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April 2, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

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1 previous review
April 24, 2013

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 probl... more

April 2, 2014
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.
April 24, 2013
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.

More feedback...

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

March 22, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

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March 22, 2014
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"



More feedback...

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

March 20, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

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March 20, 2014
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.

More feedback...

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

March 20, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

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March 20, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

As a mental health therapist I understand the power of animals in the healing of clients. When I had the opportunity to join Minis and Friends as a volunteer a couple of years ago I could not resist. Being a part of this group is so rewarding--- it truly is filled with a multitude of volunteers who have nothing but kindness and caring in their hearts. It takes very special people to give up each weekend to travel all over the area in order to give to others. And our minis--- who could resist falling in love with them :) Thank you Minis and Friends for spreading so many smiles to so many people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ways to make it better...

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

More minis so we could go more places!

More feedback...

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

March 19, 2014
1 person found this review helpful

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March 19, 2014
1 person found this review helpful

When I began volunteering with Minis and Friends I had no idea of the impact visits from the Minis would have on individuals. Each and everytime we visit a nursing home, hospital, or assisted living facility I see radiant smiles on the faces of all those who get to interact with these little animals. Often people will open up and begin a conversation about pets they've previously owned and you can see a light in their eyes that is so beautiful. I thank all the Mini owners who give so much of themselves to bring joy and happiness to others. It is a privilege to be a Minis and Friends volunteer - join us!!
May 4, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

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1 previous review
April 5, 2012

Minis and Friends offers a wonderful equine experience. We started the group to bring the gentle caring touch of the minis into the lives of those in need. We visit varied groups within the Austin a... more

May 4, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

I continue to enjoy working with Minis & Friends. As a co-founder, I have been with them since that first meeting around the kitchen table where we dreamed of a miniature horse organization just like the one we see now at Minis & Friends. I work mostly as a virtual volunteer from my home 2 hours away but look forward to those special times when I get to be with the minis and the people in person. Favorite times throughout the year include when we expand our extended family by hosting Boot Camps, teaching others from all around the US and Canada how to form their own non profit following our Equine Guided Interaction model. I also enjoy seeing our wonderful volunteers in action as they work with the minis where they can make a big difference in the lives of those they visit. Minis and Friends would not exist without their hard work.

More feedback...

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

April 5, 2012
3 people found this review helpful

Minis and Friends offers a wonderful equine experience. We started the group to bring the gentle caring touch of the minis into the lives of those in need. We visit varied groups within the Austin area, including children in hospitals, chidren's emergency shelters and those in special needs schools. I love watching fearful children with autism open up as the minis stand quietly by and the volunteers gently guide them to interact. Within the span of a few minutes, the fear has often faded and they tranform from leaning back on their teacher in fear, to wandering on their own from mini to mini, gently stroking their manes. A new addition of Mini vests on each mini with the M&F name and the name of the horse has been a great addition as well as a teaching tool for the teachers helping the children interact personally with the horse. By the end of the visit, the kids are calling each mini by name and interacting closely with them, using social skills they are practicing with their new mini equine friends. My personal favorites are visits at Memory Care centers. The minis make break-throughs to reach seniors at whatever level they can comprehend. Often, the senior will start talking about a favorite horse from their childhood as if it was the present day. I love listening to their stories and watching their faces open up as they talk. Minis and Friends is spreading our unique method of Equine Guided Interaction by training others who travel to Austin from as far away as Alaska and Canada to learn our methods and return home to start their own organization. This semi -annual Mini Bootcamp training offers hand-on training and instruction in very small groups to ensure personal attention. I look forward to watching Minis and Friends grow in the future!

More feedback...

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

April 28, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

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April 28, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

As a board member and Co-Founder of Minis and Friends, my passion for the work of the little horses and Lewis (the mini donkey) continues to advance upward. We have 4 main core mini-horse families (Gil & Sally Iwanski; Kim Sullivan; Paul & Sherry Montoya; and Cathy, Cliff & Colton Howard) that have been with us over the years and share the same passion. As a weekend only working non-profit because most of us work full time or attend college/school - we have very dedicated volunteers (about 25 currently) and we usually have volunteer training monthly. We have very blessed this year with social media help from the Texas Tower PR student team, UT Journalism students doing a documentary on us and a new website design coming soon (donated from DazzleMedia).

We also have filled our May Mini Boot Camp (teaching others to go home and open EGI (Equine Guided Interactions) non-profits too) and will have another one in October this year. Since 2007, 9 non-profits and several folks who just take minis out and about, that have attended our Mini Boot Camp are still operating and doing wonderful by bringing these big smiles to people with special needs by the little horses and donkeys. We have sister organizations from Calgary, AB, Canada and 8 states.

We always say "once you have your moment" you are hooked. And I have had many, many moments - that keeps me continually wanting to reach out more to other organizations and facilities to bring to them the magical little horse/donkey therapists that bring unconditional trust, love, hope, healing and BIG SMILES to the many people we meet along the way.

Give Minis and Friends a try or sponsor us - you'll love it! As we do!

More feedback...

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

April 28, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

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April 28, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

I have volunteered with Minis and Friends since January, 2013, and have loved EVERY moment. We have visited some great places and you can see how much everyone enjoys seeing the minis...even the minis love the visits. They all have unique personalities that blend seamlessly with each other and the people, young and old, that they meet.

This non-profit has great leadership, all the volunteers are fun, caring and compassionate and the minis are well taken care of and happy. If you love horses and enjoy bringing joy and happiness to others, check us out and join the fun!!

More feedback...

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

April 25, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

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April 25, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

I have been a volunteer Mini Owner for a few years now and have seem success over & over again with the children & adults that we visit. This is my success story:

I few years ago we were at a Children's Shelter where these children were taken away from their families due to some sort of
abuse. While there I noticed a young little boy with his head down and no expression on his face. He was new to the Shelter and you could tell he was very sad. We asked him if he want to pet the little horses and with his head still down, he just shook his head- NO (We don't force any of our Mini's on anyone). The Councilors told us "Oh that is little ?????, we have tried everything with him. Nothing works.

A few minute later you could see this little boy standing next to one of the MIni's and we was petting him with the back of this hand.

Well a few minutes later again, this same little boy that the Councilors could not get through to, was jogging around the Courtyard with one of the Mini Horse. He was smiling and you could see happiness on his face once again
.

Right before my eyes I saw this little boy that was going through something no child should go through come out of his shell and be a child again. Smiling, laughing and playing.

That is why I do what I do.

More feedback...

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

April 25, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

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1 previous review
June 25, 2011

I am a Minis and Friends Volunteer and Mini Handler. The people and minis that I work with are all amazing. I am glad to be able to work with these little horses and the other handlers. I feel accompl... more

April 25, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

I have volunteered with Minis and Friends for about 5 years now. This organization is by the best one that I have been with. Not only are the other people involved amazing, but the minis are too. Minis and Friends gave me more satisfaction when I first started than any other group did, and it still does to this very day!

More feedback...

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

June 25, 2011
4 people found this review helpful

I am a Minis and Friends Volunteer and Mini Handler. The people and minis that I work with are all amazing. I am glad to be able to work with these little horses and the other handlers. I feel accomplishment every time I finish an event with this wonderful group of people and horses.

The Great!

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

The thanks we get from the people we help.

Ways to make it better...

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

Help the group raise money for the expenses of taking care of minis, etc.

More feedback...

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

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

They taught me how to be a mini handler/volunteer.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Extremely happy.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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3 hours of volunteer time for this nonprofit will...

be a mini-handler working with the little horses and donkey to bring indescribable smiles to those we meet, assist with grant writing, fundraising, and helping to support our booths at various events and festivals Volunteer