No one could have missed that SL just celebrated its 8th birthday. For this very special occation, many of the most prominent businesses in SL got to display their fantastic sculpting capabilities on what was known as SL8B Island.
One of these were our old friends at Virtual Ability Island. Gentle Heron was more than happy to explain everything that was displayed,
especially the big centerpiece known as the Group Hug sculpture. It’s a compilation of several characters in different colors hugging each other. Looking closely, you’ll see that the characters are variations of VAI’s logo.
“We do a lot of hugging in our community” Heron explains. She elaborates further by explaining “People with disabilities have ‘skin hunger’ because we don’t get touched as much as others do and we need a lot of support comfort. SL hugs aren’t like the real thing, but if you don’t get RL hugs, then SL ones are great.”
At a big sign proclaiming “Group hugs”, the name of the center sculpture, we found a “newbie”, a sculpted fake avi made to look like an actual newcomer, wearing the VAI Tourist hat and camera, available in VAI’s New Resident Orientation Pathway. The Orientation Pathway guides people through the Advanced Mode of Viewer 2, with several activities that gives you free stuff if you succeed. If you need extra help, there are mentors that can guide you. The path is designed using Universal Design, a design made especially to help people with different impairments while still working great for regular people.
VAI is part of over 100 different support groups for people with chronic impairments or health conditions. Besides the 5 islands in SL, they also have an island in InWorldz.
This is Gentle Heron’s 3rd time at the SLxB, she began with SL5B as a newcomer and ever since, VAI has been a central part of the SLxB Island.
Though VAI doesn’t give RL support or technology, they do a lot of RL work and can give referrals to RL resources to help those who need it and trains people how to use their aids correctly.
If you want more information about VAI you can find them on the web or send them a mail.
If you’re interested in helping out, contact Gentel Heron, Eme Capalini or LadySlipper Constantine inworld.
Article by: Morphman
Photos by: Izzie
Copy Edited by: Kamal Lyvette (Thanks for the help)