Here are answers to some frequently asked questions. Please don't hesitate to email beyondyonder@communitydeathcaring.ca to request a registration application or to ask any other questions you may have about the BEyond Yonder Virtual School for Community Deathcaring in Canada.



HOW IS THE BEYOND YONDER VIRTUAL SCHOOL FOR COMMUNITY DEATHCARING IN CANADA UNIQUE?

There are many ways of learning about the cultural reclamation of dying and deathcare through books, workshops, conferences and online study. The BEyond Yonder Virtual School for Community Deathcaring in Canada coursework is unique in that it combines online accessibility with shared learning in a virtual classroom where 9 – 13 students remain engaged with one another and their teachers and Cassandra Yonder (acting as an administrator and TA) throughout the duration of their coursework. The high costs associated with travel are avoided, yet the important community building aspect is experienced virtually in small classes.

We are also unique in that our core program courses are taught solely by Canadians; therefore we offer content with a Canadian focus that is still relevant and applicable for international students.

The value of the core program is outstanding. Students receive 10 different week long modules of study taught by 10 different teachers. Considering that weekend workshops usually cost around $400 plus travel, the core program offers at least 10 times as much content and instruction for a fraction of the cost one would incur to take as many different training opportunities.

WHO IS THE BEYOND YONDER VIRTUAL SCHOOL FOR COMMUNITY DEATHCARING IN CANADA’S COURSEWORK DESIGNED FOR?

The coursework is meant for anyone who is committed to deepen a community centered deathcaring practice; whether that is for personal exploration, to serve immediate family and community members on a volunteer basis, to enrich an existent career or to establish offerings to the public for pay.

IS THE COURSEWORK RELEVANT FOR STUDENTS WHO DON’T LIVE IN CANADA?

Yes. The BEyond Yonder Virtual School for Community Deathcaring in Canada’s core program is taught exclusively by Canadians and will focus on Canadian content, yet the subject matter is general enough that those from other countries will benefit as well. Where applicable, teachers will encourage students to compare and contrast regional distinctions.

WHAT IS THE PRICE OF THE CORE PROGRAM?

Registration for the BEyond Yonder Virtual School for Community Deathcaring in Canada’s core 12 week program costs $2300 CAD plus applicable tax (HST/GST). The core program offers excellent value since students receive many hours, resources and instruction for the fee. Considering that weekend workshops are usually about $400 each plus travel expenses, students are getting learning equivalent to at least 10 different individual workshops!

IS A DEPOSIT REQUIRED TO RESERVE MY REGISTRATION?

Yes. A $400 deposit is required to reserve a registration and registrations are accepted on a first come, first serve basis. The deposit is non refundable unless the coursework isn’t offered within a year in which case it would be returned. The remainder of the registration fee is due to be paid in full 3 weeks prior to the commencement of coursework.

ARE THERE ANY EXTRANEOUS COSTS?

Each student will need a computer (mac or pc) with a high speed internet connection (minimum 1.5 Mb/s download and 0.3Mb/s upload) plus a webcam and a headset/microphone to participate in the virtual classroom. All readings and materials needed to complete the coursework will be provided. Some students may wish to purchase additional readings and resources that are suggested at their own expense.

I WISH TO APPLY FOR THE BEYOND YONDER VIRTUAL SCHOOL FOR COMMUNITY DEATHCARING IN CANADA'S CORE PROGRAM BUT I CAN'T AFFORD TO PAY THE COST OF REGISTRATION. IS THERE ANY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE FOR ME?

If you are someone who is in need of financial assistance in order to be able to apply to the BEyond Yonder Virtual School for Community Deathcaring in Canada's core program, consider approaching your local Hospice association and/or other charitable organizations who have education funding and ask for full or partial coverage to pay your registration fees. Describe what you intend to bring back to the community upon completion of your certificate and don't hesitate to offer to put them directly in contact with us. Organizations with whom you have already been actively volunteering may be more receptive.

It is our goal to be able to offer financial assistance to students as we are able (based on donations). Please let us know if you are in need of financial assistance.

DO YOU PROVIDE CERTIFICATION FOR PRACTITIONERS?

While some educational offerings claim to certify their students we don’t believe that it is legal or ethical to do so at this point in time since there is no extraneous governing body to oversee professional practice in the field. Therefore, we find certification misleading for students and the public at large. The BEyond Yonder Virtual School for Community Deathcaring in Canada does offer a certificate of completion for anyone who has fulfilled the requirements to complete the core program. We believe that our certificate has merit in the field though anyone who practices community deathcare on a fee for service basis bears the responsibility to practice legally and ethically and to share their credentials and relevant experience with prospective clients.

Before selecting a community deathcare education, consider educating yourself about the distinction between “certification” and a “certificate of completion”. See the following link for example:  (http://www.asha.org/CE/CEUs/Professional-Certification-vs-Certificate-Program/).

IF I TAKE THE CORE PROGRAM WILL I BE CONSIDERED A PROFESSIONAL DEATH MIDWIFE?

The short answer is that there is no such thing as a “Professional Death Midwife”. [Birth] Midwifery is a licensed profession in Canada, meaning that it is illegal to use the title “Midwife” to refer to oneself (or to claim to be practicing “midwifery” for the public for pay) unless one holds a current licence. Furthermore, without 3rd party regulation and in the absence of any professional associations or governing bodies in the field, professional certification, accreditation and licensure are nonexistent.

That being said, community deathcare practitioners may use any (unregulated) title they wish to describe the work they do since there are no standards of practice or codes of ethics. Practitioners are self identified and many call themselves “Death Midwives”, “Death Doulas”, “Thanadoulas”, “End of Life Coaches”, “Home Funeral Guides”, “Spiritual Midwives”, “Psychopomps” and by other names as well.

WILL I BE COMPETENT TO PRACTICE COMMUNITY DEATHCARE AFTER I TAKE THE CORE PROGRAM?

The BEyond Yonder Virtual School for Community Deathcaring in Canada’s core program offers a comprehensive introduction to many aspects of community centered deathcaring practice and we anticipate that recipients of the certificate of completion will find themselves well equipped to practice in a number of different ways.

We are confident that our graduates will find themselves comparatively well educated relative to their colleagues in the field, though we do encourage continuing education and mentorship in one’s area of expertise.

DOES THE BEYOND YONDER VIRTUAL SCHOOL FOR COMMUNITY DEATHCARING IN CANADA PROMOTE THE PROFESSIONALIZATION OF COMMUNITY CENTRED DEATHCARING?

We understand the desire to professionalize the practice so that the public understand that community deathcare is a legitimate and dependable offering, but ultimately view it is a grassroots endeavour. The BEyond Yonder Virtual School for Community Deathcaring in Canada prefers to celebrate the innate wisdom people possess to care for their dying and dead within their own families and communities Our purpose is to encourage and inspire the cultural reclamation of deathcare and to that end it is vital that some people offer services for pay while others practice as volunteers in their own families and communities so that ultimately regular people regain the essential skills to perform the basic acts of caring for one another throughout dying and deathcare again as has been done throughout history. We encourage participation and engagement with community deathcare in many ways.

WHAT IS A COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE?

The Community Deathcare Canada national organization is based on a "community of practice" model which is ideal for those who have offerings to share in the broad and inclusive field of community deathcare. Those who share the organization's mission, vision and values identify themselves and articulate their own unique offerings as well as their experiences, competencies and credentials so that the public can compare and contrast to choose the services that are right for them from a comprehensive national directory. The community relationships hold practitioners accountable without the need for standards or licensure. The model supports the co-creation of its own economy by putting control into the hands of those providing and procuring services rather than governing bodies. The community of practice is an ideal model for the grassroots practice of community centred deathcaring.

To learn more about communities of practice see the following link:  community of practice.

WHAT KINDS OF CAREERS ARE AVAILABLE FOR PRACTITIONERS OF COMMUNITY DEATHCARE?

While it is unlikely that one will come across any job postings for community deathcare practitioners, opportunities in this burgeoning field are abundant for those who have an entrepreneurial spirit. Some of the most “successful” practitioners are those who have an existent professional career that is enriched by community deathcare offerings. For example, a massage therapist might expand her practice to include massage for those who are dying or bereaved, or she might teach caregivers how to offer massage for their loved ones at end of life.

Those who think that there will be a job waiting for them after completing the program may be disappointed. Graduates will likely encounter a need to be creative to determine how to serve and whether or not they will be paid to do so.

IS THE PRACTICE OF COMMUNITY CENTRED DEATHCARING LEGAL? IS IT SAFE?

Many North Americans don't realize that they do have the legal and ethical rights as well as potentially a therapeutic benefit to care for their own dying and dead without professional intervention if they so choose. For the most part it is perfectly legal and safe for families and communities to provide their own deathcare. Those who offer deathcare services for a fee must check with their own local laws to ensure that it is legal to be paid for the services they are selling.

WHAT KIND OF TECHNOLOGY DO I NEED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE COURSEWORK?

A computer (mac or pc) with a high speed internet connection (minimum 1.5 Mb/s download and 0.3Mb/s upload) and Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari installed plus a webcam and a headset/microphone is really all that is needed. We are prepared to offer some technical support to utilize the BrainCert platform and engage one another in video/teleconferences.

ARE THERE ANY PREREQUISITES FOR THE COURSEWORK YOU OFFER?

The only prerequisite is that one have a genuine interest in deepening a community centred deathcaring practice in whatever way feels right, and that they are willing to actively participate in a virtual shared learning environment. Those who are willing to investigate and share their own innate wisdom as well as personal experiences they’ve had in the field will gain the most from the program.

WHAT ARE THE EXPECTATIONS OF STUDENTS?

Students are expected to show up; virtually speaking. We expect our students to be prepared to participate actively in the shared learning environment with their classmates and teachers and the Canadian deathcare community at large. Students are expected to spend about 3 hours per day to complete the lessons and assigned readings, answer questions in the discussion forums and participate in the video/teleconferences and to keep a daily personal journal. This is the minimum requirement to obtain a certificate of completion

WHAT KIND OF TIME COMMITMENT IS INVOLVED?

To meet the requirements of the 12 week core program, roughly 2-3 hours per day is needed for lessons, readings and daily coursework activities. Saturdays are breaks and there are 2 week long breaks in the program as well Some past students have reported that they were able to complete the required coursework in just an hour per day, while others have reported spending as much as 3-5 hours per day. The work is reflective in nature and so required substantial energetic investment from a personal

HOW MANY STUDENTS ARE IN EACH CLASS?

The BEyond Yonder Virtual School for Community Deathcaring in Canada only offers coursework to classes of students between 9 and 13. The class size is important to build relationships with others as we co-create community together and maximize the effectiveness of the shared learning environment.

WILL YOU SUPPLY ALL THE READING MATERIALS THAT ARE ASSIGNED?

Yes, all assigned readings will be provided in .pdf format or by a computer link to an article or video. Additional optional readings and resources may be purchased at individual student’s discretion.

WHAT ARE SOME OPPORTUNITIES FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION IN THE FIELD?

Community is an enormous field. Those who seek to continue to deepen their practice may choose to remain active in the burgeoning community by joining the Death Midwifery in Canada fb group where Cassandra Yonder posts each day from the social media. Those who live in Canada may also wish to join the Community Deathcare Canada which is an organization practitioners to share our offerings with one another and the public as we learn and grow together.

Community Deathcare practitioners may also wish to seek an apprenticeship or to find a mentor for support while they develop their own unique practice. Don't be afraid to approach others who share similar offerings and build positive and constructive relationships.

There are many incredible trainings and workshops in Canada and abroad for your consideration as well. If you are looking for something in particular please ask since we might be able to help you find what you're looking for.

CAN I RECEIVE CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS FOR COURSEWORK I COMPLETE FROM BEYOND YONDER VIRTUAL SCHOOL FOR COMMUNITY DEATHCARING IN CANADA?

Whether or not an institution accepts Continuing Education Credits for coursework or training is up to the discretion of that individual institution. We are more than willing to communicate directly with other institutions to establish their acceptance of the Beyond Yonder Virtual School for Community Deathcaring in Canada’s coursework for CEUs. As time goes on it is our intention to serve lots of students to enrich their practices by taking our coursework!

WHY DID THE NAME OF THE BEYOND YONDER VIRTUAL SCHOOL FOR DEATH MIDWIFERY IN CANADA CHANGE TO THE BEYOND YONDER VIRTUAL SCHOOL FOR COMMUNITY DEATHCARING IN CANADA?

Several of the provincial Canadian Colleges of [birth] Midwives requested (by issuing cease and desist letters) that death midwifery practitioners stop using the title Midwife as well as any reference to the practice of midwifery as is mandated by their legislation within the provincial Midwifery Acts. In order to maintain positive relations with the birth midwifery community, and in order to use increasingly accurate and appropriate language to describe the social movement about reclaiming community centred deathcaring, we welcomed the opportunity to relanguage our participation in the movement. The words “death midwifery” served a purpose to spark public imagination about what reclamation of deathcare might be and for that I will be forever grateful. I’m also glad that the burgeoning social movement has enough momentum to warrant the co-creation of its own vocabulary. The BEyond Yonder Virtual School for Community Deathcaring in Canada uses the phrase “community deathcare” to replace “death midwifery”. The verb “deathcaring” which appears in our title is a made up work which we believe describes the non professional act of caring for our loved ones who are dying, dead and bereaved. Deathcaring is what families and communities have done for one another throughout human history and it is our mission to facilitate the reclamation and remembrance of this grassroots wisdom and act of loving care.

HOW DO I REGISTER FOR BEYOND YONDER VIRTUAL SCHOOL FOR COMMUNITY DEATHCARING IN CANADA COURSEWORK?

Send us an email to request a registration application! beyondyonder@communitydeathcaring.ca