What’s sex got to do with volleyball?
When it comes to the annual Serve tournament held Sunday at Jeanne Mance Park, the connection is all about raising funds for youth sex education.
The tournament plays host to about 20 teams from local bars, all playing in support of Head and Hands, a non-profit youth organization.
The Serve event helps to fund the group’s Sense sex-ed program.
Grumpy’s Bar fielded one of the teams trading their barroom serving skills for a sharp serve on the volleyball court.
“For us, it’s great to give to something that we can see where that money is going,” Grumpy’s Bar manager Ram Kirshnan said.
“There’s a bunch of people that we know that Head and Hands has directly helped, [including] a bunch of our staff, former staff and regulars.”
The team raised more than $4,000 by selling a special staff calendar and by hosting themed nights at the bar.
The funds raised by the annual tournament help to train Sense program volunteers.
“We train volunteers aged 12 to 25 — which is our age mandate — to go to public schools, high schools, CEGEPs, universities, group homes, community centres, and do peer-based sex ed,” explained Richenda Grazette, Head and Hand’s director of fundraising and development.
The organization’s workshops cover topics such as consent, sexting and social media.
“These are things that unfortunately some teachers are uncomfortable with, or can’t teach. So having other youth teach it gives a unique perspective, and it’s a lot more effective,” Grazette added.
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The project was born when the provincial government dropped mandatory sex education 12 years ago.
For the past two years, Quebec has led a sex-ed pilot project, which the province will implement in the fall.
But Head and Hands believes much more needs to be done.
“The government of Quebec tried to bring back sex ed but at zero cost, which is impossible — they’re not giving space for sex ed to be taught,” said Charlie, a front-line worker with Head and Hands.
“They’re just telling teachers to make some space in their own curriculum, but it’s impossible because they’re overloaded.”