Helen Keller Day

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Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: Helen Keller Day 2010 in Second Life, June 19, 2010

Contact person: Saxet Uralia

Virtual Helping Hands and a coalition of community volunteers are proud to announce Helen Keller Day in Second Life. Named for a true innovator in accessibility, Helen Keller Day is a community-event that explores how and why to employ, educate, entertain, and engage everyone through virtual worlds.

Helen Keller Day is a day set aside for information acquisition, education, exploration of employment opportunities, social engagement, and enjoyment of arts and entertainment. There will be vendors, employers, presentations, and pure, unbridled fun.

Helen Keller Day is dedicated to raising our level of awareness for our fellow Second Life Residents who cope with disabilities. No one is immune from the feeling that they are excluded or unable to participate fully. Knowing how to include someone with a disability, and make them feel welcome, is an important social skill, and a small but significant kindness that we can all benefit from and feel good about. But Helen Keller Day goes far beyond this. Learning how to accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities avails business owners and managers of the services of a large pool of highly qualified, dedicated, and reliable workers that are an asset in many business settings.

The 13-hour event PDT will be held on Saturday, June 19 at four sims: The Ye, Olde, Supporte, and Faire SLURL. Presentations throught the day include topics such as enabling deaf or blind users in Second life, a style-enabled fashion show, and accessibility issues and solutions in Second Life. The day will conclude with a "dance till we drop wrap-up party" at Club AccessibleSLURL.

You will hear keynote speakers Keller Johnson Thompson of American Foundation for the Blind, the great grandniece of Helen herself and Michael Hingson, survivor of the World Trade Center attacks and National Sales Director for the National Federation of the Blind for the KNFB Reader. You will hear from experts in the fields of virtual education, employment, social engagement and entertainment. You can be immersed into darkness as you and Max, the Virtual Guidedog developed in Second Life for blind or visually impaired Second Life users, explore a virtual goldmine. Also featured will be an exhibition of Max's abilities, a fashion show, a Braille chat display, dancing, singing quests and storytelling and more!

The event includes experiences designed to spark the imagination and participants to "see" and "hear" the world with all the senses in new and thought provoking ways. Join the pioneers in virtual worlds who are inspired by the spirit of Helen Keller to explore ways in which everyone can participate...and create a world that is richer for all.

Please join us in this positive and uplifting experience as we learn, connect, explore, and enjoy all that Helen Keller Day has to offer.

Schedule and Details

All times are SLT/PDT
Time: Presentation: Details:
8:00AM-9:00AM Vision Quest Speaker:The Virtual World Story Project Jena Ball aka Jenaia Morane & Marty Keltz aka Marty Snowpaw

Description: What does it mean to "see?" Anyone who is blind or has limited eyesight will tell you there are many ways to perceive the world.

This Second Life version of a Vision Quest is designed to spark your imagination and encourage you to "see" in new and thought provoking ways.

Participants will have a choice between one of two stories to pursue. The discussion will focus on the power of immersive, interactive stories to create understanding and empathy. The closing session will give participants an opportunity to share their experiences and stories.

9:00AM-9:30AM Enabling Deaf Users in Second Life Speaker: Bill Carter aka Capstan Cliff

Description: A presentation on the IBM AbilityLab Voice Chat Transcriber and how it allows deaf and hard-of-hearing users to participate in Second Life voice chat.

9:30AM-10:00AM Enabling Blind Users in Second Life Speaker: Bill Carter aka Capstan Cliff

Description: A presentation on the IBM AbilityLab Accessible Virtual Worlds Interface and how it allows blind users to participate in Second Life activities.

10:00AM-11:00AM Style-Enabled Fashion Show Speaker: Polgara Paine & SL Fashion Designers

Description: Watch models walk the runway in the latest Style-Enabled SL Fashion

11:00AM-12:00PM Co-Occurring Disorders in Adolescents Speaker: Brenda Bryan aka Brena Benoir with Preferred Family Healthcare

Description: We will be examining the prevalence of substance abuse issues and mental health issues among the adolescent populations. We will look at symptoms of mental health issues among the adolescent population. We will examine the concept of self medication and how this relates directly to substance abuse. We will also be focusing on how to increase long-term stability for both substance abuse and mental health issues.

12:00PM-1:00PM Keynote: Blindness and Technology in the 21st Century Speaker: Michael Hingson with National Federation of the Blind and KNFB Reader

Description: TBA

1:00PM-2:00PM Accessibility Issues and Solutions in Second Life Speaker: Eme Capalini and Ladyslipper Constantine

Description: Ladyslipper Constantine and Eme Capalini, volunteers with Virtual Ability, Inc., will talk about virtual world benefits for people with disabilities. We'll share the SL specific impairments and solutions that are available today.

2:00PM-3:00PM Keynote: The Impact of the Life of Helen Keller Speaker: Keller Johnson-Thompson with The Helen Keller Foundation

Description: TBA

3:00PM-4:00PM Summertime Performer: Cellandra Zon

Description: TBA

4:00PM-5:00PM Let's Talk Accessibility Speakers: Virtual Helping Hands Team

Description: Join the Virtual Helping Hands team for an open forum discussion on accessibility.

5:00PM-6:00PM SL Voice and Impact on Deaf Speaker: Ladyslipper Constantine

Description: Ladyslipper Constantine will talk about reasons why text should be given along with voice during presentations.

6:00PM-7:00PM Virtually Positive Abilities Speaker: Able Landfall

Description: Within Real Life and Second Life holds unique opportunities for exploring ones' abilities.

Second Life allows one to go even further. We'll explore the positive side of interacting and exploring the virtual world and it's positive effects on your Real Life. Come share in the positive experience.

7:00PM-8:00PM Building for Accessibility: Open Discussion for 3D Builders Speaker: Cade Villota, Johnnytreadlightly Nightfire and others

Description: Open discussion for builders to discuss 3D design and accessibility issues.

8:00PM-9:00PM Vision Quest Stories Speaker: The Virtual World Story Project Jena Ball aka Jenaia Morane & Marty Keltz aka Marty Snowpaw

Description: What does it mean to "see?" Anyone who is blind or has limited eyesight will tell you there are many ways to perceive the world.

This Second Life version of a Vision Quest is designed to spark your imagination and encourage you to "see" in new and thought provoking ways.

Participants will have a choice between one of two stories to pursue. The discussion will focus on the power of immersive, interactive stories to create understanding and empathy. The closing session will give participants an opportunity to share their experiences and stories.

9:00PM-10:00PM Lauren Live! Speaker: Lauren Weyland

Description: Comedy - What's So Funny About Second Life?

10:00PM-Until~ I Am One" Party Party down with DJ TributeTim Kwak and the Helen Keller Volunteers at Club Accessible [1]

All times are SLT/PDT
Time: Performer: Host:
4:00PM RoseDrop Rust
6:00PM KelvinBlue Oh
7:00PM Grif Bamaisin
8:00PM Noma Falta
9:00PM Lauren Weyland
10:00PM "I Am One" Party - Party down with DJ TributeTim Kwak (AKA "Despicable Bastard)and the Helen Keller Volunteers Jeanne Jannings

Helen Keller Day Art Installation - Memorial Site

Bryn Oh, a well-known artist in both Real Life and Second Life, created an art installation for Helen Keller Day.

SLURL to the Memorial - http://slurl.com/secondlife/Davenport/62/24/98

Machinima of the Memorial - http://blip.tv/file/2272782

Message from Saxet Uralia

The organizers of Helen Keller Day in Second Life are thankful for the talents of Bryn Oh who created the "Carousel of Dreams and Sorrows" sound sculpture to celebrate Virtual Pioneers. The sights and sounds fill the senses with wonder and encourage you to look deeper - to search the soul of the sculpture.

The sculpture is also a tribute to all of the volunteers who worked so hard to make Helen Keller Day a success. This sculpture is a reminder to look deeper within Second Life and find the lessons that are to be taught and learned here.

Inclusion for Everyone in Virtual Worlds

Message from Bryn Oh

The music loops in my sculpture were given to me by my friend Tama Ahn. I have taken the four music loops and given them a timed script which will play each instrument in a varied manner so the song will always change yet still fit together properly. The build has hidden elements so I would suggest left clicking on things to see what happens.

It was my pleasure to work with the Helen Keller Foundation and I would like to thank Pathfinder Linden for giving me a permanent location to exhibit this work.

Poem by Saxet Uralia about the Memorial

The hilltop is desolate and forbidding -

A worthless rock.

Not even vegetation finds a place.

But, then I hear it and turn to see.

The chimes, they call me.

Do you hear them?

The tunes and the drums?

Music to my soul.

I look up to find the source.

Oh - there and there.

See them?

Music boxes make me smile.

The milkweed seeds drift by

Calling me to let my thoughts wander in the wind.

Wait, what is this?

That was not obvious to me at first.

I am compelled to look beyond

And experience what is not so obvious

To my senses of sight and hearing.

I find the potential in what lies beneath.''

Events (please check back for updates)


Designer: Johnnytreadnightly Nightfire

Power problems in Virtual Helping Hands Gold Mine challenge the explorer who needs to use assistive technology devices (Max / the Marco/Polo scripts or other) to overcome obstacles and accomplish goals. Come explore the Gold Mine to see what it is like to be on your own - with just your wits and your trusted technology to help you accomplish your goals.

Helen Keller Day on Flickr

One of the fun things to do in Second Life is to take snapshots of your journey. Help us photo document Max's travels in Second Life and also the events surrounding Helen Keller Day. Be sure to post all of your great snapshots to Helen Keller Day Flickr


SL Fashion Designers under the direction of Polgara Paine

Having a real-life and/or Second-Life disability does not mean you don't want to be fashionably dressed. The women and men of Style Enabled Modeling Agency will model designs by some of Second Life's leading designers. These models will show you some wonderfully designed outfits that work whether you have a disability or not.

In the graphical environment of Second Life, some people with visual impairments find that clothing of white or very light colors helps them track their avatars on the screen. The avatars' garments also should not interfere with their virtual guidedogs or canes. People who are in Second Life wheelchairs need garments that will drape correctly in the chair and at least two skirts that are attached to different parts of the body or a low skirt that is in two parts and attached to the lower legs.

Before and after the Show be sure to go to the Accessible Fashions Display. See the innovative designs that overcome some "only in SL situations": flexi-skirts that don't drape through chairs, white clothes that are easier for people with low-vision to see, outfits that work with canes, wheelchairs, and guidedogs. These fashions will also be displayed at the Style Enabled Modeling Agency Fashion Show (3-4 pm)

"Virtual Pioneers" Sound Sculpture.

Enjoy the "Virtual Pioneers Include Everyone in Virtual Worlds" Sound Sculpture by Bryn Oh. Pathfinder Linden will "activate" and "unveil" a Sound Sculpture celebrating Virtual Pioneers. The sculpture will be able to be enjoyed by everyone. A specially-created the sculpture is on display permanently in a mainland plot donated by Pathfinder Linden.

Virtual Helping Hands Guidedog Memorial Garden

Sponsor: Virtual Helping Hands SLURL You can learn about great guidedogs who have passed on and how they helped their partners. Each space will have a framed picture the dog by breed (black lab, yellow lab, chocolate lab, golden retriever, German shepherd, "dog water bowl with heart on water for "other type of dog" framed picture) and a notecard telling about the particular dog. Jolie Mason will set up the first space for Yuma as an example. Anyone who knows of guidedog owners who would like to commemorate their dogs should tell the owners that space is available for free.

Braille Translation Project

Designer: Tom32 Anatine

Have you ever wondered how your name would look like in braille font? Have you ever wondered how a specific word would look?

"Braille Tiles" Game

Come play the game simply by typing in SL text chatbox what you would like to see in braille font.

1. Have your avatar stand facing the line of the 10 "tiles." Each tile stands for one letter. (The six dots are called a braille "cell.")

2. Bring up the SL chatbox by typing control H to see the SL chat "History."

3. NOTE: You must start what you type with /111. The "Braille Tiles" game will not convert any message unless the message starts with /111.

4. For example, you could type /111 YOUR NAME HERE. The tiles will change to show what your name would look like in braille, with each black circle standing for a raised dot which would be felt by moving the finger over the font.

5. If you type a longer message, the tiles show the first 10 characters (counting spaces)at a time. The dots on these 10 tiles will fade away to be replaced by the next 10 characters until your message is complete.

"How Well Do YOU Know Braille?" Game

1. The large white "platform" on the ground with the six circles is a giant braille "cell." Each black circle is like a raised braille dot.

2. Have your avatar stand on the braille cell platform.

3. Click a circle on the platform to toggle it either to "black" or "empty."

4. By clicking on the circles, you can try to compose a letter.

5. Once you are done making the right pattern of black dots, just click on the platform on the ground to see in the SL text chatbox which letter you composed.

6. Hint: Play this game along with the "Braille Tiles" game to learn to spell your name character by character.

Maybe this can be your next secret way to communicate with friends? Use various accessible applications to put your name or other text into braille as a signal to others that at your home or business that you provide reasonable accommodations for those who are blind.

Accessible Builds Fun Zone

Teleport to the Club Accessible sim SLURL to enjoy a full range of fun activities from Chess, cards, 4-in-a-Row to fishing for the rare "Guidedog fish."

  • Connect Four - Play the classic game that allows you to place four pieces in a row to beat your opponent.
  • Fishing - Come do some quality fishing with the 7 Seas fishing poles. It's the best fishing you'll do without a real live fishing pole.
  • Slopoly - This is Monopoly, but SL style. bring your friends and play the game everyone loves.
  • Sudoku - Challenge yourself in filling in the entire puzzle board with numbers, but in a specific order. This game will keep your brain going and going.
  • War! - Play against the computer or your best friend. Match wits to gain all 52 cards. The first one to get all the cards wins the War! Contact: IM Able Landfall in SL.

Let's Enjoy the Music!

Follow various teleport links to dancing and other musical entertainment. See the Entertainment Calendar above.

HKD 2009 Panda Bear Search

This is a hunt for clues throughout the four HKD regions, and eventually you get to the prize! The prize this year is a panda bear and will be findable when the event starts! Everyone is welcome to join the hunt! Please do know that everyone has to find it themselves -- no giving out the bear location. Anyone doing so is cheating and griefing. Please keep it fun for everyone!



(Contact Ricken Flow in Second Life if you are interested in Vendor space at Helen Keller Day) List of 2010 Vendors to come

  1. Sky Sculptures Gallery (Ub Yifu)

Press and Blog Coverage

Accessibility Resources

Previous Events

Helen Keller Day 2009