Gabriel's Angels

Rating: 5 stars   35 reviews

Issues: Animals, Children & Youth, Human Services

Location: 1550 E Maryland Avenue Suite 1 Phoenix AZ 85014 USA

Mission: Gabriel's Angels was formed in 2000 with a mission to end the cycle of violence that is a haunting predator of children who are abused and neglected or are at-risk. Our goal is to improve the emotional health and well-being of these fragile children and provide the tools to help them to develop specific social skills that are precursors to preventing the recurring cycle of domestic violence.
Target demographics: Gabriel’s Angels serves children from infant to 18 years old residing in crisis nurseries, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, group homes for teens and residential treatment centers. We serve all children equally without regard to gender, ethnicity, income level or other factors. Gabriel’s Angels estimates that 35.5% are Hispanic, 31.7% Caucasian, 21.6% African-American, 7.8% Native American, 2.7% mixed ethnicity, and 0.4% Asian or Pacific Islander. Although we are not provided with family economic information from our partnering agencies, we believe that most would be classified as low to extremely low income. Arizona statistics on children residing in foster care indicate the average reimbursement per child per year is $13,334. We also know that nearly one in five (21%) of Arizona’s children live in poverty with 10% of those living in extreme poverty. Sadly, issues of abuse and neglect often accompany this socio-economic factor.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 13,000
Geographic areas served: Arizona - Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, Cochise and Yavapai Counties
Programs: In order for Gabriel’s Angels to provide services, it is vital to have trained therapy teams. Therapy Teams are volunteers consisting of a handler and pet. Therapy Teams must first complete an evaluation, conducted by an independent agency, the Delta Society or Therapy Dogs, Inc. To successfully complete the registration process, the animals must pass a health examination and provide proof that inoculations are current. Finally, the Team must pass two evaluations; one that assesses the handler’s control over their pet and one that assesses the animals’ temperament and obedience skills. Gabriel’s Angels supports our potential volunteer Teams through this process, but is not involved in their training, evaluation, or registration. Once the Team passes the evaluation they are registered with the Delta Society or Therapy Dogs, Inc. All fees are paid by the volunteer. Teams complete this process prior to being accepted as a Gabriel’s Angels’ Pet Therapy Team. Before a team is assigned to a partner facility, the handler must clear an FBI fingerprint/background check, provide verifiable references, and attend Gabriel’s Angels’ Orientation/New Team Training. In this training, volunteers are informed of polices and procedures, plus are coached on the particular behaviors of the age group with which they will be working. Since all of our Teams work with children who are in crisis, it is necessary to prepare them for what they will experience. The Therapy Team is then assigned to a partner agency. This placement is dependent on the request from the facility, availability of the volunteer Team, personality of the owner and the personality of the Therapy Dog. As we strive for a permanent placement every time, this matching process is not taken lightly. The new Team is accompanied by a Gabriel’s Angels’ Volunteer Coordinator for the first one or two visits. Team visitation is typically on a consistent bi-weekly schedule. Bi-weekly visitation seems to match volunteer and pet availability the best. However, Gabriel’s Angels’ goal is to provide weekly Pet Therapy visitation at each facility; therefore a minimum of two Teams are needed at each facility to insure weekly visits. When the Pet Therapy Team visits, dogs are on leash and wear a Gabriel’s Angels purple vest. Handlers tell us consistently that donning the vest creates a change in their dogs’ behavior; they know they are “going to work.” Much like an assistive dog for a person with a disability, these dogs truly work with the children, often spending the rest of the day in well-deserved repose. The therapy visit is relatively unstructured, following a Montessori-based educational belief that children will convey what they need to accomplish during the visit. For example, children might brush the dogs’ teeth, allowing children to draw the parallel between this activity and self-care needed to maintain personal good health. Or, children might observe that the dog is panting, an indicator that a drink of water might be needed. A water bottle and bowl appear and children are encouraged to provide a drink for the dog. The children are learning to recognize a need in another and respond positively in filling that need. Or, as a final example, children are taught how to give a command, such as “sit” and reward the dog for obeying the command. How empowering for an abused child to tell a 100 pound dog to “sit” and be obeyed! An abused child feels they have no control in their life; working with the therapy dog helps children begin to develop a sense of confidence. After the team has some field experience, the handler returns for in-depth training for the ACT (Animals and Children Together) Learning Project. ACT was developed as a result of an independent evaluation of our Pet Therapy visitation effectiveness on impacting the key behaviors needed for abused children to develop socially. The activities that are engendered in this project help our volunteer Pet Therapy Teams reach children on a deeper level. Included in the training, which lasts between three and four hours, are modules that help the volunteer understand the emotional effects of child abuse, the core behaviors being impacted, and the important role volunteer teams play. Volunteer Teams are introduced to and trained on the effective use of over 25 engaging activities they may employ on their visits. The ACT Program is leveled in an age-appropriate manner. Noah’s Tails is geared towards infants to children age 5; Penny’s Pals for 6 to 12 year olds; and Gabe’s Gang for teenagers. Each ACT activity bag contains an instant camera. Handlers are trained to “catch the children doing something good” and snap those photos. For children who have grown to believe that they can do nothing right, these photos are extremely valuable in providing tangible images that they can and are capable of doing right and well. In addition to our ACT training, we work closely Social Work schools to offer training to our volunteers on the CPS system and the circumstances to which many of these children have been exposed. This training helps our volunteers better understand the behaviors and needs of this children as well as the importance of consistent Pet Therapy visits. Gabriel’s Angels provides consistent Pet Therapy visits at 107 partner agencies, 83 in Maricopa County and 24 in Tucson. The average visit lasts anywhere from one to one and one-half hours. Ideally, the Therapy Team works best with groups of 10 to 12 children. There is no cost to the participating agency to receive therapy visits for their children. Partner agencies commit to the visitation schedule and provide assistance in program evaluation. Clearly, it is vital for Gabriel’s Angels to recruit, train, reward and retain volunteer Pet Therapy Teams to maintain our current level of service and work towards meeting the additional demand. To accomplish these goals, maintaining service to existing partner agencies and strategically partnering with new agencies, Gabriel’s Angels has an immediate need for at least 170 additional Pet Therapy Teams statewide. We choose to invest in the development of our volunteer Pet Therapy Teams and are proud that our volunteer to staff ratio is currently 13:1.

2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I've been supporting Gabriel's Angels for over 5 years. Each year I am more impressed by the good that they are doing in my community. I am a donor, I've volunteered and I now sit on the steering committee so I've been able to see how effectively this agency is run at all levels. The energy and professionalism that the CEO and Founder Pam Gaber brings to this agency is second to none. Pam couples her passion for Gabriel's Angels mission with her extremely savvy business sense. As a result Gabriel's Angels is one of THE BEST run organizations I have ever seen. This gives me a great deal of confidence as a donor because I know my funds are being placed at their best highest use for the abused and at risk children they serve. I know without a doubt that because of my involvement with Gabriel's Angels that I am making the state of Arizona a better place for these special needs children. For me that serves both my heart and my economic goals. There isn't a higher gift that a charity can bring to their community than this.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I've worked with many charities over my professional career. However I have never worked with one that is as well run as Gabriel's Angels. This amazing organization combines the professionalism of the best run business with a heart of gold. I have been on visits with the therapy dogs and have witnessed mind blowing miracles as these special dogs reach abused children in a way no human can. I have also sat on committees and watched the effiiciency and joy with with the staff at Gabriel's Angels handles thier work. In my mind there isn't a better investment for my dollar or my heart than Gabriel's Angels.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Love this charity. Worked with them a couple times and they seem very organized.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am proud to have served as the Board President of Gabriel's Angels 2007-2008. I found it to be an exceptionally well-run organization. The CEO and staff were and continued to be focused and disciplined as they pursue the organization's goals. They administer services that meet the organization's mission of delivering healing pet therapy to at-risk children, nurturing their emotional development and enhancing the quality of their lives forever in an exceptional manner, establishing solid relationships with the agencies they serve, the volunteers and business entities that support them and the communities in which they operate.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Likely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Dogs and kids. What could be more appealing. I volunteer with a Golden Retriever (Sophie) and her owner at an after school program at Phoenix Youth At Risk. We arrive at 4 PM just as the kids are finishing their snack. You should see their eyes light up when they see Sophie. The staff can barely contain the kids who want to jump up and immediately hug the dog. They are so excited! Shy kids become boisterous. Boisterous kids learn to share. "When are you coming back?" is the most often asked question. It's so gratifying to know I'm contributing to the the next generation who are learning compassion and caring from their interaction with the lovable Sophie.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Having personally observed the healing pet therapy Gabriel's Angels provides, I can unequivocally states that Gabriel's Angels works. The therapy teams are exceptionally well trained and skilled. The organization is fiscally responsible and organized. Its staff and volunteers are committed to its mission. At risk children in Arizona are learning healthy core behaviors, trust and empathy as the result of Gabriel's Angels. This organization is a blessing to so many.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been fortunate to have seen Gabriel's Angels grow and flourish over past 10 years. Being a dog lover and advocate for children, this non-profit really got my attention. Initially, my involvement was limited as a supporter. In the last year, I was blessed to be asked to join the Board. I am honored to serve an organization that operates with such compassion, integrity and direction.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

As an attorney who periodically has cases involving domestic violence and child abuse/neglect, it is reassuring to know there is hope for Arizona children who have endured or been exposed to violence. Gabriel's Angels provides that hope by furthering its mission within the community by delivering pet therapy to children.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would ensure Gabriel's Angel's had an abundance of resources to enable the organization to continue growing so every child with a need could be helped.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Most of us are incredibly blessed. But, for an alarmingly large portion of children in this world, that is not the case. Abuse and neglect represent the majority of their knowledge of adults and the world. For the loving spirit of a little grey puppy a revolution was born. A movement that many have experienced - the unconditional love of a pet can begin to make things better. The mission of Gabriel's Angels and the team and volunteers of this amazing organization know that to be true, not just in their own lives, but, daily in the lives of thousands of young people that are crying out to connect with another living soul.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

My dog and I visit kids at the Crisis Nursery and see first hand how amazing the interaction and responses are between the dog and the children. Gabriel's Angels makes a difference in children's lives and I see it with my own eyes. The experience reminds us of how important it is to give of ourselves in some meaningful way. Thank you to Gabriel's Angels for giving us a special opportunity.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have done charity work for many years. Gabriel's Angels is be far the most unique and rewarding experience I have ever had. You can feel the dedication from the top. Pam Gaber is an exceptional person. She does not just regard you as a Board Member or volunteer, she embraces you as part of her life. All the volunteers and Board Members are a reflection of Pam and her vison for both the organization and humanity.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

To see firsthand a sulking, argumentative or introverted child wrap their arms around the neck of one of Gabriels Angels therapy dogs and open up and start to become an attentive, more caring child is a blessing to experience. The patience and kindness of GA's therapy teams are opening the potential of these children served.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of advisors?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

In my experience, all children are really at-risk of being exposed to violence, abuse and neglect; regardless of their social or economic situation Gabriel's Angels helps these children know that there is such a thing as unconditional love. We accomplish this through pet therapy, but also through the commitment our volunteers bring to the community. My words can never say as much as a therapy visit can show. Gabriel's Angels four-legged and two legged volunteers care about the future of our children and unconditionally commit to making a difference in these precious young lives. We do so with compassion and empathy, and the knowledge that the love between an animal and a child can change the world.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with Gabriel's Angels for the last 5 years. Over this period of time on the Board of Director's, I have seen our organization grow from humble roots to national recognition. It is an honor to be part of this organization, and to watch it continue to grow. Having just finished the book on our founding dog, I am reminded of our growth and our relentless commitment and our passion for serving abused, at-risk and neglected children in our community. Thank you all involved, past and present, for your support and your desires to continue to see us grow!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

many areas... Having been in executive positions and chaired several committees, I am honored to work closely with the organization to grow our outreach in the community.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Continue our growth by recruiting and maintaining the best board members in our community. By continuing to develop our resource development to try to meet the ever growing need of the children.

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