There are almost as many charity organizations in Second Life® as there are in what we call the Real World. It is a lovely characteristic of humans that where ever we gather, we tend to want to help others. This month is National Breast Cancer Awareness month and we are focusing on a unique organization that is making a significant contribution to women’s wellness: Models Giving Back.
Models Giving Back was founded in October of 2012 by Jamee Sandalwood after a previous agency dedicated to charity work was forced to close due to the owner leaving Second Life. Sandalwood felt the work that was being done needed to be continued and set out to lead the models that were already a part of the former agency into new and bigger endeavors at the newly created Models Giving Back. Models Giving Back is a team of elite, professional models in Second Life® who have dedicated themselves to supporting the efforts of verified RL charities. Sandalwood is the single point of contact for the whole show and after four years, many of the original members of the team are still actively involved.
The main activity of Models Giving Back is an entire sim devoted to an annual series of events: Rock Your Rack. At the event sim are many activities. There is a large events area, with bandstand, bar, DJ dance pavilion and fashion show runway. There is a silent auction area. There are lots of stores offering exclusive items and discounts with portions or all of the proceeds going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Models Giving Back does partner with other charities but they are very careful. Sandalwood said, “Any charity we partner with has to be a legitimate, documented RL charity. They also need to have a charity rating of at least 90 percent (https://www.charitynavigator.org). We have our main charity that is the same one every year since it is one that I hold near and dear to my heart and that is the National Breast Cancer Foundation and we are endorsed by them in our fundraising efforts.” (See http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org)
Sandalwood is an 8 year survivor of breast cancer. She explained, “I was diagnosed before my first mammogram would even be thought of by insurance companies. So early detection is a huge platform of mine since early detection is the key to survival with breast cancer. So many other charities focus on research, I wanted to focus on something that can help those diagnosed or that would be diagnosed before they find that cure.”
They have also helped raise funds for: Tiny Footprints, sponsored various events with Kultivate Magazine, and in-the-moment needs such as the Canadian Wildfire victims this last spring. She said, “Rock Your Rack is our only annual event at this time, everything else is based on needs.”
They add new members to the team via a “casting” process. Sandalwood explained, “This process looks different each time we do it depending on the needs of the agency and the industry trends at the time. We look for current, up-to-date looks from our models, and top-notch skills. It’s usually a multi-level process, with different rounds and challenges to get through. Our models do their own scripts, styling and all are expected to help in other capacities, so all of those skills are explored through our process.” So, if you are a model and want to be involved with Models Giving Back, check out their website and Facebook page during June 2017 for the casting notice.
Sandalwood’s dedication is very strong, “October of every year will be Rock Your Rack until there is no longer interest from the public in supporting the cause.”
Written by Deepthinker Oh