Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Winter Closure


Winter is here! As usual, all Head & Hands locations and services are shutting down for the next two weeks (December 22, 2014 – January 4, 2015) so that we can rest up and prepare for the year ahead.

All our services will re-open and run on their regular schedules as of January 5, 2015.

Thank you to our volunteers, interns, board of directors, donors, supporters, friends, allies, and staff, as well as to NDG youth and the community for an amazing year!

We wish you all a very happy new year. See you in 2015!

Give the gift of…. Head & Hands!



Did you know that this past year, 40% more clients accessed our emergency food pantry than ever before??  Or that overall demand for our programs increased almost 15% this past year??  The need for our medical, legal, and social services is growing, and so as we prepare to close for our winter break, please allow us to re-introduce our cutest 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.

Throwback Thursday: Students in Mind Conference


students in mind

On October 5th, Rhonda, our Social Counselor, attended the 2nd annual Students in Mind conference at McGill University. The conference aimed to create a space for the McGill community to come together to change the mental health climate on campus and to reflect on the role mental health plays in everyday life.

Rhonda was excited to attend the conference to bring mental health to the forefront of conversations— to make it a topic that can be talked about, rather than hidden. “Unless people have been depressed themselves, it is very difficult to imagine what it is like,” Rhonda explains. “When students feel they’re depressed or anxious, they need to be able to talk about it.”

Around 150 students came to campus on a Sunday for the conference, which included workshops on self-care and peer support, speeches, and panels on topics such as cross-cultural portrayals of mental health, social media and mood, and student strategies for mental health.

Rhonda spoke on a Mental Health/Illness & Criminality panel, which discussed the over-representation of people with various forms of mental illness in the criminal justice system, and ways to address the marginalization and isolation of people in need of mental health support.

Mental health support is notoriously difficult to access in Montreal; many youth are unable to access appropriate, affordable support and can fall through the cracks of the existing social safety net, which can lead to marginalization and criminalization. Existing support systems, like schools, social workers, and psychologists, are often overwhelmed with cases and are not always able to provide appropriate, ongoing support to youth.

Rhonda is able to support youth facing mild to moderate depression or personal crises, and works in collaboration with Dr. Tellier to support youth who want a mental health evaluation from a doctor.  Dr. Tellier is able to provide evaluations at our medical clinic and referrals to psychiatrists. As always at Head & Hands, our mental health support services are holistic, non-judgmental, and focused on giving youth the support they need to make informed choices about their mental and physical well-being.

Solidarity through Action: Spotlight on MedCoach


Medcoach logo

MedCoach brings together current medical school students and medical school hopefuls seeking help with their applications. Founded in 2012 by Leah Feldman, MedCoach has had a successful debut, coaching people from diverse backgrounds through the rigorous medical school application process. This year, they are donating 100% of their profits to support Head & Hands. We sat down with Leah to find out more.

Head & Hands: Tell us about MedCoach!

Leah: It is difficult for medical school hopefuls, who don’t know anyone in the field of medicine, to find someone to give them advice about what to expect and how to prepare for medical school. There are many groups that charge handfuls of money to revise your application, but the best way to know if you belong in medical school is to meet someone who is going through it.

MedCoach is a group of current medical students who are passionate about sharing their experiences in medical school and coaching people through the application process. We focus on understanding what it means to be in medical school/become a physician, CV and cover letter revision, and interview skills training, at an affordable price!

H&H: How does MedCoach support community organizations?

Leah: We want to support local charities while providing an amazing coaching service at a fair price. Every year, our coaches and coachees suggest and vote on a local charity to which we donate 100% of our earnings for that year.

H&H: Why did you choose Head & Hands as your community partner this year?

Leah: MedCoach looks for charities that are in line with our philosophy: to provide opportunities to everyone, regardless of where they come from or who they know. Head & Hands is a perfect example of an organization that provides a wealth of services to local youth and helps them achieve their goals.

H&H: What does the future have in store for MedCoach?

Leah: We’re looking to expand this year! We have more coaches and we are planning to host more events. Our fundraising goals are bigger this year, and we are looking forward to being able to donate even more to local charities. One of the biggest challenges for our team is spreading the word about MedCoach to CEGEPs and universities around Quebec. We would like to be able to offer services to anyone interested in pursuing a career in medicine!

H&H: How can people get involved?

Leah: If you have ideas about how to improve MedCoach, email us  at, or visit our Facebook page. If you know anyone (or maybe yourself) who is interested in learning about how to become a doctor, tell them to send us a message and we would be happy to set up a meeting!

Halloween at the Young Parents Program


halloween party collage

Last Wednesday, the Young Parents Program (YPP) had lots of fun in the spirit of Halloween! 45 people, including YPP parents, children, staff, and volunteers, gathered together to turn YPP into a Halloween wonderland, complete with:

  • a fabulous haunted house for the children, created and animated by 5 parents who may have enjoyed it even more than their young ones;
  • a joint parent-child pumpkin decorating activity;
  • decorating paper bags for candy and trick-or-treating around the YPP building;
  • a costume contest for the parents, with prizes for the best, cutest, and scariest costumes;
  • a potluck meal, with an amazing spread from squash and pasta to homemade bread;
  • a dance party, of course!

No surprise, this YPP party was a grand success!



Throwback Thursday: The Do’s and Don’ts of Babysitting


Rhonda, our Social Counselor, facilitates a variety of workshops, including the Canadian Safety Counsel’s Babysitter Training Course in local elementary schools. These babysitting workshops help youth develop confidence in working with younger children, and allow us to spread the word about Head & Hands to youth at the young end of our age mandate.

This past May, two students from her course decided to share what they learned with the internet and the world. They created a video on the do’s and don’ts of babysitting based on what they learned in Rhonda’s course, and the result is impressive, hilarious, and informative. Let Jackson and Ben, Babysitters, show you how to navigate the ins and outs of being a good babysitter.

Solidarity Through Action: Spotlight on kioha



Meet kioha, a brand-new clothing company that reinvests 50% of its profits in community projects, including music programming at our very-own Jeunesse 2000!  They’ve got a pretty unique mantra, so we sat down with kioha’s founders, Tyrrell Hughes and Martin Manning (pictured above), to learn more.

Head & Hands: What is kioha?

Tyrrell and Martin: kioha is a new clothing company that we launched in August with the mantra to reinvest 50% of all profits into community projects. kioha stands for “keep it one hundred always” – in other words, be true, be real. We wanted to start a clothing company that did just that, so we decided from the start that kioha would be as much about building stronger communities as it is about fresh clothes.

H&H: Tell us more about kioha’s approach to building community. 

T&M: We believe strongly in the power of music, arts, and culture to engage people and bridge understanding. This forms the foundation upon which we can all work together, strive for more, and build stronger communities as a team. The community organizations are like the superstars on team kioha; they go hard day in, day out, putting in work to bring about positive change in communities.

H&H: How did you choose your community partners? 

T&M: Building stronger communities is at the core of our business, so we spend a lot of time ensuring partners are the right fit. We look to engage youth through music, arts, and culture, so when we found out about all the incredible programming that both Head & Hands and Manifesto Community Projects do, we knew we had found the right partners to build something really special together.

H&H:What does the future have in store for kioha?

T&M: We’ve received some incredible support since launching, so we’re optimistic about what the future will bring kioha. The biggest challenge for us right now is spreading the word about kioha and sharing the story behind it. We want to create something people can be proud of. Something that makes them feel like a part of the team when they wear it because that’s what it’s really all about; creating a team to build stronger communities.

Connect with kioha on Facebook and Instagram and become a part of the kioha story!

Serve 2014: Fundraising Dreams Do Come True



On Sunday, July 27th, Montreal’s vibrant service industry came together on the sandy courts of Parc Jeanne Mance to make Serve 2014 a glowing success!

We would like to thank the bars and restaurants, sponsors, volunteers, and staff who participated for helping to ensure Montreal’s youth get the sex education they deserve. Thanks to these amazing partners, we raised over $40,000 (and still counting!) for the Sense Project, our peer-based sex education program.

Although Mother Nature challenged us to set up for the event in the pouring rain, we overcame her obstacle and were rewarded with sun, refreshing scattered showers, and a gorgeous rainbow.

This year, as always, Grumpy’s took home the top fundraiser prize, raising $6,500 through their creative and flawless fundraising efforts, and beating their personal record once again! Sweet Treats by Shanice won first place in the tournament, and Café Chimera, participating for the first time this year, took home the Team Spirit award for their board-game-themed team (mascot included).

If you missed the event— or if you were there and you would like to relive the glitter & glory— you can check out the beautiful photos taken by Angie Radczenko and Jos, or the photo coverage from and Cult MTL!

Serve 2014 also got picked up by a ton of local news sources, including Cult MTL, Global TV, The Gazette, CBC Radio, and more. Check out their coverage of the event to learn more about why the Sense Project is crucial, and to see the Serve magic in action.

Next year is Serve’s 10th anniversary. We’ll be celebrating a decade of serving and spiking for sex ed, so stay tuned for updates on Serve 2015!



Diaphragms are back, and better than ever!

Health services coordinator Jos shows the Caya diaphragm and spermicide!

Jos with Caya and contragel

As part two in our series about barrier contraceptives (see our March post about the Femcap), we’re excited to announce that Head & Hands is now distributing the CAYA diaphragm! The CAYA diaphragm has recently been approved for sale in Canada, so if you`re looking for hormone-free and user controlled birth control, check it out!

When used in conjunction with contragel (aka Cayagel), the CAYA diaphragm works as a mechanical barrier to block sperm from entering the cervix during vaginal intercourse. As with any barrier device, its effectiveness depends on how dedicated you are to using it properly. When used correctly, the CAYA diaphragm is as effective at preventing pregnancies as condoms. Unlike older diaphragm models, you don’t need to be fitted by a doctor because one size fits most users. It’s also made out of durable silicone and can be used for two years.

Caya Diaphragm!

Caya Diaphragm!

Interested? You can purchase a CAYA diaphragm (sold at cost) from Head & Hands for $50. Tubes of contragel are available as well for 20$. Check out the CAYA website for more info and insertion videos.

To purchase a diaphragm from us or for more info, contact our Health Services Coordinator, Jos, at (514) 481-0277 or You can also just swing by our office at 5833 Sherbrooke West! Not in Montreal? Don’t worry, you can order the CAYA online via Anarres Health (they are also the Canadian distributor for the Femcap)!

Spotlight on: super-volunteer lawyer Irving Narvey!

Irving Narvey stopped by to chat after a couple rounds of tennis! Lovin the semi-retired life!

Irving Narvey stopped by to chat after a couple rounds of tennis! Gotta love the semi-retired life!

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on super-volunteer Irving Narvey, who, after 43 years giving his time and expertise at the Head & Hands legal clinic, has finally left us to enjoy the fruits of a semi-retired life. 43 years?! That’s right: Mr. Narvey has been volunteering since the inception of the legal clinic, and for almost the entirety of his career!

Fresh out of law school and just starting his own law practice, Irving was invited to get involved in 1971 by Eric Smith, who was one of the first volunteer lawyers at Head & Hands.

“I guess when you’re young and principled, and you carry your sword, you want to help people,” Mr. Narvey told us. “Coming to Head & Hands was an opportunity to meet people who were in need of legal advice, and obviously to give back. And there I was, in a position to do so, and I was thrilled to do it, so I did.”

As a 28-year-old, I have a hard time understanding how anybody could do anything for 43 years, so I had to ask: what kept you coming back to volunteer, after a long day at work, for more than four decades?! “It really wasn’t a hefty burden at all,” said Irving. “I always saw myself as a litigator, representing the people before the courts, and fighting for their rights…I’d like to think that my practice was people-oriented, so coming here was really an extension of what I did on a full-time basis for a living.”

When asked about the best part of volunteering at Head & Hands, Mr. Narvey didn’t hesitate: “Being in touch with the people. What can I tell you? People need people! As a matter of fact, if I didn’t know that Barbara Streisand had already done it I would have written the song.”

photo 1

On behalf of the entire team at Head & Hands, and the hundreds of community members who have benefited from your legal expertise over the past four decades, thank you Irving! We wish you many healthy and happy years of relaxation as you move into a very well-deserved semi-retirement.