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Monday, September 26, 2016

Interview With Jadyn Firehawk of "Pixel to Pixel"


By Deaflegacy

Jadyn Firehawk discovered Second Life in 2009. She found it because she had a Flickr site for her real-life photography.  Noticing quite a few groups there that had names with Second Life in the name, it made her curious. Jadyn googled about Second Life, and that's how she found it.

Jadyn created an account, and at that time there were "community gateways" for entering Second Life from the main website. She saw Virtual Ability as one of the gateways. At the time, she had been very active in a bipolar disorder support group chatroom online. It interested her that there was a disabilities support group on Second Life.  She Joined the Virtual Ability group, and began exploring Second Life from there.

Jadyn has bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  She has chosen to be open with people about that as a part of her personal activism for mental illness, hoping that it will help it become less stigmatized by society. When asked about some of her accomplishments in Second Life, Jadyn spoke of her background. Jadyn is a former university professor, but had to go on disability due to the bipolar disorder and PTSD beginning in 2001.  It improved a little in 2005 and she was able to go back to work part time.  When Jadyn came into Second Life in 2009, she was still working part time.

 Jadyn had a friend from the bipolar disorder chatroom, who decided to try out Second Life, too. He was young, in his early 20s.  He was in school and on disability, and had very low income as a result.  Her friend didn't have a single dime to spare to spend in Second Life and Jadyn understood exactly what that was like from her own experience having been on disability, so she gave him some Lindens every week so he could have a bit of fun. She enjoyed helping him and it gave Jadyn the idea of starting something up in Second Life where others could maybe do it too.  That's when Jadyn created the Pixel To Pixel Foundation and it's been going in Second Life ever since. 

The P2P Foundation receives donations from very kind and generous people throughout Second Life.  Then it turns around and distributes weekly stipends to people who are on disability so that they can do such things like rent a home, buy some clothes or furniture, upload textures, or get some building supplies.

The P2P Foundation has just celebrated its 7th Year Anniversary in the Summer of 2016. Jadyn said, "The P2P Foundation's Director avatar account, named Pixel Falconer, has a rez date of June 29, 2009. That's what we consider to be the founding date. That avatar is the one that receives the donations, holds the funds, and disburses the stipends."

The P2P Foundation currently supports 22 people who are on disability with weekly stipends of L$500, so the total amount that it fundraises and disburses is L$11,000 a week. "It's a challenge for a small organization to keep up that kind of fundraising!" said Jadyn. "We'd like to help a lot more people, so we're always looking for new donors. There are over 20 people currently on the waiting list."

In order to sign up for P2P Foundation, there are two things - recipients must be "on" disability, and not just "have" a disability and they must be willing to provide a copy a document showing that is the case. "With health-privacy information protected, of course," she added, "This is so that they have been pre-screened already by an agency for having medical proof of disability." said Jadyn.  She went on to explain that some donors express concern about possible abuses of our system.

Jadyn added that although she had to disability-retire from her career in 2010, she has been able to make an income in Second Life from teaching tips at Builders Brewery and from her shop, Maganda Arts, and draws no funds from the foundation. The Building Tricks series that she teaches at Builders Brewery now includes 15 different classes. At Maganda Arts, she sells a wide range of things including historical homes, furniture, kinetic sculpture, and real-life photography.

When asked about other accomplishments besides the P2P Foundation, Jadyn spoke about the Yosemite sim. She explained that the other reason she wanted to tell me about her former career as a university professor is, when she became disabled in 2001, she had been working on a book about Yosemite National Park.  Jadyn's research specialty was national parks and protected areas. When she was unable to work, in a sense, she also "lost Yosemite". "And it was a great loss to me. Yosemite is my favorite place in the whole wide world. I've been there so many times, I've lost count."

She has just recently created a virtual Yosemite National Park in Second Life, and it opened in July 2016.  According to Jadyn, its peak visitation so far, according to Linden Lab's traffic measurements, has been 8434. ("Traffic" is defined by LL as "the cumulative minutes spent on the parcel by all visitors to the parcel within the previous day") For a few weeks, the main park, Yosemite Valley (Forever Wild) was in the Editor's Picks in the Second Life website's Destination Guide. It is now in the Nature & Parks section, along with her Shinzen Japanese Garden, also located at the Yosemite sim.

"I see it as, I lost Yosemite in 2001 when when I became disabled.  But now, 15 years later, I have it back again!" said Jadyn.

Jadyn also mentioned the Ethnographia Project, which expresses her story of experience with disability and Second Life. "It's not quite complete yet though, a work in progress," said Jadyn.  She added that it is open to the public. However, to the writing part, Jadyn is still working on it. 

Jadyn went on to describe Yosemite Valley (Forever Wild). "Yosemite Valley (Forever Wild) is one full sim in size and there's horseback riding available here for free." said Jadyn.  "And it's a nice place to relax and enjoy the scenery, and meditate or visit with friend."

The landmarks are:



For the Yosemite Valley (Forever Wild) : http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Yosemite/192/64/2652



Jadyn also mentioned the Building Tricks class series at Builders Brewery.  I have been to some of these classes and they were fantastic.


Deaflegacy 

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