Minis and Friends

Rating: 5 stars   67 reviews 3,407

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: 3000-5000
Geographic areas served: The greater Austin metro area
Programs: Minis Out, In the Community; Minis Out, Moving On; Minis Out, Project Blanket; Minis Out, Silver Saints; Mighty Mini Reader
2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 84-1722307
512-293-8808
http://www.minisandfriends.org
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

Minis and Friends always goes above and beyond to show our families a good time! Minis and Friends visits us, Wonders & Worries, a non-profit as well that helps children cope when a parent is sick, during our family fun events. Most of our parents are diagnosed with cancer and/or other chronic and life-threatening illnesses. Minis & Friends has become a favorite part of our events. Some families want to know specifically if the Minis will be there! :) The children get to take a little photo memory home, and around Halloween the Minis will even dress up with cute little hats. It's adorable! I really believe the children are always so excited, because they get to walk the Mini and have a little control over them for a little bit (in a world where everything might be out of their control). And they are just soft and fun to pet! Everyone is always so great and friendly and we are really thankful for Minis & Friends!

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Minis and Friends is a 501c3 organization that serves children, youth, adults and seniors in the greater Austin area who have mental, physical and emotional challenges and disabilities. There is a magical connection between people and the tiny horse ambassadors. I feel that they plant you firmly in the 'here and now', a space that leaves no room for anxiety and worry for the past, present and future. Whether you are in a nursing home, a special education class or in your wheelchair in the Healing Garden at the Dell Children's Hospital, when a tiny horse puts their head in your lap, they create a place of total focus on the relationship. It's you and a horse. They nuzzle and get close to you. They'll put their head right on the bed in a nursing home or step right along the side of a wheelchair for hugs. It is virtually impossible not to be drawn into the moment. We hear people say, "Oh, they have made my day", "Could you leave them here with us?", "I used to have a horse", "I could hug them all day!" and "I have never seen a horse indoors". (They wear dog booties to walk on indoor surfaces)

We have witnessed someone talking to a horse having not spoken for over a year. There are Alzheimer patients who remember the horses' names, cerebral palsy patients who move to touch the horses and special needs children so filled with excitement that you can barely stand it. And those are the people we visit. The truth is that the 'trickle down' effect touches not only our target audience, but the nurses, the parents and families, teachers, nursing home staff and, in a huge way, the volunteers.

The volunteers go to visits week after week and they keep coming back for more. The experience of presenting the minis where smiles are needed, provides us with something deeply satisfying. When you visit from room to room you show, for this little visit, I am here, I brought you a four legged friend and we care. And then the mini magic happens!

The minis are tiny and travel in my Volvo station wagon. I am a board member, volunteer and mini owner of Wiggins, Fiona and Jooney Belle. Three little magic makers.

Minis and Friends is a family of volunteers. It is simply, the best!

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1 previous review
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  

1 person found this review helpful

I've joined Minis and Friends back in August and they have been such a great organization to work with. You can just see and feel the passion that all the volunteers and staff have for the people they serve as well as the minis. It's been a true pleasure seeing the minis interact with each child and elderly and you can only beam back. I hope to see this non-profit continues to grow and serve Austin.

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Minis and Friends is an inspirational organization. I have long wanted to share the therapeutic effect of animals with others but needed a starting point. Minis and Friends and their all volunteer staff have provided and continue to provide the education and support to help me do this. They are always willing to share information, provide encouragement, and lend a helping hand.
During "boot camp" training we went to the Alzheimer's unit of an assisted living center. While there I witnessed the transformation of a patient whom we were told had been unresponsive to family, other volunteers and staff. The mini horse, Remington, made it clear to me, his handler, that he wanted to visit this lady. He put his face near her hand. She started petting and whispering to him. Minis and Friends facilitated a small miracle.
In my opinion, Minis and Friends embodies everything an excellent nonprofit should be.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Minis & Friends is a wonderful nonprofit organization with an amazing group of people and, of course, the precious mini horses. It touches many lives and I am extremely happy and proud to be a part of it. I pray God will continue to bless all involved in making this happen, and for all the lives touched by the minis ☺️ !!

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1 previous review
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  

1 person found this review helpful

Love, love, love Minis and Friends! All the volunteers, minis and owners are selfless in their dedication to bringing smiles, happiness and a little bit of wonder to all of the places we visit. It never gets old. No matter how many times we visit. Giving back and making people happy is the greatest gift. Really.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I love this organization and the joy it brings to the lives of others. The mini horses have such an impact on those we visit. I love Minis and Friends!

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people 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  

3 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

Best nonprofit organization ever! I joined the group last year and we really like a big family. I love everyone in the group!

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have been with Minis and Friends for about 2 1/2 years. Joining the group was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I was looking online for more volunteer opportunities when I came across their page. When I saw I could help people AND work with tiny horses, I was ecstatic! I signed up right away, and went through the volunteer orientation. Minis & Friends does amazing work in the community. We visit Dell Children's Medical Center, shelters for abused children, nursing homes, Alzheimer's facilities, and even a women's correctional facility. The effect these little horses have on people is nothing short of amazing! People light up when they see the minis, and are just tickled when they get to pet them, groom them, and walk them. The minis get LOTS of hugs and lots of smiles. We bring happiness to the people who need it most!

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people 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  

3 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

We are all volunteers in Minis and Friends and growing in leaps and bounds! We have added monthly visits to Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas weather permitting and have returned to quarterly visits at the Shelters for Abused and Neglected Children. We aim to add 2 more hospitals in Austin in 2015 and fingers are crossed to partner with the cancer facilities for adults and seniors. It brings joy not only to those we visit on Saturdays with the little horse therapists but also to all of us who attend the visits. Because of Minis and Friends I can honestly say I have met seniors over 102 who remember the minis by name and look forward to their visits, children and youth who need an extra smile and happiness and what is possibly better 'then walking a miniature horse!" .. Love this organization and all that it does for people of all ages with special needs in the greater Austin area - the miniature horses give willingly up themselves - unconditional love.

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