Who are SecondAbility Mentors (SAM)?
People interested in helping persons with disabilities join the Second Life community.
Mission The mission of the SecondAbility Mentors group (lovingly called SAM by the members) is to provide training for dedicated volunteers on how to appropriately assist real-life disabled individuals as they gain entrance into and explore Second Life.
In addition, trained SecondAbility Mentors provide encouragement and assistance with a wide variety of issues that disabled residents may encounter, including understanding in-world behaviors and overcoming technical issues to the degree possible. SecondAbility Mentors also provide referral services to residents in helping them find the most appropriate on-going groups and services that will, in turn, support them in overcoming or coping with their particular disabilities as they continue with their Second Life experiences.
Serving as a SecondAbility Mentor can require a fair degree of patience. Residents with disabilities will have a wide variety of assistive devices and applications to help them with the use of their computers. Often they will type much slower, so the orientation period, as well as most activities that require in-world response or interaction, can take much longer than for an unchallenged individual.
Why SAM is Special
Apart from its mission to serve the disabled, SAM is unique in Second Life because it has three strong capabilities serving it:
- An enforced policy concerning training. All SecondAbility Mentors must complete the course of training to be given the SAM HUD and title.
- An enforced policy concerning acceptance of a membership agreement, whereby SecondAbility Mentors affirm that they are not professionals and cannot offer professional or medical advice, thereby protecting SAM and other stakeholders from legal actions.
- An automated call system and HUD to assist both residents in need of help and the SecondAbility Mentor with on-demand alerting.
SAM Code of Conduct
As a SecondAbility Mentor you will be representing all of us. With this in mind it is important for all of us to maintain a certain level of professionalism as we go about our duties. This guide does not intend to list every possible situation that you may encounter, but rather it is meant as a general guideline.
1. Be respectful, even when faced with adversity or hostility. Remember you are the Mentor here, and you have to maintain a professional and well-reasoned demeanor. Attempt to defuse tense situations if at all possible.
2. Be accepting of others. In second life people have the ability to be whatever they want to be. Your primary focus should be on the person behind the avatar, regardless of your own personal feelings about their choice of appearance, size, species, or gender.
3. Be honest. Never pretend that you understand something you don't. None of us are professionals here. If you don't understand a disability or know how to help someone, find someone who does or admit that you don't know and be willing to learn.
4. Maintain confidence. As a Mentor we are often entrusted with personal information and may be called upon to help with issues that are private or of a sensitive nature. Always respect the privacy of everyone who comes to you for help. If you think you need to bring someone else into the conversation, ask first. Never share private communications without permission. There are, however, exceptions to this rule: a person's right to privacy does not prevent you from reporting any threats of violence against themselves of another.
5. Be patient. Dealing with some people requires a great deal of patience. There may be reasons why someone is slow to respond or reply.
6. Know your limits. We are not trained professionals, so we do not have the necessary training or education to treat, cure, or diagnose conditions. If you think someone is in need of professional help, either medical or psychological, then refer them to a professional.
7. Avoid judgments. We are not here to judge or find fault with anyone. Keep your advice related to yourself instead of others. Saying things like "You should..." or "You need to..." are judgments. Instead, try to use phrases like, "In that situation, I would..." or "I think the best thing to do is...". These "I" phrases do not judge the person you are speaking to, and they present advice in ways that makes the decision theirs.
8. SecondAbility Mentors is a group providing volunteer services. The group is not to be used for the promotion of any specific service or business.
9. The Second Life Mentors Tao of Volunteers* has the basic principles that all SecondAbility Mentors must abide by. These are important standards and help create a good impression of SecondAbility mentors and Second Life. (All SAM member, regardless of whether they are Second Life Mentors, are expected to abide by the basic principle of the SL Mentor Tao of Volunteers.)
10. Sexual harassment of any sort will not be tolerated. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment. You are encouraged to help residents with sexual and/or sexuality based questions, but only if specifically approached on the subject.
- The Second Life Mentors and Greeters have disbanded, so the Tao of Volunteers is included here as historical reference.
Need more information?
Contact one of the founding officers inworld about joining.
Call Bell Groups and Locations: