By Gemma Cleanslate
I have not written about Gentle Heron and Virtual Ability group for a while and was reminded of that when we were asked to attend a most interesting conference, 2023 Rural Disability Research and Practice Summit. Here the emphasis was on how difficult rural communities have such difficulties accessing digital life, and often real life activities. There are so many gaps in infrastructure, access, affordability and so little recognition by not only state government but also national government.
Gentle(Alice Krueger), a real example of having rural living issues, gave her presentation explaining what people could experience in second life that enhanced their real life and made it more enjoyable regardless of disabilities. There are so many on line communities that assist others. Three others made presentations affirming their real life situations and use of the internet and broadband. Gentle would send you access to the entire Summit is you want it.
I thought I would remind you all that there is such a wonderful group in second life that has so much information that can help one experience second life regardless of disability. Virtual Ability offers people places to learn about how to use second life viewers, to chat, mingle, experience exploring and find groups that might assist one with their individual issues.
Just visiting the region is a pleasure. A great place to start is just outside the Sojourner Auditorium where there is a teleport to many other locations on the regions, Virtual Ability (68/168/23), or enter at the Welcome Center. Here visitors can see a map of the region and find out about the background of the whole project and the mission. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Virtual%20Ability/127/127/23
For newcomers to Second Life the stop at the Orientation Path is easily reached by tp. The path has instructions from moving through camera control, flight training and more to make the people feel comfortable enough to move on.
Talking with Bob the Chatty Monkey (an intelligent bot) who inhabits the orientation path is fun so try it if you walk through the instructions path. Social interacting is also addressed as well as using inventory, map skills and teleporting. They can also pick up some basic free clothing to get started. When I stopped in I even grabbed a free pair of loafers that looked great. When one leaves they are ready to fly into second life activities especially if they visit the advanced tutorials area. In your travels stop by Mentor Park and take a balloon ride to see the whole region from above. It is a very pleasant region to visit. There are other ways to access second life for those visually impaired.
Right next to this region is an associated region called Health Island. This is such a boon for any people needing or just interested in any health issues physical or mental.
1. Welcome Center (Current)
2. Consumer Health Library
3. Health Exhibits
4. Conference Center
5. Herb Garden
6. Path of Support
7. Health & Wellness Center
8. Healthy Living Displays
9. Research Pavilion
10. Reading Room
11.Tai Chi Center
12. Outdoor Meditation
All these are available and easily reached by teleport at the entrance area.
I love the Path of support. I have taken friends there who are seeking a group that will support them in time of need. There are so many groups to check out and they all have a poster with the name and by right clicking seeing the group information and invitation to join.
As Gentle says about the island “It's a good idea to plan a monthly visit to Healthinfo island to check out at least one of the displays and exhibits. Informative and useful, they change each month. There's lots of variety! January's topics are: about sleep, lefthandedness, potatoes, dry skin, Braille, COVID test results, and how to interact with someone who has chronic pain. I stopped by one on sleep. This is such a basic need that I think we all have issues with at one time or another or chronically.
Start your tour here.
That is not the end of all that Virtual Ability has to offer and I will be writing more about it. The extent of presence in second life is not just on these two regions. If you are interested in becoming a member of the group you can contact Gentle Heron, Treasure Ballinger, or Eme Capalini. To learn more about Virtual Ability and all it’s resources check the website. https://virtualability.org/