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BriqueTopazFeedASmile_005CROP800An Interview

By Any1 Gynoid

Feed a Smile is a musical charity cause in Second Life that feeds over 400 schoolchildren daily in real life Kenya for just 100 Lindens per meal. This amazing charity has inspired hundreds of SL musicians to donate their time, and numerous SL users to donate from their heart of hearts. Brique Topaz (SL) is the founder and operator of this amazing charity, perhaps the finest example of our virtual lives delivering positive outcomes in real life. Learn the inside story of one of our favorite Enigmatic Minds, Brique Topaz, in this exclusive interview.

Enigmatic Mind: How did you get started connecting your real life charity to Second Life concert events?

Brique Topaz: 5 years ago a British friend of mine who runs a volunteer service for Kenya invited me to her Second Life office at the Non-Profit Commons. I was intrigued with the possibilities open to non-profit organizations. I met people who introduced me to the Second Life music scene. After a few weeks – I’d purchased a huge hacienda for myself and actually didn’t know what to do with it… – I invited a couple of musicians to perform there and when I told them what I do, they said they’d perform for free and donate their tips to Feed a Smile. That’s how it started 🙂

Enigmatic Mind: Why is Second Life an effective way to fund-raise for Feed A Smile?

Brique Topaz: Second Life has international possibilities. Not only is the time zone factor a huge plus for fundraising – the fact that people from all over the world are talking about Feed a Smile and donating towards meals, there are also many people sponsoring children from the Live and Learn in Kenya Int’l project and assisting to raise funds to help build the school at the Live and Learn in Kenya Education Center in Nakuru, Kenya.

Enigmatic Mind: Why should someone give to Feed A Smile in Second Life rather than a major charity in real life? For example, American Cancer Society?

Brique Topaz: I can’t really say that someone should rather donate to one or the other. Feed a Smile is a very successful Second Life project for Live and Learn in Kenya Int’l. People have come to understand that it is a very real and very important charity project and that Second Life is the major single donor to the feeding project at the Live and Learn in Kenya Education Center. I think that as it is a Second Life resident project, many residents feel a closeness – almost a“family feeling“ toward Feed a Smile.

Enigmatic Mind: Tell us about some of Feed A Smile’s real life success stories? What kind of lives have we changed and in what ways have they flourished?

BriqueTopazFeedASmile_010CROP500Brique Topaz: We are able to feed all of the 430 children on the LLK Int’l program a meal 6 days a week. The children who are not attending our own school are receiving their meals at their public schools. It is quite sad to see that nearly all of the children lining up for meals at those school are LLK Int’l kids because the other childrens’ parents can’t afford the meals – but we are helping the children one meal at a time…. The best we can.  The meals that we provide at the LLK Education Center are extremely good and nutritious. With just the sponsorship fees we wouldn’t be able to provide as much milk, vegetables or fruit as we can now – and we also provide meat at least once the week. This has resulted in the children becoming healthier and stronger. Their grades are getting better and better and the doctors and dentists who check them twice a year are amazed at their health, considering their living situations. The children with HIV/AIDS have a much better chance to live a normal life because of the nutritious food.

Enigmatic Mind: If young people in Second Life wanted to follow your example (and start additional world changing Second Life institutions), what advice do have for them?

Brique Topaz: I would advise young people to find what makes their heart fly and let their soul follow it! Whatever can be done to make life worth living for others will make your life even more worth living by helping. By the way, Feed a Smile is always looking for people – young and old – who can help us branch out and raise funds. We will never be a huge, major charity – nor do we want to be – but we are doing huge and major work… and need all of the help we can get!

Visit Brique Topaz and Feed a Smile’s Second Life Music Venue at http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Feed%20A%20Smile/40/128/29

Search SL Events for “feed” for a complete concert listing.

Visit Feed a Smile on the web at: http://feed-a-smile.blogspot.com/