Reminiscent of the college "Death Class" I wrote about recently, high school seniors at The Harley School - a high school - in Rochester, New York, have had the option of taking a class called “Hospice” for some years now. Most who sign up for it don’t really know what they’re getting into. In almost every case, the class leaves a deep, positive impression on the students.
Ten years ago the Harley School in Rochester hired Bob Kane, to teach not only English, but to lead a hospice volunteer program for high school students. Having just received the Leading Edge Award for his work at another high school in Rochester to link high schoolers with nursing home patients, Kane was eager to continue to develop his ideas around the positive role young people might provide to help provide emotional and physical support to hospice patients.
Harley’s class - a year-long elective - is called "Hospice." Students must attend a daily class and complete a minimum of eight hours a month in outside the classroom fieldwork. The first class had only nine students in it. Some years later, Kane believes that as many as 75% of Harley seniors are signing up, primarily based on word-of-mouth support and good words from fellow students.
David Marshall has created a documentary film - see trailer here - about this hospice class in Rochester where students learn to care for dying. David, an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, followed the hospice class for two years. In this documentary, Beginning with the End, the question Marshall works to answer is: "Can empathy be taught?"
To our Health, Wealth, and burgeoning Death Awareness as a culture! Dancing heart~~~