Minis and Friends

Rating: 5 stars   54 reviews

Issues: Animals, Children & Youth, Health, Human Services, Seniors

Location: 4509 Walsall Loop Austin TX 78749 USA

Mission: Our trained and mobile miniature horse/donkey ambassadors visit with people of all ages with special needs or whom life's circumstances have created a special need.
Results: We've added new facilities to include regular visits to Marbridge, monthly visits to Dell's Children Medical Center of Central Texas,several nursing homes, Mary Lee Foundation, increased volunteerism at UT Austin, St. Ed's and Texas State University. Amplify Austin helped us to not only raise funds but to Amplify our presence in the greater Austin Metro area. We will soon have a new website, a documentary done by students at UT Journalism, amazing new volunteers with marketing, media and PR skills, and much, much more is in the works.
Target demographics: Abused and neglected children, At-Risk Youth, Handicapped, Mental Health, Cancer and Childhood diseases - Travis, Hays and Williamson County, TX between 2-20 years old.Seniors with memory disorders and assisted living facilities in Travis, Hays and Williamson County 55+ and up
Direct beneficiaries per year: 2000-5000
Geographic areas served: Hays, Travis and Williamson County, TX
Programs: Minis Out, In the Community; Minis Out, Moving On; Minis Out, Project Blanket; Minis Out; Silver Saints

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I've been involved with Minis and Friends for almost two years and have found it to be an amazingly rewarding experience. There is nothing quite like seeing someone's face light up (whether child or adult) when they realize that the minis are coming to visit them. I'm very grateful I have the opportunity to work with these amazing animals and such an awesome group of people.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I've volunteered with Minis and Friends for a little over a year and have found it a wonderfully fulfilling experience. All people involved with the group are very dedicated to helping others and sharing the experience of being able to work with horses. I would strongly recommend this group for anyone looking for a fun way to give back to the community :)

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?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I am only 3 weeks old in the system and I am absolutely in love with both the "Minis" and the "Friends" (read volunteers). I moved to Austin from New York and I was looking for some opportunities to volunteer when this one came around with a flag and a poster! I find the experience soul satisfying especially when spending time with the children and elderly. Loving on the minis is what I'm totally crazy about.. hey they're such angels! When I say the non-profit's heart is where their mouth is I mean it.. because these folks really care about what they do and that's what matters to me most. Look forward to years of serving the community heartfully through Minis and Friends. I love you guys!

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?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Minis and Friends is the most amazing group ever! I've been with them about a year and a half. I wish I had found them sooner! I attend almost every event they have and I love every minute of it. Not only do you meet wonderful people who are volunteers, the visits themselves are just phenomenal. We go to nursing homes, Alzheimer's facilities, shelters for abused women and children, you name it. Our most recent event was the St. Baldrick's Day fundraiser for children's cancer. It just blew me away. The whole purpose of this group is to bring happiness to people's lives. These tiny horses have an amazing effect on people, and I am honored to be a part of it! I will volunteer with this group for the rest of my life. It's THAT good. :)

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

Get more mini horses and more volunteers! There is so much good to be done.

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?

2014

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

2 people found this review helpful

I joined Minis and Friends last fall and I absolutely LOVE it! The joy these little horses bring to people is just amazing. Young or old, it doesn't matter, everyone responds to the horses. They are so well trained we can walk them right into a nursing home or a shelter, and they are just as comfortable as they would be running in a field. I ADORE the other volunteers and the owners. We always stick around after visits and chat. Volunteering with Minis and Friends has been one of the most satisfying things I have ever done.

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?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have been with Minis and Friends for over a year as a volunteer. It is such a great way to bring joy to the elderly and to young children.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I recently joined Minis and Friends as a volunteer a few short months ago. This is truly a great organization that makes so many people happy. I hope to be a part of the group for many years to come!

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?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

For 12 years I have worked with full size horses and children with physical and mental handicaps. I loved my job and felt a special connection with the animals who helped not just children but persons of all ages who traveled to our facility. In December 2010 I moved my herd of horses to a beautiful facility in south east Austin where I had the most fortunate of luck in meeting founder and director Sally. I immediately fell in love with the minis, as does every one who meets them! My first exposure to the minis and the public came in the form of the United Way day of caring. The response to the minis by the 45 plus corporate employees brought tears to my eyes, you could feel these participants stress and anxiety lift! I was hooked!

I have now have worked with the group closely for a few years and its always just fantastic to be involved! The visits are handled with such care and professionalism, you can see that there is love and only love that goes into this fantastic opportunity in our local community. The most powerful and profound moments I've had include memories and tears shared by our Alzheimer's patients to having non verbal cases where families have never heard the voice of their child or grandparent. To make such powerful impact with persons and families is a blessing. I'm so blessed to be a witness to truly the most heartwarming and unique therapy available.

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

None :)

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

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

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

This organization is wonderful. Everyone in the organization helps because they truly just want to spread joy and make people happy. The miniature horses are the most adorable animals and the smiles they put on people's faces are unbelievable. I would recommend this organization to anyone who is looking for a good cause to donate to (ALL of the money goes towards taking care of the horses and allowing the organization to go out to local Austin places almost every weekend to spread some love) or to volunteer at. They have not only made a difference in some many Austinite's lives but also in mine.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

This has been my first year working with Minis and Friends. The people involved with this organization are amazing. They are extremely dedicated to helping others and will do anything to make others happy. If you are passionate about animals and helping others this is the best organization to work with. The horses may be mini but they have huge hearts!

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?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I met Minis and Friends this past December when they came for a visit to my parents' home, per my request, as a very special Christmas present for my Dad who has Stage III lung cancer with mets to bone and brain. It was the best Christmas present - the joy those lil minis brought to my family, very special memories for all, especially my Dad !! I just fell in love with the minis and immediately wanted to be a part of such a wonderful organization, so I signed up to volunteer and have recently been going on visits with them as a volunteer. It is just wonderful to see the smiles on faces of those who really need it, very special. And the lil minis bring a big smile to my face as well. I am so happy, and proud, to be a part of Minis and Friends. !!

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

I would go on visits every day, sure wish I could do this every day :)

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?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I have been with Minis & Friends since 2007. And it is magical what the little miniature horses do for people with special needs. And the volunteers with this group are dedicated and show a passion for helping others. The team work in this organization is outstanding. The mission is all about what the miniature horses bring to those they visit. This organization is what volunteering is all about. Helping others with the use of Equine interaction with humans.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I have worked with Minis & Friends since 2007. This small non-profit brings a small herd of mini horses to visit. Those in need such as troubled and sick youth. The aging and those with medical problems. I have seen sad faces turn into smiles. Just from a visit from these small but magical little mini horses. The volunteers I have worked with make me proud to be associated with this group.

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?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I am a volunteer and mini owner. I enjoy working with the minis to reach into peoples' lives who are isolated, have special needs or facing stress or change because what the minis do is to put everyone into the present. When you are in the moment, there is joy.

The minis are the means to anchor people in the here and now. They are magical. It is very difficult to ignore their magnetism.

One day in a nursing home, a woman doted on my 150 lb mini for about fifteen minutes. She was very happy to have the visit and as we said goodbye and started to walk away, I overheard her say, "Such a nice dog!!!!!"

Much of the time, the minis are welcomed with opened arms. They evoke memories of peoples' experiences with horses they knew in their youth. They produce smiles where there were frowns.

The minis are the catalysts for connecting with anyone. They become the focal point when you present them to others, they remove barriers, such as shyness or the awkward 1st meeting of total strangers. They are like peace offerings, "Look, I brought you a friend who really wants to say 'Hi' to you". That's all it takes. They are the 'foot in the door'.

What we are saying by sharing the minis is, "We care. We are all here because we want to be here and we brought you a friend"



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?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I went thru training last year and have been able to participate in several events since then. I never considered Equine Therapy as either a volunteer opportunity or therapy. I can tell you from firsthand experience that it's amazing how people respond to the minis. People who normally won't speak or move all of a sudden come alive when they see and can touch the minis. Even folks who may be suffering some type of dementia can tell you about their experiences when they were younger and had horses. This organization has been such a blessing to me, and I'm thrilled to be able to be a part of the way they touch lives. I would highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend this wonderful organization and all of the mini owners (Sally, Gil, Sherry, Paul, Julia, Betty, as well as our Hays County friends). If you want to make a difference in your community, come volunteer with us.

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?

2014

Was this review helpful?