My Nonprofit Reviews

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Janet34

389 profile views
6 reviews

Review for GuideStar, Williamsburg, VA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

GuideStar has been a great help to us as a small, young nonprofit. Within the first six months of getting our 501(c)3 in 2011 we created our profile and started loading information into it. We refer potential donors and grantors to it frequently. We encourage our clients, volunteers and board members to write reviews of us. Because we load them ourselves, we know our financials are out there for any interested party to see. Other databases of charities require significant assets, so we are not included in them. Our goal is to serve clients, and we spend our donations on their welfare. We feel very strongly that we have a responsibility to our donors to be transparent, and GuideStar helps us do that. We're extremely proud of our Gold Star rating!

We also use GuideStar when we are approached by a foundation or another nonprofit and asked to submit a grant request or collaborate. We are extremely cautious about our associations, and GuideStar gives us a way to find out information about other organizations before we make any commitments.

Role:  Client Served

Review for Operation Freedoms Paws, Gilroy, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been honored to be involved with Operation Freedom Paws since their nonprofit status was granted in 2011. Many lives have been positively impacted in a short time by the vision and dedication of everyone involved with this organization. As a client myself, I have learned to create an extremely strong bond with my service dog, who has been taught to alert me to the presence of peanuts. She makes it easier for me to go to restaurants and not constantly worry about whether I'm going to have an embarrassing and life-threatening allergic reaction in public.

Besides my personal experience, I have been privileged to work alongside veterans who have struggled with isolation, anger, hypervigilance (typical symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress) as well as Traumatic Brain Injuries and mobility issues. Seeing the inprovement in their confidence and relationships with strangers and family members are incredibly gratifying. Working with their dogs gives them a new mission, and a partner who helps them regain their independence.

Other fellow clients are children and adults with medical and psychological issues whose doctors believe can be helped by a service dog. It is particularly rewarding to watch children and young adults begin to comfortably interact with fellow students---these are kids who have been "special" all their lives. Now they feel special in a GOOD way, because they have well-behaved service dogs at their sides that they trained themselves.

The pride we all take in having trained our own service dogs is immense. We recognize that we are public ambassadors for ourselves, disabled people with service dogs, and Operation Freedom Paws.

Role:  Client Served

Review for BAD RAP, San Francisco, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I remain a huge fan of Bad Rap and their two-pronged mission to educate people and restore the American pit bull terrier to its rightful place in our country. They have been a huge help to me with my rescued pit. Their website and Facebook page are an excellent way to learn about the dogs and see the rescues they bring into their fold. All of us who follow them celebrate the placement of each dog. Many go on to have their own blogs so we can even keep up with them in their new homes. No, their miniscule staff doesn't have time to answer every email that comes in, but they are quite transparent about what goes on at the Bad Rap Barn. The dedication of this organization to training people to handle and enjoy these great dogs is amazing, and I will continue to support their efforts.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Role:  Donor

Review for Operation Freedoms Paws, Gilroy, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Last year I reviewed Operation Freedom Paws as a volunteer, and I am still in that role. However, I am now a client as well. Mary Cortani, founder of OFP, is helping me train my rescued pit bull to be a peanut-sniffing medical alert service dog. I have had a lifelong (and life-threatening) allergy to peanuts. Last year I was told by a friend about peanut-alert service dogs that can be purchased from other organizations. After doing some internet research, I asked Mary if, with her background of training Army dogs to sniff out bombs and drugs, she might be able to help my dog learn to alert on peanuts. Mary's training methods vary depending on the client and the dog. She uses different equipment for each dog, depending on the dog and handler's physical attributes and needs. We started with nose work and then began focusing on peanuts....and it's working! A couple of weeks ago she alterted on a donut and a banana that were sprinkled with them.

I still thoroughly enjoy volunteering with the group as well. It's a joy to see veterans and others struggling with PTSD, TBI and/or mobility challenges coming out of their shells and having the confidence to interact with fellow students because they have their dogs beside them. The combination of veterans, civilians, service dog clients, and paying customers training their pets gives everyone an opportunity to form new relationships. Everyone bonds through their dogs, and we celebrate each individual milestone with every member of our "OFP family".

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Role:  Client Served

Review for BAD RAP, San Francisco, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I became a volunteer handler at Berkeley Animal Control Services primarily so I could learn from and help Bad Rap. They have an awesome program that allows trained BACS volunteers to take pit bulls from the shelter to Bad Rap training classes. The idea behind this relationship is that a pit bull who is even slightly trained and somewhat socialized is much more likely to be adopted. Also, anyone who adopts a pit from the BACS shelter gets to attend Bad Rap's classes at no charge! I ended up adopting my "trainee" when no one else was interested. She was a terrible fence-fighter and very dog-reactive, but I saw potential. The Bad Rap trainers got us through the basics, gave me some socialization tips, and generally were just THERE for me when I needed questions answered. My dog passed her Canine Good Citizen test (much to my surprise) within a few months. Now we've moved on, and she's working on being certified as a therapy dog and an allergy-alert service dog. The Bad Rap folks gave both of us the confidence we needed to start out relationship, and I will be forever grateful for their expertise and patience.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Role:  Client Served

Review for Operation Freedoms Paws, Gilroy, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

In 2010 a military veteran contacted dog-trainer Mary Cortani. He had been waiting for a service dog for a long time, and wondered if she could somehow help him. That was the beginning of Operation Freedoms Paws, which teaches individuals the necessary skills to train their own service dogs, then certifies them together as a service dog team. The dogs, usually from rescue organizations or shelters, are evaluated by OFP volunteers and then matched with a specific person to meet his/her physical and psychological needs. I became involved with the group while attending dog-training classes, and I'm incredibly proud to have the opportunity to volunteer with this organization.

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?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

The group is new, and the national publicity they have recently received from a CNN Hero award has been overwhelming. Everyone is scrambling to respond to requests for information and help---the infrastructure to support this explosion of interest isn't there yet, but it will be!

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

Have made lots of new friends, both human and canine. My dog has learned new skills very quickly, and has benefitted from all the socialization, discipline and exposure. I had been considering taking a grant-writing class, and when Mary said this could help her group, I took the plunge. I still have a long way to go, but I'm enjoying what I've experienced of the process so far.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Useful.

Role:  Volunteer & New to the group, I'm helping with social media and assembling information to help with grant-writing.