Archive for the ‘Young Parents Program’ Category

Welcome (back!) to Andi, new parent animator at our Young Parents Program!

Andi (on the right), with YPP Coordinator Allyson

Andi (on the right), with YPP Coordinator Allyson

Since 1987, when it was founded as a simple clothing exchange by a group of inspired young mothers, our Young Parents Program has grown by leaps and bounds. These days, dozens of young families and pregnant women rely on this program as a source of basic essentials, skill-building, and loving community.

Over the past few years in particular, attendance at the YPP has sky-rocketed: participation has grown by 55% since 2012, and keeps on growing week after week! Being a young parent is tough for many reasons, and youth often come to YPP with a complex set of interlocking challenges. In order to make sure each participant keeps getting the support they need, we decided to expand the team by adding a new Parent Animator position… and we couldn’t be happier to have Andi in this role!

Andi first got to know YPP as an intern while working on their Masters of Social Work at McGill. After the internship ended, Andi then joined us on a summer contract organizing special events and activities. In both these roles, their incredibly effective client approach and coordination skills shone through, and made it hard for us to imagine the program without them. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have them joining us in this new permanent position, and can’t wait to bring the YPP to new heights together!

H&H chats CA MARCHE with Parents at the YPP!



This week, Head & Hands headed over to the Young Parents Program (YPP) to see what has motivated some of the program’s participants to walk in Ca Marche.

Today at the YPP, parents and kids are in full Ca Marche prep-mode, getting their swag ready for the walk.

For a variety of reasons, the youth we spoke to preferred to keep their identities confidential, but their touching remarks attest to the importance of supporting Head & Hands’ unique youth health services through events like Ca Marche, which raises funds and awareness to support many Montreal groups working on research, prevention, and treatment of HIV/AIDS.


The parents were asked why they were walking in Ca Marche?, and why they attended Head & Hands’ Young Parents Program?

One parent said that her mother had been living with AIDS for 19 years now, so it was an issue that she has been affected by her whole life. Meanwhile, the YPP has been a sanctuary of sorts for her and many others: “It lets me get out of the house, helps to not be alone. And my kids can hang out with the other English kids, which is more rare at daycare”.

Another participant chimed in: “YPP broke my isolation from Elizabeth House [a private rehabilitation centre for young mothers]. You know, when I was there, I couldn’t talk to anyone. I felt alone. The YPP helped change that, and I’ve been coming since mid-december of last year!”

Another parent was adamant about her show of solidarity: “I know girls who have worked the streets, and have been infected by HIV. I’ve been there myself, and I’m lucky to have come out clean”.

The last parent we talked spoke courageously and with hope, despite fighting to hold back the tears. Someone close to her heart – a sibling – contracted HIV a few years back.

“It’s very taboo. I mean, she lives a normal life. It’s easier in 2014 than it was back then, but it’s hard to know someone you love has it.”

This parent has been affiliated with Head & Hands on and off for a long time. When she became pregnant and was afraid to tell her parents, she came to H&H. We proposed attending YPP, and though at first she was skeptical because she thought it was your average child protection agency, she quickly turned around when she started attending.

“I feel depression, you know. It’s hard getting off the couch sometimes. But it’s energizing for me to come here to the center to get things off my mind, and hang out with the other parents”

By now, she’s so confident that YPP is a great program for youth in her position that she even brought her roommate, who was attending YPP for the first time that day.

Our last parent left us with some uplifting words about why she is dancing in Ca Marche: “I’m going to dance because dancing makes me feel good! You dance to celebrate everything about who you are”.


And with those words, we at Head & Hands invite you once more to COME DANCE with us tomorrow at Ca Marche, or DONATE right HERE!



If you’d like to donate directly to the YPP, please contact Allyson (

Young Parents Program: Summer Camp Edition!

YPP parents, children, and staff howling like wolves in the woods.

YPP parents, children, and staff howling like wolves in the woods.

Those of us who spent the summer in hot and sticky Montreal have probably dreamt of getting out of the city to find peace, quiet, and cool breeze in the countryside.This month, Young Parents Program (YPP) embarked on a week-long family camp in the Quebec countryside to do just that.

For the third year in a row, YPP parents, children, and staff came together for a week to escape the city and the stresses of everyday life, and to spend time relaxing with other parents and children in nature. This year, 13 parents and 22 children attended camp. That’s 11 families in total, double the number from last year!

The week was jam-packed with activities like nature walks, pampering and homemade facials, bracelet making, treasure hunts, camp fires, swimming, arts & crafts, hide and seek in the forest, and more! At one point, as the tale goes, the camp witch turned all the children into howling wolves.

According to the parents, YPP summer camp is memorable because of the unity that camp brings—being out of the city, getting to know other parents, kids having time to play with other kids, and being around “YPP family.” The week was such a success that some parents said they would come back again even in the winter!

Two children examining the grass with their hand-made binoculars!

Two children examining the grass with their hand-made binoculars.

Little wolves!

Four little wolves!

Arts and crafts on a rainy day.

Arts and crafts on a rainy day.

Hanging near the river and feeding ducks!

Hanging near the river and feeding ducks.

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A group shot with parents, children, and staff!

YPP Summer Camp Bash!


Join us on June 20th at Maz Bar as we raise money to send young families to the Young Parents Program’s annual Summer Camp! There will be karaoke and prizes and lots of fun!


YPP Summer Camp Bash 2014


Through Our Eyes: YPP Vernissage!


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On Friday, May 2nd, Café 92° came alive with people, photography, and performance at the vernissage for Through Our Eyes, a photovoice project led by YPP parents in collaboration with the Atwater Library Digital Literacy Project.

Over the past few months, participants took photographs that captured their lived experiences as parents, as families, and as a community. According to YPP intern Andi, the goal was to “offer people an avenue to represent themselves and their identities through the art of photography.” The folks at the Digital Literacy Project facilitated workshops leading up to the event, like photo-editing, storytelling, and fundraising, to support parents in conceptualizing and implementing the project.

Some of the photographs displayed at the vernissage.

Some of the photographs displayed at the vernissage.

In addition to showcasing the parents’ photography, the event was also a successful fundraiser for family camp this summer, raising over $1,000! At family camp, YPP participants and staff come together for one week to escape the city and the regular stresses of life, and to spend time relaxing with other parents and children in nature. This year will be the third in a row, and parents and staff are hoping to make it a regular part of programming in future years.

A youth performance!

A youth performance.

Childcare educator Marnie & YPP kids!

Childcare educator Marnie & YPP kids.

J2K Coordinator Neil performing poetry
J2K Coordinator Neil doing spoken word.


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!



Give the Gift!!



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!

We’re Hiring: YPP Child Educator


Head & Hands, a non-profit youth community organization dedicated to youth empowerment is looking for a Childcare Educator for the Young Parents Program. The position is permanent at 19-21 hours/week.

Requirements: bilingualism, availability on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, commitment to our mission & approach, empowerment-based work with marginalized families, background in Early Childhood Education or related field.

Assets: work experience specifically with 0-3 yrs. old and supervision and training of volunteers.

To apply, email your cover letter and CV to or fax to 514-481-2336 by August 30, 2013. (Attn: YPP Childcare Educator hiring committee). Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

Head and Hands recognizes that we live in a society that does not value and respect all people equally, we strive to incorporate as many different perspectives, backgrounds and experiences as possible into our team. If you feel that your perspective and/or experiences are frequently unheard or undervalued in this society, we encourage you to mention that in your cover letter.

YPP at the Sugar Shack



Happy spring! Trees are budding, snow is melting, and the sap is running in the sugarbush, which means it’s Cabane à sucre season in Québec. Last Friday, 47 parents, kids, and staff headed out to Mont-St-Grégoire to enjoy a day out of the city. They sat down to a big meal together, ate sugar taffy outside, went on horse-drawn wagon rides, saw how sap becomes maple syrup, wandered forest paths, and danced under the disco ball. Participants were really excited to have this chance to take a trip off the island, which can be hard without a car, and also to take part in this seasonal Québec tradition and make memories with their kids.

Saying Thanks After 28 Years!


“28 years ago in the Head & Hands waiting room, I found out I was about to be a young mom. At the time I didn’t have any money for the $5 pregnancy test, and the nurse kindly told me to bring the money whenever I could.

As my firstborn grew, he showed brilliance and independence, but developed some self-destructive habits. As a teen he became chemically dependant and I needed outside support. When he became too old for Youth Protection and his habits were more than the family could endure, I was faced with the decision to ask him to leave home.

Through one social worker or another, he was introduced to Head & Hands. He spoke of people who helped him with various issues he faced, how they gave help but also treated him with dignity and respect, no matter how frazzled or desperate he was.

My son is now clean, and working as a chef. I am a single mother, working toward a career in Human Relations. Now it is time to give back, open my wallet and pay the $5 I have owed since 1984!”

Dana, NDG mother