Death Education Needs to Hit the Road & I'm Ready to Drive the Bus
Thank you for taking the time to check out this campaign. The Intention of this Bus
is to bring healing, awareness and conversations about death and dying to our streets, our schools and to public and private events in Vermont. Here is an idea of what will be on board:
Copious amounts of sensory objects to engage visitors
Diagrams of the human body
Information about funeral homes
What is involved in Family Directed Funerals
Explanations of various means of disposition
Information on aging and terminal illness
Book lists for all ages
Tools for moving with grief
Music, of course
Plenty of conversation
Special guests who also do this work!
I have means of marketing, scheduling, and magnetizing, but I do need help with funding this project. 100% of the information on board will be free to the public. If this project is successful within the first year,* I will create a non-profit to keep it going. In the meantime, you can keep donating here so I can keep up with insurance, gas and maintenance. Where the Money Will Go
The bus I would like to purchase is about 9,000 used. I will then need to register, insure, change the tires and begin filling it with all the items necessary to make this a worthy resource for community death care. HOWEVER, this is an ongoing project and although purchasing the vehicle will take time I'll actually set out in my own SUV this fall. Your contributions will not be wasted!A Bit About Me, My Work and My Efforts:
I have volunteered more than 1000 hours in the past two years to families, individuals, teens and children in need of death and dying education, techniques for care and ceremony, suicide awareness and information regarding legal rights. I love this work. This is the work of my heart, my inspiration and my life. I have never charged a fee and never denied anyone who had a question or concern.
I have certificates as a Death Doula (or Death Midwife) and Funeral Celebrant. This work took up the greater part of 2017 and 2018. Previously I worked as a licensed Nurse Assistant and Private Duty Nurse in residential care, was Director of Meals on Wheels and was a Hospice Volunteer. I've hosted Death Cafés in three towns, cared for multiple bodies post-mortem, hosted two home funerals, overseen a home burial, written and officiated funerals and taught teens and children about death and dying in a formal environment. I received national exposure when a local article about my work as a Death Doula was picked up by USNews and the Washington Times. I have spoken to the ICU staff at two hospitals and I receive multiple phone calls each week from friends and strangers seeking information about their particular situation.
I am currently enrolled in school to complete the Funeral Director Certificate program. (This of course is in addition to my regular job) I have yet to secure an apprenticeship which is the only path to licensure. However, daily, confirmation arrises which solidifies what I already know... Death Education, discussions about death and dying, resources for those who do not know what their rights are or what the options for disposition are, is needed right NOW. And, since no one actually *wants* to talk about death, and if they do, rarely do they go out of their way to do so, I will bring the conversation to them.
On a personal note, if you do not know me, I was a teen mother, am now mother to a 22 year old, 17 year old and an almost 4 year old. I tell you this as I have worked with my children through many suicides, tragic accidents and overdoses of their friends and most recently the slower death of a grandparent. Being a mother is a grandiose part of my life and discussions of death and dying are a regular topic in our household. Thankfully my sweet husband supports and also engages in all of this work!Some Highlights of How I Have Donated Over the Years
I have been a professional event coordinator for 20 years and have used my coordination gifts to always give to my community, businesses and individuals.
For several years I coordinated the Montpelier Fashion Show in Montpelier Vermont. When downtown businesses were unable to pay the entry fee for the event, I would personally take a cut to my pay to allow them entry. I did this more than once for several businesses.
As coordinator of Meals on Wheels in Montpelier, when one of the routes was going to be cut due to the town not passing their request for funding, I volunteered my time to coordinate a Vintage Fashion Show and donated all of the proceeds to keep the route going for another year.
When I recently hosted and coordinated the first Vermont Death & Dying Symposium which attracted more than 800 (but only 50 actually attended) I allowed five people to attend for free and seven to stay for free in my home. The speakers and all expenses were paid, I was not.
Even when I created Mourning Bracelets
which I sell nearly at cost, I give them to those who request them- I have not denied anyone. To me, the sharing of vulnerability to better our communities and our world is more important than making money off from every order. To date, Mourning Bracelets have shipped to 20 states in the US, and to the UK. I have given away and shipped dozens of bracelets for free.
There are several Testimonials on my website which can be viewed here: Stardust Meadow & Village Deathcare
However, I have worked with a great deal more people than this... It is not always appropriate to ask for a review and other times the people I have served cannot remember all of what I did for them because they were in such a state of despair. This is typical in this work.
Thank you for reading and thank you for caring. Every little bit of money helps to make this resource bus possible, but even if you are unable to donate, please share so others might be inspired to help!
* I will consider this project to be successful if I am being regularly contacted to bring the bus to various locations and if when at these locations the amount of people served seems worthy of my efforts. I will be keeping track of my efforts, the inquiries and the attendance at these gatherings.