Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 28, No.4

October 23, 2003


Head and Hands reaches out to Montreal teens

Centraide at Concordia

A lot of teddy bears will be looking for sponsors on Thursday, Oct. 30, at lunchtime.

For the second year, the business students’ charity group CASA Cares and the Concordia Centraide committee will run the Teddy Bear Adoption Agency in the lobby of the Guy Métro Building.

Once adopted, many of the bears will be donated to the Montreal Children’s Hospital. The money will go to Centraide.

As organizer Mona Sénécal says, “Don’t leave us bare — Show you care — Donate a bear.” You can contact her at ext. 2721, or CASA Cares at ext. 7381.

The Centraide campaign is well under way, and there’s a lot of money to raise — the goal this year is $140,000. The most effective way to give is through a payroll deducation. For only $5 per paycheque, the cost of a coffee latte, you could be giving $150 for the year; for $10 a paycheque, $260.

There will be more events, including the ever-popular bake sales and toonie lines. Watch this space or go to for developments.

If you’d like to get involved or hold an event, contact a member of the committee: Kathleen Perry, Miriam Posner, Jorge Sanchez, Kristina Ramsay, Nancy Curran, Barbara Woodside, Perry Calce, Francine Kolodychuk, Sandra Spina, Pierrette Lucas, Reeta Tremblay and Isabelle Bouvier.

by Cindy Davis

Six years ago, Angela Campeau was a 19-year-old pregnant woman who felt isolated and alone. That was when she turned to the Young Parents’ Program (YPP) sponsored by Head & Hands.

“I had nothing in common with my friends any more; I had to stay home now, I couldn’t party. It was really hard,” she said from the community center on St. Jacques St. where the YPP is located. “Here we give each other advice, we have discussions on rearing kids. We give each other comfort and tell each other, ‘You’re doing a good job.’ ”

The Youth Parents’ Program is one of the many resources made available to young adults in Montreal by Head & Hands.

“Head & Hands provides youth with the tools they need to make decisions,” said director Nicole Fournier Sylvester. “Our mission is to reach youth where they are without judgment.”

Head & Hands offers a wide range of free social, medical and legal services to youth under 25 in Montreal. It was founded over 30 years ago when a group of street workers hanging out in Girouard Park in N.D.G decided there was a need for services geared towards youth in the area. The organization has grown ever since.

“It was N.D.G.-based and has stayed that way,” Sylvester said. “I think the fact that 30 years later we are still pertinent to youth and meeting their needs and are still with them speaks to our ability to adapt.”

Head & Hands now relies heavily on funding by Centraide, which provides more than $115,000 each year, more than a quarter of the organization’s budget.

The Head & Hands office at 5833 Sherbrooke St. W. looks like a store from the outside, but its second floor has full medical rooms and counselling areas decorated with wall hangings and murals to make young people feel at home.

They provide free HIV and gynecological tests without judgment. “You can say you’ve had 60 partners and no one here is going to blink,” Sylvester said.

On Nov. 6, Head & Hands will premiere their new sex education video, which will be shown in workshops they provide to schools in the area. They will also launch their “All Sexed Up” fundraising campaign, selling posters showing vaginas of women of different ethnicities and body types.

“We decided to do the poster to answer the common question of ‘Am I normal?’ that women often have,” Sylvester said. “Most people find it empowering even though at first it may seem shocking.”

The group also provides free tutoring to high school students.

Gabriela Richman has been working for Head & Hands for more than 10 years and is co-ordinator of the Youth Parents’ Program. She feels the organization is unique because of the variety and flexibility of services it provides.

“We focus on their individual needs,” she said.

If you would like to volunteer for any services offered by Head & Hands, or if you are a young parent under the age of 24 and would like to get involved in the Young Parents’ Program, please call 481-0277.