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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EIN 86-0991198
602-266-0875
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Community Reviews

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

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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  

My husband and I became a therapy team for Gabriel's Angels a year ago after we went to a breakfast and learned about the remarkable things this organization did to help break the cycle of violence by interacting with children by just visiting them with our dogs and becoming their friends. As soon as we walk in the door everyweek at the Boys & Girls Club he puts a smile on everyone’s face and he’s greeted like a “Rock Star” and they all swarm around him and give him hugs and then he starts putting out his paw for everyone to shake.

We have now truly seen the difference in the way children act and behave when Dakota’s there and we now are a part of those stories that Pam had shared with us the first year we came here. We’ve had kids that were very shy and hiding behind the pillows to now being the first one in the room and helping us bring out the supplies from our bag. When we sit down in a circle we have one girl that loves to lay down by Dakota and he always proceeds to snuggle over by her and lays his head on her chest – I think he knows she needs some extra loving. We know Dakota loves to visit the kids just as much as the kids love to see him because he'll go pull his vest from the bg and lay it on the floor for us to see. He was a rescue dog and I believe he's paying it forward by being a good friend to all our kids we visit.

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  

Overall, such an amazing group of people and charity. To see the type of impact they have on the community, children and just everyone they touch with the pet therapy teams is exactly why I became involved. Pam is also an amazing CEO and person that truly cares about the mission.

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  

While I do not have therapy dogs myself, I volunteer at Gabriel's Angels to help them with administrative tasks. The work they do is extraordinary - touching at-risk children's lives every day. The work they do now has a huge impact on the adults these children will grow to become. By working with therapy animals, kids learn about empathy, love and trust, enabling them to lead caring, loving lives instead of one's that continue the cycle of abuse to which they've been exposed. Gabriel's Angels currently help 13,000 children a year. That's 13,000 hearts and lives every year that have been touched by these angels. I am honored to help them in my small way, knowing I am helping to truly change children's lives for the better.

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  

Once you meet anyone associated with Gabriel's Angels you are hooked! I have the pleasure of working first hand with Pam Gaber, Founder/CEO as she will be the "Celebrate" keynote speaker for the Tempe Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Conference and Trade Show this year. Pam contributes to the community in so many ways and we truly appreciate her sharing her time and talent with us. Her true gift is the wonderful organization that she, along with staff, board of directors and volunteers, has created to change the lives of children and adults.

I proud to be a part of this great organization and look forward to being more involved in the future!

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

Volunteering!!

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

change nothing!

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Rating: 5 stars  

There are many Children and Family non-profit organizations, but the combination of having pets involved with the teaching of children through Gabriel’s Angels is what makes this Non Profit organization so extraordinary.
My wife and I (Pam & Joe) were fortunate in Feb of 2010 to receive our Golden Retriever, Dakota. Dakota is a “rescued dog” from an Arizona based golden rescue organization. We knew right away that he was a very special animal with a very special, loving disposition. We were then invited to attend the breakfast for Gabriel’s Angels in May 2010. We both attended and learned more about the remarkable work and benefits that Gabriel’s Angels provides to children that are at risk from many emotional and behavioral factors. It was from this breakfast meeting that we committed to ourselves and Dakota that we would become part of the Gabriel’s’ Angel’s therapy team. Together the three of us engaged in the training of Dakota, the certification program as a therapy dog, and the necessary approval process within Gabriel’s Angels. Our diligence and commitment has paid off as we are now an official member of this remarkable organization and actively involved in helping young children at a local Boys and Girls club. What a remarkable and satisfying journey this has been and we look forward to a long term commitment in helping young children through the Gabriel’s Angels program and the passion it has for Arizona communities.

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

Therapy Team

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

No changes, Pam Gaber and her staff are remarkable

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Rating: 5 stars  

Started volunteering with Gabriel's Angels as a mother daughter team with National Charity League. Loved it so got a golden retriever puppy to train to be a therapy team. Guinnes turned a year old and we were certified and ready to go helping kids. We have served 3 different places in the last 2 years and ready to start our 4th working with teenage girls.
Guinness loves his work and so do I!

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

Love working with Gabriel's Angels, very fulfilling and lots of blessings making a difference with your own dog!

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

Love this organization, recomend everyone that has a great dog to be a therapy team and if you want to be a helping hand to a team if you don't have a dog that is wonderful too!

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Rating: 5 stars  

Originally, I intended to join Gabriel's Angels as a pet therapy team, but that didn't work out for me and my dog, Emma. Instead I'm a helping hand who joins a pet therapy team. Together the three of us visit a domestic violence shelter every other Saturday morning. We have an hour with the children. Every visit is different as there are usually new families seeking shelter and others who have moved on. What is the same each time is that there is at least one child who has a breakthrough moment in working with us and our therapy dog. It's truly amazing and special each visit.

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

Every visit is different as there are usually new families seeking shelter and others who have moved on. What is the same each time is that there is a least one child who has a breakthrough moment in working with us and our therapy dog. It's truly amazing and special each visit

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

I hope Gabriel's Angels continues to grow, so that more children can benefit from love of therapy teams in hopes of breaking the cycle of violence.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with Gabriel's Angels as a volunteer for over 2.5 years. During this time I have seen for myself the positive impact that the therapy teams have on the children. It is incredible the connection between a child and a dog. My dogs love working with the children and the children are so happy when we come to visit. The more we visit, the more their behavior improves. I have been so impressed with the organization that my husband and I have moved GA to the top of our list for charitable donations.

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

You have no idea how much the attitudes and behaviors of the children improve. To watch a child pet my dog and smile is incredible. They may not talk to me, but they communicate with my dog. Priceless!

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

If I could I would find a way for even more people to get involved.

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