Second Life is a virtual experience where all things are possible. It offers us the chance to engage in things individuals with physical and cognitive challenges might not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy; live music, long walks on the beach, bike rides, shopping malls, sailing, dancing, and more.
Along with entertainment and socialization opportunities, there are activities such as support groups, workshops on health, presentations from noted institutions such as the Mayo Clinic and Harvard University, opportunities for small business development, learning a new language, even taking classes and finishing a degree.
BEST has created a virtual presence for reaching out to a neurodivergent community and their caregivers. BEST hosts a variety of social events, small group discussions, workshops, and skills training. Our trainers also work with nonprofit leaders, businesses, artists, and educators on how to support cognitive challenges in the workplace, respectful communication, how to navigate bad behaviors and more.
Our goal in Second Life is twofold:
- to support those with cognitive challenges & differences to engage in alternative and meaningful learning and PEER support and
- to help those that interact with individuals with brain injury, autistics, and others to understand best practices and how to employ meaningful supportive engagement.
Studies show that many of those with physical and cognitive challenges have an increased sense of self-worth, belonging, and improved quality of life through the many experiences they have in Second Life and are better able to adjust to changing real life circumstances. Stephen Bennett, of United Cerebral Palsy, stated in an interview with CNN.com, “… people with disabilities experience a sense of worth, freedom, and the ability to contribute to society when they use Second Life.”
BEST created the BEST PEER Center at Etopia Sustainable Community for BESTies to get together to spend time socializing, have support group meetings, learn how to live healthy lives, and much more. We offer in-world facilitator training, our acclaimed Moving On & Identity After TBI course, workshops, mindfulness retreats, and our annual Cognitive Convention; CogniCon. Visit our calendar for more information.
Etopia is a reflection of what is possible in real life. The overarching theme of our simulation showcases a broad range of sustainability solutions to modern day issues including organic food production, cooperative business, regenerative agriculture, green infrastructure, and what creates a strong, vibrant community. What do these ideas have to do with brain health? Plenty!
Etopia has always been a virtual collaboration space for individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and others from around the world. It is filled with organic, cooperative, and sustainable living systems. Our islands are designed to reflect how we can have what we need (and want) to live well without compromising the greater good or negatively impacting our environment. This means that BEST program participants learn about, and experience the value of, how to live a healthier life while supporting the health of our planet.
From the moment you enter Etopia Plaza, you’ll experience a community like no other, built on core principles of regenerative living, cooperation, and the best way to support the collective good.
We shared the story of our transformation to a completely online organization using Second Life as a core component of our education and support opportunities at the 2022 Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education.
In 2018 Etopia was a featured presentation at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference. Learn more about Etopia and BEST in this video:
Enjoy the video below from a conference held in Second Life in 2015. We share our BEST superhero story and why we are in Second Life (begins at the 2:54 mark and ends at 9:45).