In order to achieve our goals in HIV, HCV and STBBI prevention and in reducing the risks associated with drug use and street lifestyle, we must continually adapt the activities we offer. Far from working in isolation, the peer helpers’ regular presence in partner organizations and the exchanges they have with youth as well as other workers in the field allow them to keep pace in their domain. This presence on the field also ensures that work done in teams with peer helpers is then redirected towards partner organizations, who not only benefit from it, but also contribute to it.
Here, we explain the principle poles around which the GIAP’s activities are structured. These activities, however, are not fixed. They change over time, based on the evolution of the domain, the emergence of new trends and the development of knowledge with regards to prevention, harm reduction and social cohabitation.
Individual or Small Group Intervention
In their work with partner organizations, peer helpers meet youth with whom they build trust-based relationships. Peer helpers aim to foster self-care and the taking of charge of one’s overall health among the youth with whom they work. To this end, they employ active listening and support the actions taken by youth themselves. The issues that are most often raised in individual intervention concern harm reduction, management of drug use, interpersonal relationships, sexuality, dealing with one’s emotions and autonomy. The wide range of issues tackled by youth illustrates the comprehensive alternative intervention approach that characterizes the peer helpers’ action plan. Peer helpers can also refer and accompany youths to other services as needed. Peer helpers find informal moments to provide information related to STBBIs and to promote a message of health through harm reduction. In individual interventions, peer helpers may use the numerous original and alternative prevention tools developed as a team.
Peer helpers also offer group intervention with various objectives, from STBBI prevention to the demystification of life on the street, through developing organizational skills among youths. Group interventions are most often centred on recreational activities or awareness-raising workshops. Whether they are offered with our partner organizations, in high schools or at the Festival d’Expression de la Rue, the various activities peer helpers organize help them to meet their objectives.
The peer helpers here at GIAP would be pleased to meet you, and to offer the animation of fun-filled, educational activities in your space! Our innovative workshops strive to reach youth in precarious life situations. Depending on the target audience, certain charges may apply. If you are interested in having us animate an activity, please visit our Animations section!
Quiz on STI`s or Prevention Twister
This activity, conceived with specifically for youth, can be delivered to any number of audiences interested in learning more about sexually transmitted and blood born infections. This activity aims to increased awareness on various STI’s, how they are transmitted, as well as means to protect yourself. The quiz can be animated on its own, or with the support of the Twister game to make it more dynamic. The length of the activity may be tailored to fit your specific needs.
- 2h of animation: 150$
- Each extra hour: 55$
Button making workshop
This workshop is geared to at-risk youth. The goal is to acquire new skills while at the same time tapping into their intuitive creativity. This activity may be easily adapted to fit a particular theme, whether it be the fight against homophobia or racism, or addiction prevention. Through button making, sensitive subjects like sexuality and the prevention of STI’s may be approached in a comfortable and non-intrusive way. This activity has a minimum length of one hour; however its format may be adapted to fit your needs
- 1h of animation: 55$
- 2h of animation: 75$
Parcours-Party (Party Road)
This activity is aimed towards youth, and recreates a typical night of partying. It allows participants to acquire knowledge on drugs based on their own experiences of use. Fake drugs are placed on a table, and the participants are asked a series of questions related to the effects of the drug, , which mixes are to be avoided, and the length of its effect. The activity also includes a quiz on the different kinds of condoms available, and how to use them properly. This allows participants to learn and be informed about safer sex practices. With an approximate duration of an hour and a half, the activity can be adapted to your needs.
- 2h of animation: 150$
- Each extra hour: 55$
This workshop is geared to at-risk youth.
The goal of the workshop is to build new cooking skills, as a means of empowering youth by improving their autonomy and self-sufficiency. With the help of donations from local food banks, the peer helpers, along with the participants, cook up a storm of healthy and affordable meals, that can be easily recreated following the workshop This workshop also conveys the importance of hygiene when dealing with food. After the meal has been prepared, everyone sits down and enjoys the fruits of their labour, to discuss about what they have learned, and to exchange on a variety of subjects related to health. This workshop lasts a total of three and a half hours, and has a maximum of 8 participants. In order to host this workshop at your organization, we ask that you have a cooking area big enough for ten people, as well as a few basic cooking tools. Donations from a food bank are also required.
- 145$ If all the commodities for the activity are provided by you.
- 180$ All commodities will be taken care of by the Peer Helpers team.
The SEXpression Workshop
This workshop is geared to at-risk youth. This discussion-based allows participants to explore sexuality and STI prevention, through a lens of respect for oneself and one’s partners. The workshop is designed for a small group of 5-6 individuals. Some big picture questions are brought up by the peer helpers, including “What does respect mean to you in sexuality?” “Are there certain things related to sex that you just can’t talk about?”. The content of the workshop can vary from one group to another depending on what participants wish to discuss. This workshop lasts approximately 75 minutes, depending on the group.
- 90$ for the first workshop.
- 60$ for every one that follows.
Training: “Demystifying the Realities of the street-involved youth”
This training is designed for individuals and professionals who are mandated to intervene with youth that are facing precarious life situations, mainly health care professionals, police officers, firefighters, etc. Drawing from the life experiences of the peer helpers, this interactive training focuses on the risk factors and the realities in which street involved youth find themselves and attempts to demystify them. This presentation helps to promote understanding about the realities of street-involved youth among participants in order to inform more successful interventions. This training lasts two hours, but it’s format can be adjusted to your needs.
Training: “Drugs and the Street: Harm reduction as an alternative approach”
This training is aimed towards professionals who intervene with individuals who use drugs and who are street involved. Based on the experiential knowledge of the peer helpers, this training allows participants to familiarise themselves with current trends in the use of psychoactive substances, to the way of life in the street, as well as to harm reduction as an approach. More specifically, this training discusses the main substances that are most popular in Montreal, the impacts that drug use may have on behaviour, of the mixing of recreational and prescription drugs and the associated risks, withdrawal and relapse prevention. This training is two hours, and allows for a good deal of discussion and interaction among participants.
Community involvement is another field of action of the GIAP. In order to play an active role in understanding the evolution of the street environment and determining the best approaches to responding to needs of the domain, the GIAP is involved in many community activities and dialogues. The GIAP team is represented at the Table de concertation Jeunesse-Itinérance, which brings together organizations working with at-risk youth. The team is also present at the Table de concertation du Faubourg Saint-Laurent, which brings together various participants to promote communication and dialogue about community security issues. The GIAP also mobilizes around the issue of the criminalization of the homeless, and is an active participant in l’Opération Droits Devants’ activities. The group also takes part in the Nuit des sans-abri de Montréal in order to raise public awareness about the realities of homelessness. As a part of the Festival d’Expression de la Rue, the GIAP organizes an annual citizens’ forum, which brings together various players in Montreal’s downtown community around the theme of social cohabitation. The GIAP’s peer helpers also participate in community activities organized by their partner organizations, from community meals to special events such as the «Blitz de récupération de matériel de consommation à la traîne».
Promoting the Peer-Based Intervention Approach
The GIAP’s peer helpers are experts in the peer-based intervention approach. They are also experts on the street environment and the realities at-risk youth. In this capacity, they are often called upon to share their experiences, knowledge and intervention approach with various groups. Through their significant presence at the GIAP’s partner organizations, peer helpers promote peer-based intervention among workers and management at these organizations. Working in tandem with different groups also provides the GIAP with the opportunity to promote peer-based intervention. Furthermore, since the beginning of the project in 1993, the GIAP has collaborated closely with university researchers and continues to do so. This has, as a result, contributed to the recognition of the peer-based intervention approach in the field of intervention work. The project’s originality and innovation continues to draw the interest of social science researchers. Please see our Tools and Docs section to learn more. Peer helpers also offer regular education sessions to demystify the realities faced by at-risk youth among professionals in health care and social work or among students who are likely to work with marginalized populations in their chosen fields. Reducing prejudice held by professionals with regards to at-risk youth is an effective way to facilitate their access to necessary services. This tactic is integral to the comprehensive approach to health that prevails at the GIAP.
Promoting Collective Empowerment and Social Change
At the GIAP, we recognize that health takes on a social dimension; it must be understood and defined with regards to the self, one’s relationships with others and one’s place in society. The fight against social exclusion and for the recognition of marginalized persons as full citizens is as a result, perfectly consistent with the GIAP’s work in improving the health of at-risk youths. Social issues such as citizenship, cohabitation, the sharing of public space, and respect for fundamental rights must be addressed in a collective manner. The organization of the Festival d’Expression de la Rue is a good example of collective empowerment. Furthermore, the quality of an individual’s physical and social environment largely influences their ability to take charge of their health. For example, we cannot expect injection drug users to use sterile syringes to reduce their risks of contracting STBBIs if they aren’t available in their area, nor can we expect a youth experiencing major psychological distress to ask for help if there is no support network available to them. Therefore, through their presence in the field, by facilitating access to sterile injection equipment in isolated networks and by organizing workshops to reduce prejudice surrounding youth in difficulty, the GIAP’s peer helpers contribute to making Montreal’s downtown more amenable to healthier lifestyles, particularly with regards to the prevention of STBBIs.