Archive for the ‘Sense Project’ Category

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

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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!

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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!

 

 

Volunteer Opportunity: Sense Project Animator!

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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!

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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

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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!

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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!!

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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!

Ça Marche Reaches for the Moon and Falls Amongst some Superstars

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Well, folks, we did it! Not only have we reached our $25,000 goal for Ça Marche, but we surpassed it! You have all helped us raise just over $26,000 for our health services! We thank you all so much for supporting our Sense Project, medical clinics, and Street Work program as well as joining us for a super fun day. If you weren’t able to participate this year or are in withdrawal of Ça Marche sparkle magic, enjoy this video as it will hopefully tide you over until next year. We can’t wait! Much love.

Class Photo 2013-14 Sensies

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Capture d’écran 2013-10-16 à 21.19.07

Class photo, 2013-014 animators / Photo de classe, animateur-trice-s de l’année 2013-2014

This year we are so excited to have 19 new and returning Sense animators! After 33 hours of training in september, these peer educators will be spending the academic year pairing up and going into high schools across Montreal to give holistic, non-judgemental, and youth-centred workshops on sexuality and safer sex.

This was Health Educator Gabrielle’s second year leading the training and it was her co-coordinator Shanice’s first time! Embracing the spirit of continuous learning and change, they took this opportunity to revisit the training manual and workshop offerings yet again, with great results.

Animators this year also delved deep into the Head & Hands approach. Many external facilitators were brought in to contribute different perspectives to training discussions and reflections on sexuality. Some things never change, though: as always, one favorite part of training was the food! Delicious eats were contributed by a number of Montreal locals, including Notre-Dame-des-Quilles, Lola Rosa, Propulsion Cantina Burritoville, Nouveau Palais, The People’s Potato. THANKS!

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.

 

** Traduction à venir bientôt

Ca Marche: THANK YOU DANCE!

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HEAD & HANDS SENDS YOU LOVING DANCE MOVES AND THANKS AND SPARKLES AND ONE MASSIVE YAHOOOOOOOO!

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WOW! We wish there was a word that meant thank you times a million because we are so filled with gratitude and love for all of you for contributing to the great success of this year’s Ça Marche! Thank you to the Farha Foundation, our staff, board members, volunteers, dancers, walkers, donors, and support system for making 2013 a record-breaking year for this incredible event!

At this point, $23,000 has been raised and money is still coming in! We’ll be sure to keep you posted on the total amount but we have a tickling feeling that we’ll be celebrating a $25,000 result very soon! We’ve been overwhelmed (in the bestest way) with the amount of people who wanted to help support health services for youth! Every donation counts toward supporting our medical clinics, peer sex-ed Sense Project, and the re-launch of our Street Work program. You have all helped us celebrate Montreal’s youth and the lives of all those affected in some way by HIV/AIDS.

This past Sunday’s weather was nothing short of perfect with the sun shining brightly which allowed for some seriously hot spandex and incredible outfits. Our team dressed up to the nines and strutted their sexy selves to DJ Nothing Beats a BJ and Claire’s amazing dance choreography.

It was a total blast of a day and we can’t wait until next year. Stay tuned via our Facebook for photos from Angie and video footage from Jess & Carol!