Posts Tagged ‘we love our members’

Why I commit: Steph Guico

Steph at work!

Steph at work!

“Head & Hands gives to local youth on a daily basis in innumerable ways, and my small contribution is the least I can do to say thank you. Head & Hands was a no-brainer when it came to deciding on a worthy place to dedicate my ‘latte fund’ to!”     – Steph

Allow us to kick of this sixth annual monthly donor drive with Steph, longtime supporter of Head & Hands and current President of our Board of Directors! Steph first heard about Head & Hands while volunteering with SACOMSS: “Back then H&H was a constant source of resources, allieship and inspiration… and it still is!”

Although we have a hard time imagining this firecracker having a lazy afternoon, Steph swears she spends them binging on Netflix and reading like the rest of us. Then again, she also GETS UP BEFORE SUNRISE and then fills her days with about a million amazing projects. Meet Steph Guico, dear readers!

Name: Stephanie Guico

Monthly donor since: April 2012

I fill my days with: Sunrises before anything. Then tea. Then? Dividing my time between community organizing, cooperative management, and building a course curriculum in business management and community accountability.

If I won a trip anywhere in the world I would: Go back to the Phils!

Top three things you’d want to have with you on a desert island: A loom, a notebook and a mirror… don’t want to be stuck there forever!

As a teenager I: Oh no, you went there. I’ll put it like this: I didn’t quite fit anywhere, so I found ways of building custom-made places for myself. Oh, and I was watching a lot of Dawson’s Creek when I should have really been watching more Buffy.

Why did you sign up as a monthly donor? I first plugged into donations through the Ça Marche campaign. Seeing the team’s dedication to fundraising and their creativity in finding ways to hook people in made it hard to resist! After realising that I could still round off my month “despite” that donation, I figured I’d work a monthly donation into my budget. It seemed more sustainable, committed and realistic than doing a large one-off donation, and I barely notice it go through my account now.

Want to be like Steph and become a monthly donor? Visit our Monthly giving page, or give Juniper a call at 514-481-0277!

Why I commit: Adriana Palanca



“I may not be rich, but if I can make a small difference, I want to do it.” – Adriana

As a teenager, monthly donor Adriana Palanca was “bookish, funny, sarcastic, and already in love with words.” Today, not much has changed for this monthly, who is not only a writer and translator, but a yoga teacher who finds time for “making snarky comments.” Which were very funny in my experience! Also, she answered the “fifteen year plan” question. Who does that?! See below to find out!

Name: Adriana Palanca

Monthly since: March 2012

Is there a particular program that you are passionate about?  Any program that helps youth. It’s such a hard thing to find your place in the world, especially when your peers and sometimes even adults, want to keep you down. I admire those who help youth find their voice and their passions.

Celebrity crush: Beyoncé

Top three things you’d want to have with you on a desert island: One good friend, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, pizza.

Fifteen-year plan: Writing creatively full time and helping others find their writing voice, teaching more yoga.

On a lazy afternoon I: Couch. Reading material. Tea. iPhone.

If I won a trip anywhere in the world I would: Leave for Italy tomorrow.

Song I have stuck in my head right now: Try a Little Tenderness, Otis Redding.

My fave book, zine, magazine, blog: If it has words, I’ll read it. Don’t ask me to choose! That’s like asking a mother to pick her favourite child!

Want to be like Adriana and become a monthly donor? Visit our Monthly giving page, or give Juniper a call at 514-481-0277!

Why I commit: James

Monthly donor James

Monthly donor James

“I commit because so many restrictions are placed on the work organizations are able to do based on where they get their funding. From what I understand, relying on private donors is one of the reasons Head & Hands is able to do such amazing things and respond to the real needs of the community.” – James

Community worker and monthly donor James is currently between jobs, but he’s having no trouble keeping busy by filling his days with food, friends, cats, activism, art, bikes and parks. He came on board as a monthly during last year’s Commit to our Core campaign; “the friend who approached me made it clear that no matter what amount, every donation was important. It made being a monthly donor (which in my mind is sometimes reserved for people who “have money”) super accessible and it makes me feel good to know that the little bit I can contribute is appreciated.”

Too true, James! We are so glad to have your support!

Name: James

Monthly since: March 2012

Other than being a monthly, how have you connected with Head & Hands? I feel like I woke up one day and was surrounded by people who know and love Head & Hands! I’ve had so much fun at every Head & Hands event I’ve ever gone to, from the AGM to that giant music show (with hot dogs…) in the park.

Top three things you’d want to have with you on a desert island: a donut, a cheeseburger and my bike.

Is there a particular Head & Hands program that you are passionate about? I am pretty passionate about the medical and legal clinics. There is a serious lack of competent queer/trans healthcare in this city and also non-judgmental legal support.

Celebrity crush (dead or alive): Joseph Gabereau

I can’t live without: my puffer…wah wah.

My fave book, zine, magazine, blog: I just started reading Sarah Schulman’s “Gentrification of The Mind” and I hope to pick up a new fave zine at the anarchist book-fair this coming weekend.

If I could change one thing at Head & Hands I would: Give them unlimited resources so they could expand and provide amazing services for everyone all the time and also have time to help other organizations build their capacity.

Want to be like James and become a monthly? Visit our Monthly giving page, or give Juniper a call at 514-481-0277!



Why I commit: Zahra

Zahra, monthly donor

Zahra, monthly donor

“I commit because what Head & Hands achieves for the youth of NDG and beyond with so few resources is incredible to witness. If I can give them just a little bit more to work with, how many more youth can they help?”– Zahra

In 2010, Zahra came to Head & Hands as a six month videography intern, and we felt so lucky to have this multi-talented lady on board! She left her mark with a series of rad videos including the Do my Ladies Run This?! mini documentary, the Ask me about my Faggity Ass profile, and Since 1970, our 40th anniversary video. Zahra had been rooting for us during last fall’s Aviva competition, and when she found out we didn’t make the cut, she signed up as a monthly donor to ‘do her part’ to bring Street Work services back to NDG.

 Name: Zahra B.

Monthly since: February 2013

I fill my days with: I work as an administrator and communications coordinator for a non-profit, and I am also a classically trained singer.

As a teenager I was: Hermione Granger (an insufferable know-it-all)

 If I won a trip anywhere in the world I would: Take all my friends with me.

Is there a particular Head & Hands program that you are passionate about? I think each one of them is great. But the two I connect with most deeply are the counseling and Street Work. I know how hard it is as a young person to access affordable, non-judgmental counseling services. I know some friends who could have used it. And as for Street Work, there are too many youth who are given up on, who really just need someone to support them in practical and uplifting ways. We need this program.

Song I have stuck in my head right now: Whatever we’re working on in choir or my voice lessons.

If I could change one thing at Head & Hands: Maybe a bigger building 😉

Signing up as a monthly is safe and easy, and makes a big impact! Click here to find out more! 

McGill Science Undergraduate Students Raise Nearly $15,000 for Head & Hands!

H&H staff with the generous cheque from the Science Undergraduate Society

H&H staff with the generous cheque from the Science Undergraduate Society

For the past eight years, the McGill’s Science Undergraduate Society has raised funds for local charities during their October Charity Week. “This year, we chose Head & Hands because of its unique mission and the enormous positive impact it has on youth in the Montreal area,” says Danielle Toccalino, one of the week’s organizers.

“Organizing a week of events running from 8:00 am to 10:30 pm was exhausting, but the team of coordinators all worked incredibly hard and we pulled it off,” says Danielle. The hard work paid off: not only did the fundraiser pull in nearly $15,000, but Danielle also estimates that at least 400 students participated in making the week a success. Wow!

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

Ça Marche 2012: The Movie


In classic Head & Hands fashion, we present our annual Ça Marche dance video for your viewing pleasure!

If you helped us reach our Ça Marche goal this year by giving your time, money, or your moves…well, this one’s for you!

Special thanks to Carol Fernandes and Jess Lee, the super-star volunteers who filmed and edited and made this video as glorious as it is! And to our dancers…we couldn’t do it without you!

Dancing to glory! 2012 Ça Marche campaign raises more than ever!


Groups of passionate people can achieve great things, so when we called on our community to help us raise $15 000 for our youth health services and sex education program as part of Ça Marche this year, we felt like we would give it our best shot.

But when all was said and done this Sunday, we were floored by the amazingness of our community. The results of this year’s Ça Marche campaign were astounding:

  • More than $20,300 raised for our youth health services and peer-based health education project
  • 46 people fundraised on behalf of Head & Hands
  • 368 community members donated to our cause
  • And one amazing troupe danced 7km in fierce glory to celebrate the joys of HIV care, prevention, and education with youth!

This year, more than ever, Ça Marche reminded us that we are nestled in a supportive and strong community that will ensure that Montreal youth have access to the health care and information that they need. We are especially grateful to our top fundraiser Ren who raised over $1,500; to Gregory, a new Sense animator who brought in a whopping 26 donors; and Tanya, who dressed in a cat suit to inspire her community to give. These star fundraisers will be rewarded with the Diner’s Delight top prize, cheffed by our haute-cuisine inspired fundraising team.

Big ups to all of our fundraisers, our dancers, walkers and banner carriers, choreographer Claire Lyke of Studio des Bêtes Dansantes, DJs Tamika and Nino Brown, photographer Chase Moser, videographers Carol Fernandes and Jess Lee, and of course to the Farha Foundation, who continues to lead the fight against HIV and AIDs in Quebec.

We can’t wait ‘til next year!

A Fantasy Come to Life, with Ça Marche choreographer Claire Lyke


Prepare your glittery glam sparkles and your divine dancing shoes, ‘cause this Sunday Head & Hands is shimmyin’ and shakin’ all over downtown Montreal as part of Ça Marche, the Farha Foundation’s HIV/AIDS walk! We caught up with Claire Lyke, Ça Marche choreographer for the second year in a row to find out what to kind of moves to expect, and she responded with this little video.

Yes, in short, you can expect a lot of sass and glam this Sunday. And for Claire, each dancer will bring their own flair: “Just like you can walk [in Ça Marche] for a thousand reasons, you can dance for a thousand reasons. For me, when we are out there dancing it is about choosing to live our sex lives with pizzazz—bunches of it!”

This isn’t the first time monthly donor Claire has filled the role of Ça Marche choreographer, so we asked why! Why would she wake up early on a Sunday, rain or shine, to holler herself hoarse for hours to a bunch of spandex-clad youth-health service supporters? “As a queer identified person, I desperately wish I’d had Sense Project animators come give workshops in my high school. Sex-positive workshops on consent, STIs, conception, gender orientation and more? Yes please! Helping to make this happen by leading a pack of dreamy dancers through the street is like a fantasy come to life.”

Well Claire, Ça Marche is like a fantasy come to life for us too! With DJ Tamika (Cousins, Faggity Ass Fridays) on the battery-powered decks and lots of glitter to go around thanks to Salon Identité co owner and Head & Hands boardie Dave Landry, we hope you’ll join us, and bring your groove along, too.

Claire Lyke’s dance studio, Studio des Bêtes Dansantes is famous for it’s amazingly fun “Queer Dance Classes for Everyone”.

September is Ça Marche month on the blog! Let’s come together for the Farha Foundation’s walk on September 30th, and raise money for our HIV prevention, education, and support services for youth. Join our team, make a donation, get involved!

Getting Crafty at NDG Arts Week


Guest post by the fabulous Robyn Fadden, member of the Head & Hands Board of Directors

The neighbourhood of Notre-Dame-de-Grace is as creative as it is cozy – and the upcoming NDG Arts week, August 18-26, proves the case. Along with artists of all stripes, photographer, crafter and organizer extraordinaire Melinda Carrière contributes to the arty happening with a second edition of the wittily named All the Rage Craft Fair, on August 19.

With an expanded fair this year – Montreal artisans and designers will be selling everything from hand-made jewelry and beauty products to children’s clothes and vintage items – located at a new venue, Le Manoir (5319 Notre-Dame-de-Grace), a big turnout is expected. The proceeds from table rentals at this summer’s craft fair will all go to Head & Hands, as they did from last year’s holiday craft fair, also organized by Melinda.

Presence in the neighbourhood was one reason Head & Hands stood out as the obvious choice, but personal experience was also a factor: “I’ve had friends who had volunteered or worked there previously. One of them said to me that he realized how much of an impact he made as a volunteer there – kids would come up to him on the street and say hi and tell him how awesome he was for them.”

Before heading into a BFA in Photography, Melinda had thoughts about becoming a teacher – she aligns that interest in education and youth with her appreciation for Head & Hands: “The fact that there’s an organization like this available to young people is amazing. I come from a small town and there just aren’t programs like that around. The Sense Project as well – that wasn’t done years ago, and it’s so necessary. I just want to support that.”

Melinda was supported in organizing this year’s fair by friend, fellow crafter and NDG-dweller Jessie Evans, who co-curated the fair via submissions from crafters in NDG and other Montreal neighbourhoods. “Ideally we want to bring NDG crafters to the forefront,” says Jessie. “Once you start networking with other crafters, you realize how some of the bigger craft fairs are quite hard to get into,” adds Melinda, “especially for newer crafters and those outside the Plateau and Mile End – there was still an opportunity for another craft fair of a different sort.”

All the Rage is a far cry from shopping at the mall. “A lot of the crafters we have also do up-cycled and recycled work and clothing, making new things out of discarded but perfectly workable objects,” says Melinda. “It’s a positive trend right now, a part of being a conscious consumer.”

In another nod to NDG’s family-friendly atmosphere, events and workshops for kids and teens will be going on at the same time as the craft fair in different rooms at Le Manoir, so parents can peruse the tables while their kids are otherwise occupied.

All the Rage Craft Fair, Sunday, August 19, 12-5 p.m. At Le Manoir (5319 Notre-Dame-de-Grace), up the hill from Girouard Park.

Melinda makes feathered creations as Mielcoeur (

Jessie’s vintage clothing and button jewelry can be found at Crime Is Beauty (