Elder Voices

"The virtual environs offered by TechSoup at the NPC provide the opportunity to explore the important questions that the global community must ask about human rights and to learn ways of discovering guidelines to implement in daily-life situations."

— Kara Bennett, co-founder

Elder Voices Speaks Volumes in Second Life's Nonprofit Commons

Elder Voices has been focusing on human rights in health care in California since 1996. And ironically, the recent illness and passing away of one of its co-founders has been one of the organization's most poignant stories to tell. There aren't a lot of groups who do what they do, but unfortunately there is an endless cycle of people dying because they don't have the money for medical care. 

In addition to its advocacy in the real world, Elder Voices has reached a broader audience because of its Nonprofit Commons (NPC) virtual office in the online community, Second Life. Here the organization can continue to tell the story of its now deceased co-founder, Dr. Susan Patrice, who died of a rare small-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma at the age of 57. 

Being able to have people visit our office at the NPC and begin to learn about this cancer and her struggle to survive was an unexpected and very important use of the office space. It helps cope with the tragedy of her loss to know the work we did together is still there on Second Life. Without the donation of virtual office space from TechSoup, it would not have been possible for this to happen. 

The virtual office also allows Elder Voices to offer classes to a global audience, teaching everything from problem solving strategies to mental health violence prevention and dealing with gang violence. It's similar to a theater environment where they can try out new ideas before taking them into real life. Elder Voices hopes to continue to tell Dr. Patrice's story as it includes human rights issues that happened to her and that are happening to many others.