Swan Center Outreach Inc

Rating: 4.86 stars   103 reviews

Issues: Animals, Children & Youth, Education, Human Services

Location: PO Box 25749 Silverthorne CO 80497 USA

Mission: We serve the community by providing educational programs for youth at-risk, individuals, and families from the Denver metropolitan area, including rural and low-income neighborhoods, enabling them to learn vital communication and problem-solving skills. While caring for animals, valuable lessons in life skills are taught, including responsibility, leadership, self-confidence and community service.

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars   Featured Review

1 people found this review helpful

I began volunteering at the Swan Center Outreach because my daughter, who was having extensive emotional issues, has a deep passion for horses. A passion we in no way could afford. I took her to the Swan Center because of her love for horses setting aside my absolute terror of the beautiful creatures. The Swan Center Outreach, John, Rose and Ashley Longhill along with Nancy Turner and countless other wonderful people helped me overcome my fear of these beautiful animals in addition to helping my daughter believe in herself. She's growing into a beautiful, confident young lady in addition to an experienced horse handler because of all the help and love they've given her. The Swan Center is our happy place and when times get tough, and there have been tough times, their love and support has helped us through those situations. They are strong, loving, intelligent and positive people and the Swan Center is heaven on earth!

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Rating: 5 stars  

Operating a non-profit is a really tough job. Coming from a large corporate environment, it has been eye-opening for me to see the directors of this organization doing such a broad range of tasks themselves without big staffs of specialists to delegate to. They work incredibly hard for almost no compensation except their love of helping people and animals.

It amazes me how they can find time to do fundraising, without which the programs and horses would not survive, and still conduct the life-altering classes for children, adults, and people with special needs.

Even though I am no longer physically able to help with the ranch, I have found great satisfaction in helping with some of the many behind-the-scenes tasks that any business - for profit or non-profit - needs to do in order to operate. I believe in the cause and am always impressed with the results.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

It is amazing how many lives are touched -- animals and people -- by the Swan Center Outreach organization. I have been volunteering for 2 years, and I have learned so much, and met wonderful people who are an inspiration to me.

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

Help them recruit more volunteer marketing and fundraising professionals so the principals could focus all their time on the animals and volunteers.

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?

2013

1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

My dream as a child was to own a horse, but in those days it never occurred to me that I might find a place like the Swan Center, where I can help to care for many horses. My first favorite horse book was Black Beauty, which taught me how cruel some people can be, but how love and kindness can win over evil. As an adult I have learned that people--both adults and children--suffer for many reasons, but the inspiration provided by the Swan Center programs can help them overcome their challenges and change their lives for the better. Now that I am retired and discovered the Swan Center, I have gained a new purpose in supporting this organization's mission in many ways. There is joy and a feeling of accomplishment that comes from helping feed and train the rescued horses so they can be used in the life-changing programs offered to people. I have also found ways to support the mission through marketing, fundraising and automating the volunteer tracking to assist in grant applications. I am enjoying a whole new group of friends who are caring and hard working and wonderful to work with. Lastly I have learned so much, and learning keeps you young! It is truly a privilege to spend my time and enery on this cause!

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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

Rating: 5 stars  

Hi, I have been a long time volunteer for Swan Center Outreach. I have seen the transformations in many people through their experiences there. I am always warmed to see the children make such amazing strides with confidence and joy. There was no place I would rather bring my own child than there. Rose and John Longhill have long offered a place of safety, kindness and fun for so many children.

My daughter has been diagnosed ASD (autism spectrum disorder) for those of you familiar with the many challenges our children face, it is often difficult to find somewhere uplifting that we can go as a family for a successful outing that can accommodate her particular needs, not the least of which is an overwhelming fear of new situations. And that's what we all want as parents isn't it? A happy successful outing that offers memorable experiences and growth?

After seeing the thousands of children and animals nurtured and cared for over the years on this particular day it was my kid. My very special, very wonderful kid on horseback who had been "cleared to trot". As she rounded the judges stand with a grin from ear to ear, being sure we were watching, she continued her pass to join the others. Such confidence, such grace, such accomplishment I could not contain my emotion.

School has started again and carries it's own challenges but they don't seem so insurmountable anymore, I mean after all, "If I can ride a horse, I can do that!"

So come out to the Swan Center Outreach ranch, get a little dirty, love a few animals and let them love you back. Bring home your own successful outing and the incredible happiness that goes along with it.

LT-Iowa

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have seen many lives positively changed, and many children transformed, through the programs of Swan Center Outreach. By teaching children and adults how to have a successful relationship with rescued animals and in particular, horses, participants come away with experiences and information that translate into greater success in their every day lives. Confidence, compassion, intuitive decision making, a better awareness of how they are effecting the world around them - these life skills are invaluable at any age, but most vital to nurture in our children.

The training classes offered are a hands on education in horse and animal behavior, leadership skills and animal communication, that prepare one to become a volunteer. The cares and worries of everyday life can easily melt away for volunteers as they gain skill in training, feeding and caring for the animals. Most develop a close bond with one or more of the special animals at Swan Center Outreach.

Kids of all ages can throw their arms around their favorite horse, feed them carrots, lovingly groom them, and get to experience a trail ride or lesson with their four legged best friend in exchange for their hard work. I often hear conversations or see connections between a child or adult and a horse, that are clearly a healing experience for both. The Swan Center Outreach slogan -" Animals as Teachers, Healers and Friends" is demonstrated over and over in this special place where kindness, safety and fun are the focus.


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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

This wonderful and unique non profit focuses on uplifting, healing and educating, with wonderful programs that partner rescued horses and other animals with children and adults. I have had many incredible experiences personally, as well as witnessing many hundreds of people share this opportunity. It is truly a privilege to volunteer at Swan Center Outreach!

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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

1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

I have experienced major life changes through volunteering at Swan Center Outreach, and have witnessed these same changes in many of the thousands of people who have participated in the wonderful programs we offer, over the last 24 years.

Caring for abused and neglected animals, especially horses, and learning how to rehabilitate them and care for their needs, and then teaching this knowledge to others, has provided me with a higher level of awareness, compassion, confidence, resourcefulness, and intuition. I have found this awareness to be something I draw on every day, and in many different situations.

Partnering people with these incredible animals, in programs based on teaching one to serve at the highest level, has been a remarkable thing to witness. The value is easily seen in the excitement of a child in summer horse camp, or in the healing of a troubled teen that volunteers at our Ranch, or in the satisfaction in the eyes of the volunteers that give selflessly of their time and energy at a fundraiser. And the love and gratitude in the eyes of the animals that have been rescued, and given a home where they have a purpose, is a most precious reward.
Dr. Nancy Turner, DC

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

seeing the change in the lives of the rescued animals, and the volunteers who care for them.

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

create a consistent source of funding to enable directors to focus on expanding the programs

Rating: 5 stars  

So happy to have learned about this site to be able give back a little of what was received in abundance. Having volunteered several days in all kinds of weather at the Swan Center's Ranch, the love and care received was wonderful from both the gentle guidance of the staff and in interactions with the lovely creatures who reside there.

We learned that animals communicate with their energy in addition to the more well-known outer methods and that by interacting with them in this safe environment my communications have now become more effective in the world. There are horses, llamas, an alpaca, sheep, goats and a delightful miniature donkey (yup named Eeyore). Each of these creatures has its own unique personality and all are a delight with whom to build a relationship!

As this is a nonprofit here's hoping that anyone reading this will consider making a visit to volunteer and consider donating regularly for its upkeep. All volunteers are gently and thoroughly trained for the safety and optimal benefit of everyone involved. Even now on days when things may seem to be less than cheerful in my little world a visit in my mind to interactions with the staff, animal residents and beautiful experiences there help to gradually calm my thoughts opening my heart once again!

Thank you and best regards to all,
Dervin Gilbert
www.800casting/24593

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Rating: 1 stars  

I was really excited about moving to the area and learning this Outreach existed. I have been a supporter of another outreach in Oregon, except I never get to volunteer in person because I have lived in Colorado for 15+ years.

My childhood was saved by horses, so I greatly support the idea of horses helping kids and adults. I will happily support any organization that actually does this, but after volunteering at Swan Center on numerous occasions, I have grown to learn that this organization is not what it purports to be.

The "programs" they boast of don't exist or rarely occur. They believe their round pen demonstrations are good enough to show they are trying. The horses are rescues from abusive situations where no one, even horse rescues, refuse to take them in. I commend them for this, however, they keep adding horses to their herd and will never rehome them no matter how good the situation would be for the horse.

Some of their beliefs are dangerous, in my opinion, because children are mislead to believe that they are safe horses because they have been "fixed". If the horses were to leave, they might become unfixed. Remember before sending your child here, some of these horses were very dangerous upon arrival. I have seen children do some very dangerous things around the horses under the false comfort that the "knowledgeable" staff will keep them safe with their energy. I have heard a child talk about how when one of the adult staff turned their backs, a horse kicked them, but only because the energy suddenly turned negative and it wasn't anyone's fault. Horse safety should always be number one and they need to do a better job in explaining this to their volunteers, and that horses are flight animals and while shouldn't be blamed for their actions, pretending they won't or couldn't hurt us if we have the right, positive energy is asking for a disaster to happen.

Another issue I have with the horses is the condition in which they live. Many horses are lame (the staff will not admit that means they are in pain) and limp and barely walk noticeably. Some are skinny and desperately need some extra care, many of their hooves are in such rough shape they are grown out long enough to start turning up at the ends. I was given an explanation for this, but am choosing not to post it since I think it will look as though I am biased against their beliefs. I think everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but when it hurts animals, I have to question the logic behind it.

The biggest problem I have with the place isn't the safety, or even the conditions of some of the animals, but the false promises offered. It's brilliant, really, to have people volunteer their time and donate money to an organization that is committed to hoarding animals, giving so-so, meaningless demonstrations to prove they are actually doing something as an organization, and they get free labor and free payment to keep their horses. Who wouldn't want someone to pay for their hobby?

There are other rescues in the area who do have programs, rehome horses and make a difference in the horses and humans lives. If your child desires to be around horses and you cannot afford the expense of lessons or everything else that is involved with owning or leasing a horse, please consider volunteering at another rescue. Your child will likely have more opportunities to learn about these amazing creatures and feel like they are making a bigger difference when they see a sad, unwanted or abused horse find a forever home with people that love it and choose to take responsibility for it, not just one couple who saw an opportunity to manipulate children into taking care of their own horses.



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Dear “Happy Horse Girl” I apologize for your unhappy experience at Swan Center Outreach. I would apologize personally if you will be kind enough to identify who you are. With the large number of children and families that participate in our programs it is difficult to meet the needs of everyone. The 98% positive testimonials on this website illustrates how successful we are in helping people and animals a large majority of the time. I do feel it is important to clarify some things you said that are not accurate. You said: “The "programs" they boast of don't exist or rarely occur”. I have to say that this is untrue. Since moving to Summit County in 2008 we have served a total of 2,855 people with our programs. 1711 of these were children and 119 were children with special needs. Many of our volunteers have first hand knowledge of this because they have assisted in these programs. Again, if you will identify yourself, I can send you verification of these classes from registration forms. You said: Children are mislead to believe that they are safe horses because they have been "fixed" I believe horse will always be a horse and can be very dangerous if not treated with proper understanding and respect. This is why we spend so much time training volunteers in the proper handling and care of these animals. Were you thinking that if you do everything we teach you, there is no danger of being hurt? This is certainly a misunderstanding on your part and not what we tell people. We make every effort to give volunteers the education that they need to be as safe as possible, and thankfully in 25 years we have never had a serious injury between animals and people. You said: Horse safety should always be number one and they need to do a better job in explaining this to their volunteers, and that horses are flight animals and while shouldn't be blamed for their actions, pretending they won't or couldn't hurt us if we have the right, positive energy is asking for a disaster to happen. I feel everyone’s safety is number one including horses and people. We make every effort to explain this in detail to our volunteers and provide extensive training with our volunteers to serve this end. We believe the safest way to be around these large animals is to have an awareness of your thoughts because your thoughts affect how and what you communicate to them. If you have any suggestion about how we can do a better job. Please let me know who you are so we can discuss this. You said: Many horses are lame (the staff will not admit that means they are in pain) and limp and barely walk noticeably. Some are skinny and desperately need some extra care, many of their hooves are in such rough shape they are grown out long enough to start turning up at the ends. I must say this is blatantly untrue. None of our horses are lame and in fact are all walking and running very well. They live with group of horses in a large pasture as they are found in nature. I am the farrier for the horses and I make sure that none of the feet ever get overgrown. These horses get their feet trimmed regularly every 6-8 weeks. We have two vets we work with and they are constantly exclaiming how healthy our horses are, even those with advanced ages. You said: an organization that is committed to hoarding animals, giving so-so, meaningless demonstrations to prove they are actually doing something as an organization, and they get free labor and free payment to keep their horses. Who wouldn't want someone to pay for their hobby? I believe hoarding animals or anything else is a psychological illness and people who have this illness should be given the compassion and treatment to help them whenever possible. That is certainly not the case at Swan Center Outreach, which has provided a meaningful life for hundreds of animals by helping previously abused animals become partners in transformative educational programs. The “hobby” description probably does not do justice or show respect to the dedication that people have given to Swan Center Outreach over the last 25 years. The Board members and founders of Swan Center Outreach have given more than their share of labor, money and emotional commitment because they believe in the value of these programs and have tangible evidence of their positive results. You said: There are other rescues in the area who do have programs, rehome horses and make a difference in the horses and humans lives. If your child desires to be around horses and you cannot afford the expense of lessons or everything else that is involved with owning or leasing a horse, please consider volunteering at another rescue. Your child will likely have more opportunities to learn about these amazing creatures and feel like they are making a bigger difference when they see a sad, unwanted or abused horse find a forever home with people that love it and choose to take responsibility for it, not just one couple who saw an opportunity to manipulate children into taking care of their own horses. I whole-heartedly agree that there are other rescues in the area that are making a difference. I recommend checking them out and volunteering your time and money to these worthwhile organizations. If you are saying these negative things about Swan Center Outreach because you are trying to turn our volunteers against us so that they will volunteer to these other organizations, it is unnecessary. Many of our volunteers do help out and support these other organizations. Anyone who honestly wants to help animals and people have happier lives has our 100% support! In conclusion I want to explain that we are not a horse rescue. We are an educational organization who partners with other rescue agencies to provide us with unadoptable horses. We do not adopt out horses once they have been rehabilitated because they become an integral part of our educational programs and we do not want to take the chance that they will be abused or neglected again. Our focus is education, education about leadership, self-awareness and animal communication. We further this commitment to our volunteers (adults and children) by allowing them to earn points for volunteering that they can then use in trade for horseback riding lessons and trail rides. I assure you that we do have records of all the participants of our programs over the last 25 years and we have served over 9000 children with our programs during this tenure. Again, if you will be brave enough to identify yourself, I will be happy to supply you with this documentation. Kindest Regards John Longhill Executive Director

Dear Happy Horse Girl I apologize for your unhappy experience at Swan Center Outreach. I would apologize personally if you will be kind enough to identify who you are. With the large number of children and families that participate in our programs it is difficult to meet the needs of everyone. The 98% positive testimonials on this website illustrates how successful we are in helping people and animals a large majority of the time. I do feel it is important to clarify some things you said that are not accurate. You said: “The "programs" they boast of don't exist or rarely occur”. I have to say that this is untrue. Since moving to Summit County in 2008 we have served a total of 2,855 people with our programs. 1711 of these were children and 119 were children with special needs. Many of our volunteers have first hand knowledge of this because they have assisted in these programs. Again, if you will identify yourself, I can send you verification of these classes from registration forms. You said: Children are mislead to believe that they are safe horses because they have been "fixed" I believe horse will always be a horse and can be very dangerous if not treated with proper understanding and respect. This is why we spend so much time training volunteers in the proper handling and care of these animals. Were you thinking that if you do everything we teach you, there is no danger of being hurt? This is certainly a misunderstanding on your part and not what we tell people. We make every effort to give volunteers the education that they need to be as safe as possible, and thankfully in 25 years we have never had a serious injury between animals and people. You said: Horse safety should always be number one and they need to do a better job in explaining this to their volunteers, and that horses are flight animals and while shouldn't be blamed for their actions, pretending they won't or couldn't hurt us if we have the right, positive energy is asking for a disaster to happen. I feel everyone’s safety is number one including horses and people. We make every effort to explain this in detail to our volunteers and provide extensive training with our volunteers to serve this end. We believe the safest way to be around these large animals is to have an awareness of your thoughts because your thoughts affect how and what you communicate to them. If you have any suggestion about how we can do a better job. Please let me know who you are so we can discuss this. You said: Many horses are lame (the staff will not admit that means they are in pain) and limp and barely walk noticeably. Some are skinny and desperately need some extra care, many of their hooves are in such rough shape they are grown out long enough to start turning up at the ends. I must say this is blatantly untrue. None of our horses are lame and in fact are all walking and running very well. They live with group of horses in a large pasture as they are found in nature. I am the farrier for the horses and I make sure that none of the feet ever get overgrown. These horses get their feet trimmed regularly every 6-8 weeks. We have two vets we work with and they are constantly exclaiming how healthy our horses are, even those with advanced ages. You said: an organization that is committed to hoarding animals, giving so-so, meaningless demonstrations to prove they are actually doing something as an organization, and they get free labor and free payment to keep their horses. Who wouldn't want someone to pay for their hobby? I believe hoarding animals or anything else is a psychological illness and people who have this illness should be given the compassion and treatment to help them whenever possible. That is certainly not the case at Swan Center Outreach, which has provided a meaningful life for hundreds of animals by helping previously abused animals become partners in transformative educational programs. The “hobby” description probably does not do justice or show respect to the dedication that people have given to Swan Center Outreach over the last 25 years. The Board members and founders of Swan Center Outreach have given more than their share of labor, money and emotional commitment because they believe in the value of these programs and have tangible evidence of their positive results. You said: There are other rescues in the area who do have programs, rehome horses and make a difference in the horses and humans lives. If your child desires to be around horses and you cannot afford the expense of lessons or everything else that is involved with owning or leasing a horse, please consider volunteering at another rescue. Your child will likely have more opportunities to learn about these amazing creatures and feel like they are making a bigger difference when they see a sad, unwanted or abused horse find a forever home with people that love it and choose to take responsibility for it, not just one couple who saw an opportunity to manipulate children into taking care of their own horses. I whole-heartedly agree that there are other rescues in the area that are making a difference. I recommend checking them out and volunteering your time and money to these worthwhile organizations. If you are saying these negative things about Swan Center Outreach because you are trying to turn our volunteers against us so that they will volunteer to these other organizations, it is unnecessary. Many of our volunteers do help out and support these other organizations. Anyone who honestly wants to help animals and people have happier lives has our 100% support! In conclusion I want to explain that we are not a horse rescue. We are an educational organization who partners with other rescue agencies to provide us with unadoptable horses. We do not adopt out horses once they have been rehabilitated because they become an integral part of our educational programs and we do not want to take the chance that they will be abused or neglected again. Our focus is education, education about leadership, self-awareness and animal communication. We further this commitment to our volunteers (adults and children) by allowing them to earn points for volunteering that they can then use in trade for horseback riding lessons and trail rides. I assure you that we do have records of all the participants of our programs over the last 25 years and we have served over 9000 children with our programs during this tenure. Again, if you will be brave enough to identify yourself, I will be happy to supply you with this documentation. Kindest Regards John Longhill Executive Director

Rating: 5 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

I started volunteering at the Swan Center in May of this year after attending some of their community fundraising events. The ranch is an amazing place! No cell service or internet service, so is a place for peace and inner reflection. The animals are incredible and the relationships that develop between the people and the animals is a wonderful thing to watch. This non profit is a true family. Everyone that I have met through the Swan Center has been amazing and so patient. I have not been around horses since I was a child and was a bit "scared" to interact with the horses. Over the past few months my confidence level has increased and it is my favorite place to be! I have watched the change in both adults and children in one day at the volunteer training classes and the wonder and confidence level in the kids after one week at a "camp" at the ranch. I love the Swan Center!!

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

I started volunteering with Swan Center Outreach this past summer, both at the animal rescue center and their supporting resale shop, Horse Cents, in nearby Silverthorne. I enjoyed both so much, I went almost daily to help out one or the other. This charity is touching the lives of so many - both human and animals - in so many ways. John and Rose are delightful and the staff and other, more seasoned volunteers could not be more supportive and encouraging to those who are just learning the ropes. Although we do not live permanently in Colorado, I can not wait to return to assist them again. Swan Center Outreach gets five stars from me!

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

Volunteering at the Swan Center Outreach opened up a life perspective that was elusive to me. The amazing connection between the rescued horses and us humans is something I wish I'd been able to experience years ago. I've learned to "think like a horse" and have come to understand what an enormous amount of volunteer time has to be in place to keep up with Swan's commitment to the community. To see firsthand what an impact the horses (and llamas, sheep, goats and Eyore the donkey) have on individuals who benefit from the Center leaves me with the feeling that there is good in this world.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Swan Center Outreach is the most amazing place on the planet! The staff and volunteers are the best I've seen. I have personally witnessed the transformation of many children and adults as well as many of the beautiful animals that come to our facility. I sincerely believe that each person that has served at Swan Center Outreach has been given the greatest gift that is possible to receive. The loving animals and the gentle way that they serve the children and the hurt people is a blessing to behold. Thank you Swan Center Outreach, volunteers, staff, donors and sweet, sweet animals!

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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?

2014

1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with Swan Center Outreach for over 25 years. I can only share that it has truly changed my life. To see the look on the little children's faces when they interact with our precious animals is priceless. Learning about myself through the animals has been an amazing experience. The animals have such a way of reflecting what we have going on and they are an incredible mirror for us to learn about ourselves. I wish everyone could have the gift of coming to Swan Center Outreach!

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

none

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?

2013

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