An Invitation to Join an Internet Adventure!

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We are seeking volunteers in the second half of life to meet for 1 hour a week over 7 weeks — during either the spring or fall semester — with a student taking an Intergenerational Computing Course taught by a visionary IT professor at a large American university.

The students will earn college credit for taking you, their Community Partner, through a series of 7 structured sessions that take place completely online, in a 3D virtual environment. We will train them to be your guide (Buddy) on this adventure. You can live anywhere in the world, since all your meetings will take place via computer. Your time commitment is just 1 hour per week. Meetings are scheduled at your and the student’s convenience. You will meet one on one or, if you prefer, you and a partner can meet with the student together.

We can take only a few volunteers each semester. But we do maintain a waiting list. To participate, you will need to use a computer (PC or Mac), not a tablet or phone.  This requirement may change in the future, depending upon advances in technology.

Our project is described below. If you would like to be put on our list, or to explore other ways to join us, please email me at agelessmindproject@gmail.com

Lynne Berrett, MA, MSW (Lissena Wisdomseeker in virtual worlds)

Co-founder Ageless Mind Project (nonprofit 501c3)

“An Ageless Mind is flexible, zestful, curious, always growing….”

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New Frontiers for Well-Being

Are you someone in the second half of life who wants to sharpen your mind, strengthen your memory, and improve your quality of life? We can give you an unusual opportunity to do all this, and more.

Since 2013 we have been offering a unique group of stimulating activities, based on research and designed especially for mature adults, in a 3D virtual environment. (No, you do not need goggles to participate—just a computer and an avatar. You provide the computer; we provide the avatar.)

This is not a game. Rather, you will explore a computer simulation we have named Inspiration Island, our beautiful home in the virtual world of Second Life (secondlife.com), with a trained Buddy who will teach you how to navigate this new environment and also introduce you to our free, whole-brain training program.

On our island you will find other older adults who are also adventurous, like to think for themselves, and want to expand their abilities at every age. Yes, there are already many people from their 50’s to late 80’s who spend time in virtual worlds for just these reasons.

What else draws them?

They tell me they enjoy becoming friends with kindred spirits who may live half a world away from them. No one is segregated by age or race or location in an online world.

They say they are fascinated by the range of imaginative creations made by people like themselves – their own imagination and creativity flourish.

Their brains are nourished by the cognitive challenge of learning the unfamiliar skills that make virtual reality so engaging — like flying or teleporting or dancing to live music or creating a very personal avatar.

They say that taking part in our quests and group conversations puts them in touch with a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in their lives.

They appreciate the attention we pay to physical well-being. A big part of our program focuses on healthy self-care – diet, movement, sleep, stress reduction, memory enhancement.

Why a virtual world? Why not a webinar or a phone group to achieve the same things long-distance?

For many people, the ability to interact with others in avatar form allows you to decide how you want to present yourself to others – your age, your size, even your species. No one knows who you are unless you share your identity with them. Some people prefer to be animals or elves! There is a freedom in choosing how to express the way you feel inside, in a visual way, to others. This also allows you to change your avatar as you continue to evolve.

Perhaps a story will best illustrate the value of this special kind of online experience:

A retired physical education teacher in her late 60s, from the Midwest, found Second Life partly because she was becoming deaf. She learned of the large, supportive community there, made up of people with various disabilities. She soon spread her wings and became one of the most beloved volunteers at the many celebrations and conferences held in SL. I asked her to start an exercise-at-your-desk class for us, to teach people why and how to move their bodies at their computers. Since one can both speak and type in SL, she had no trouble communicating. She led the class and even made exercise outfits for our avatars. Sadly, she developed lung cancer and died. During the SL memorial services for her, the great outpouring of affection and grief showed just how much she meant to so many of us, even though we never met her in the flesh. She is one of the many people remembered in several of the SL memorial gardens.

Again, if you would like to be put on our list or would like to explore other ways to join us, please email me at agelessmindproject@gmail.com.

Lynne Berrett, MA, MSW (Lissena Wisdomseeker in virtual worlds)

Co-founder Ageless Mind Project (nonprofit 501c3)

“An Ageless Mind is flexible, zestful, curious, always growing….”

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