Posts Tagged ‘sex education’

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


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 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

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.”


Welcome, New Sense Animators!


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 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!



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 $60. Tubes of contragel are available as well for 20$. 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)!





It’s here, it’s here! Serve is descending upon the sandy volleyball courts of park Jeanne Mance this Sunday, July 27th.  At this magical day of fun in the sun (and in the rain/thunder, too!), Montreal’s vibrant service industry shows us once again that they don’t just serve beer– they “serve” for sex ed!

Serve is the Sense Project’s largest fundraiser, and funds raised by the Serve tournament are crucial for the Sense Project to continue to meet the needs of Montreal youth.  Last year, the Sense Project volunteer team reached just under 1,700 youth in high schools, community centers, and group homes across the island. This year, our goal is $50,000, to help ensure the Sense Project can continue to provide Montreal youth with the sex education they deserve!

This year, we have 28 teams made up of staff from Montreal bars and restaurants. Check out the list below to see what places are playing, and come by to cheer on your favorite establishment! We’ll have beer, a barbecue, Slip n Slide, massages from Setsuko massage, and SO MUCH MORE!! 

2014 Serve Participants: 

Mickibbons St.Laurent
Café Chimera
Tavern on the Square
Ye Old Orchard
Mcleans Pub
Sir Winstons Churchill
Irish Embassy
Forum sports bar
Monkland tavern
Burger Bar
Sweet Treats by Shanice
Burgundy Lion
Bier Markt
Chateau du lac
Lola Rosa
Café Campus

And of course, the incredible Sense Project team!


Volunteer Opportunities: Sense Project!


The Sense Project is our cutting edge, harm-reductive and queer/sex/trans-positive peer-based sex education program. Here are two ways to get involved and support the Sense Project:

If you want a one-time, quick ‘n’ dirty thing, go with SERVE!

  • SERVE is our 8th annual charity beach volleyball tournament which raises money for the Sense Project. This year we want to raise $50,000!
  • Unique opportunity to share our holistic vision of youth empowerment and wellness with Montrealers at large on a fun & sexy day.
  • July 28th 2013 at Jeanne Mance Park (Sunup to Sundown).
  • We need 60 volunteers for a variety of jobs (Scorekeepers, Barkeepers, Security, Servers, BBQers, Runners etc).
  • For more information or to sign up, please contact Shanice at or at 514-481-0277.

If you’ve got some stamina and want to commit to a year of fun times with peers and sex ed, go with SENSE!

  • The Sense Project was created in response to the 2005 education reform in Quebec which removed sexual education from the high school curriculum.
  • We are looking for Sense Animators under 25 who will facilitate sex ed workshops with youth in high schools.
  • This is a year-long commitment in addition to a mandatory 35 hour training in September.
  • The deadline to apply is Monday July 29th at 10:00 AM.
  • To apply to be a Sense Animator or to get more details about the position, check out the details and find the downloadable form here.

We’re Hiring: Sense Project Summer Research Assistant


Head & Hands is a non-profit community organization dedicated to youth empowerment. We offer health, social, legal and recreational services to youth between 12 and 25 years of age.

Description: The Sense Project summer research assistant will work with Sense Project Coordinator and youth volunteers to coordinate the revision the Sense Project Peer Educator Manual. Their main tasks will include coordinating volunteers, revising the manual, managing manual printing and distribution of both digital and hard copies. The manual will be used for the Sense Project’s peer educator training in September and as a reference document for future workshops on sexuality and sexual health. The Sense Project summer research assistant will also create a structured filing system to organize old and new resources and reference documents for the Sense Project. This is a six-week full-time contract, with an ideal start date of June 10th.

The ideal candidate is bilingual, open-minded, reliable, organized, flexible, autonomous, has knowledge on sexuality and good writing & editing skills (in either French and/or English). Basic computer knowledge, experience in research and understanding of youth culture are assets.

Eligible candidates MUST have been a full-time student last semester, with the intention of returning to school full-time in the fall.

Application deadline is Friday May 24th 2013, at 10 a.m. To apply, send CV and cover letter via email to with “Attn: Sense Project hiring Committee” in the subject line, or bring a hard copy to 5833 Sherbrooke West.

Head & Hands welcomes the unique contributions that individuals from traditionally marginalized communities bring to the organization, and invites these individuals to apply. We encourage applicants to describe in their cover letter the unique contributions that they, as individuals with diverse experiences, would bring to Head & Hands.

Please direct all questions to Gabrielle at 514-481-0277 or by email at

We thank you in advance for your interest. Only those who are selected for an interview will be contacted.

Serve is Back!


Beyond volleyball with balls: the sex ed relay race!

The eighth annual Serve tournament is making its glorious return on July 28th 2013!!! Get your game on for social change!! This funtastic day of volleyball gathers the bar and restaurant community in Montreal for a volleyball competition in support of the Sense Project, Head & Hands’ peer-based sexual education program offered to Montreal’s youth. It is extremely well attended and so much fun; last year we had 30 teams and raised an amazing $41,000! Come show us your support and grab a beer, some fresh air, or some food, or take part in the myriad of activities on site. We’re so stoked!!

Why I’m voting for Street Work: Jon


“In many ways, street work is the essence of why Head & Hands exists – we *need* this program to support the youth in our community who get the least help from others.” Jon, Head & Hands Director

Vote for us every day between December 3 and 12 to help us win $87K and bring back Street Work!

Why I’m voting for Street Work: Gina


“Street work has been a crucial part of Head & Hands since its inception in 1970. Since then, street workers have played a variety of roles in our community: conducting outreach and making youth aware of our services, running prevention and education programs, and extending the reach of essential services beyond our doors to reach youth in greatest need. Researching this history has made me realize how vital this program is for NDG youth; it is essential that we bring back this service to our neighborhood! “ – Gina Metallic, Master of Social Work Student Intern

Vote for us every day between December 3 and 12 to help us win $87K and bring back Street Work!