Non Profit Second Life Case Studies – Part I

Big ups to the folks over at Tech Soup for these Second Life Case studies. I still think it’s dying off IMHO but the results are still there. What do you think? Leave us a comment.

Counseling and Support Services: Through Second Life people dealing with sensitive issues like addiction, HIV, sexual and physical abuse, can connect with one another in an environment where their anonymity can be guaranteed.

o One of the original Nonprofit Commons (NOC) tenants, Preferred Family Healthcare, seeks to provide information about substance abuse, addiction, and mental health issues. During September 2009, Preferred Family Healthcare sponsored activities to promote National Substance Abuse Recovery Month to promote awareness of recovery from substance abuse and support those who have made the choice to become sober. Another goal of their Second Life work is to promote awareness of self-help groups, such as Twelve Steps, Alcoholics Anonymous, etc. for use to aid the recovery process. Preferred Family Healthcare has donated a portion of their sim for use by groups for meetings, gathering, and social interaction for the self-help groups and community within Second Life. Individuals also have the ability to contact Preferred Family Healthcare in-world if they are looking for assistance in their real life communities, and be provided with resources in or near their home community to access real life services.

o Preferred Family Healthcare currently is working with the Missouri Foundation of Health through a grant to provide substance abuse treatment services to adolescents who are coming out of residential substance abuse treatment. This project is being provided through the Open Life Grid currently to provide the confidentiality of the clients being served. This provides a unique opportunity to use the technology of virtual worlds to aid in their treatment process.

o The Transgender Resource Center is another support services nonprofit that effectively uses the relative anonymity of avatars in Second Life to allow folks to explore identity issues and receive support in a safe space, and locate support resources in their real life area. A touching testimony of the importance of Second Life in dealing with transgender issues can be found here:

· Collaboration and Networking: All nonprofits who find networking to be beneficial were seeking to find, bring in, and collaborate with others focused on their same cause. Through in-world meetings, people from disparate parts of the globe can chat (by text and voice), share documents and information, work together on virtual projects, build communities around their causes, and counsel and support members and users.

o Transitions: A Place for Dreams: Several representatives of nonprofits with similar missions (Community Voicemail, Floaters, and Bridges for Woman) and nonprofit technologists, who all met in Second Life, are working together with on a virtual project that exists only in the Second Life. Together they are working on creating a set of individualized learning experiences and avenues for assistance for homeless or anyone else wanting to create a new life for themselves. Forthcoming is the publication of their academic paper “Transitions: A Place for Dreams — Second Chances in Second Life”, which describes the outcomes of participation in the curriculum for one student. In addition, Sandra Andrews of Floaters is the co-author of a book chapter coming out that describes the progress of a student through the Transitions curriculum in terms of art in Second Life.

o Other nonprofits, such as Sustainable Harvest International (SHI), providing farmers and communities in the tropics with long-term assistance implementing environmentally and economically sustainable technologies, were interested in collaborating via communities such as NPC to promote their cause, learn, and leverage resources and capabilities. SHI noted that “Being involved in NPC has been great to see how other nonprofits make use of the virtual world.”