent rates. We believe that accurate information being at the core of that exchange is a priority—to address myths and STIgma; to foster dialogue around diversity and empowered decision making; and to facilitate the development in youth of self-knowledge about bodies, desires, values, and needs when it comes to sex and sexuality. We applaud the steps Ontario has taken, but we need more.

We spoke with  Global TV to help folks understand the context of sex ed in Quebec, and to share what we think Quebec should be doing about sex ed in our province!

We at Head & Hands are calling for the development and implementation of a mandatory non-judgemental, holistic, youth-empowered sex-ed curriculum as well as ongoing trainings for educators, social service providers, and front-line workers. Youth are learning about sex in a million ways—let’s support them in making informed decisions about their health and sexuality.

 

 

Welcome, New Sense Animators!

on

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!

 

 

Volunteer Opportunity: Sense Project Animator!

on

Want to be a Sense Project Animator?

We are currently seeking new volunteer animators for the 2014-15 school year!
Interested in facilitating sex ed workshops with youth in high schools? Getting involved with the Sense Project at Head & Hands is a fantastic opportunity to learn, grow and support the well-being of youths in Montreal.

Some need-to-know info about applying to be a Sense Project animator:
• New applicants must be aged 25 and under.
• Animators should be committed to Head & Hands’ principles of anti-oppression, risk reduction, and non-judgment.
• Animators should have some availability on weekdays during the day. Throughout the school year, your amount of volunteering is highly dependent on your availabilities, and the workshop requests made by schools and organizations.
• Bilingualism is not mandatory, but it’s an asset! The training will be bilingual (ENG-FR).
• It is also an asset if you have previous animation experience or experience working with youth, but it’s not a requirement.
• It is mandatory to attend the full animator training (dates listed below).
• Animators must commit for an entire school year, and in taking part in the monthly trainings for the Sense Project (2 hours per month).

2014 Animator Training Dates

Tuesday Sept. 9th 6-9pmThursday Sept. 11th 6-9pmSaturday Sept. 13th 11-4pm
Tuesday Sept. 16th 6-9pmThursday Sept. 18th 6-9pmSaturday Sept. 20th 11-4pm
Tuesday Sept. 23rd 6-9pmThursday Sept. 25th 6-9pmSaturday Oct. 4th 11-4pm

If you meet these criteria and are interested, please fill out the Volunteer Form Sense Project 2014 and send it to Gabrielle at healthed@headandhands.ca.

The deadline to apply is Tuesday, August 12th at noon. We’ll then book a short screening interview with prospective volunteers only. If you have any questions, feel free to call Gabrielle at (514) 481-0277 or email at healthed@headandhands.ca!

Serve is back!

on

The ninth annual Serve tournament is making its immensely anticipated return on July 27th 2014! The official event page is up, and the countdown has begun!

To get a taste of Serve’s magic, check out the brand-new video from Serve 2013 above, produced by Stefan Verna and Carlos Mondragón. This video leaves us with chills in our spine and major anticipation for this year’s event.

Serve is a funtastic day of volleyball that gathers the bar and restaurant community in Montreal for a wicked party with beer, games and a volleyball competition in support of the Sense Project, Head & Hands’ peer-based sexual education program.

Get your game on for social change! We have 8 volleyball courts this year, and all the teams will have the opportunity to play more than just 3 games.  Bierbrier is sponsoring the beer this year– we have a total of 18 kegs, so bring your thirsty friends! We have over 800$ worth of tattoo gift certificates to give away and many other cool prizes.

Come one and come all and help us put the sense in consensual, the semen in amusement and the fun in fundraising!

 

 

Dental Dams Demystified

on

Dental dams–what have you heard about them? They’re great for oral sex, whether your mouth is heading for a vulva or an anus, and provide a barrier to bodily fluids and skin-to-skin STI transmission. We think everyone should know about them and have the choice to use them!

Estelle, Stagiaire in Sexology from UQAM, says that she wanted to create these how-to videos to make this barrier method more accessible to youth. Despite the fact that dental dams are rarely discussed and even more rarely available, it’s very easy to make one with an external condom! These videos bring a little humor to sex ed, making it a little more pleasant and less stressful.

Faggity Ass Fridays: Sex ed on the dance floor!

on
Intern poses on table holding anonymous sex-ed questions.

UQAM Sexology intern Shanna poses with some of the questions anonymously asked last Faggity.

This week on the blog we’re shining the spotlight on Faggity Ass Fridays, our queer monthly dance party that raised over $22, 000 last year for the Sense Project. If you like what you read, we hope you’ll come out and groove with us this Friday!

Since its inception in 2007, the Sense Project has reached thousands of Montreal youth with reliable, approachable information on safer sex and sexuality.  Now it’s set to reach even more, by bringing sex ed to the dance floor at Faggity Ass Fridays!

“There are pamphlets, condoms, lube and dental dams available when you come into the event, but we’re taking it to another level,” says Shanna, the UQAM Sexology intern who is heading up the project.  At each event, Shanna will collect anonymous sexual health questions and post answers in washrooms at the following event. “Restrooms during parties can be independent environments from the parties themselves where a lot of stuff can go on,” says Shanna. “They also give the opportunity to take a breather, refresh, and exchange.”

Shanna will also be available during the party to answer questions, encouraging “folks to dare to ask the one question they wouldn’t ask anyone else about sexuality.” So far, Shanna says, party goers have been up for it: “It’s a pleasure to see peoples’ eyes light up knowing that they have the possibility to ask anything, and get sex positive and real answers.”

Up next? A drag king performance, and some special sex-ed workshops, just for Faggity Ass Fridays. “We want folks to know that sex ed is not just available in schools, but that it can be available everywhere and that it can be fun,” Shanna explains. We couldn’t agree more!

Music by:

Nouvel Âge

DJs:

Binderful of Woman

Suckle

SASS WAR

Performance at midnight!

Friday, January 31st, 10pm-3am

18+

Il Motore (179 Jean Talon St W.)

$10 suggested donation, PWYC, no one turned away

 

Give the Gift!!

on

present_Img_01

Did you know that since street work re-launched in October, demand for our emergency food pantry has more than doubled? The need for our medical, legal, and social services is growing, and so we put on our thinking caps to increase financial support this winter. Allow us to introduce our new fundraising campaign, Give the Gift!

When you donate online through Give the Gift, you’ll receive a package of custom-designed cards, ready to print at home and give to friends and family on behalf of each donation. Give the Gift was made possible thanks to two talented local Head & Hands supporters: web programmer, Danielle Bakhazi, and youth artist, J’VLYN.

No matter the occasion, we’ve got you covered in English and French, with cards for celebrating gratitude, birthdays, anniversaries, congratulatory moments, incredible friendships, a new life, or just because! 

Give the Gift cards are perfect for the person who says they don’t need anything, who doesn’t want more stuff, who wishes they had more time to volunteer, who believes in buying local, who believes in homemade gifts, who believes in ethical giving, who you have no idea what to buy, for the person who loves Head & Hands, and for the person that you love. 

No matter who is on the receiving end, they can’t deny the wicked awesome goodness that comes from a donation being made in one’s honour to support youth in our community.

Okay, so we’ve explained why it’s amazing. But how does it WORK?!

1. Go to our Give the Gift page by clicking here

2. Decide how much you want to donate via your credit card or PayPal account

3. Receive a PDF file with a ton of beautiful cards

4. Pick the card you like

5. Print the card you like

6. Personalize it and send it!

7. Enjoy being the best gift giver ever.

It’s easy and fabulous.

Have any questions? No problem! Call Juniper or Jen at 514-481-0277!