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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Minis and Friends

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal-Related, Animals, Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Health, Human Services, Patient & Family Support, Senior Centers, Seniors

Mission: Our trained and mobile miniature horse ambassadors (aka Little Horse Therapists) mission is to provide the children, youth, and elders in our community faced with special needs and circumstances with a unique equine experience that will lift their spirits and bring hope and healing into their lives.

Results: We've added new facilities to include regular visits to Marbridge, monthly visits to Barton Hills Senior Living, Assisted Living and Memory Disorder residential facilities, Helping Hand Home, Wonders & Worries, Baylor, Scott and White (BSW) Institution of Rehabilitation in Lakeway, National Hotline for Domestic Violence and many other residential facilities. We have increased volunteerism at the University of Texas at Austin Social Work school, St. Edward University and Texas State University and have held yearly Mini Boot Camps (teaching others from other states to learn how to work in their community and to start up 501c3's bringing credibility and capability for grants and donations. Amplify Austin helped us to not only raise funds but to Amplify our presence in the greater Austin Metro area. We have been graced with media interviews and videos to tell our story which is a story of pictures, not words.

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

Community Stories

126 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love this organization! The minis are so well trained and empathetic to people's needs. I will never forget the first time I met them and the hug I was able to give to "my" MasterCard. Don't tell the other minis that he is my favorite.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Minis and friends is an amazing organization to be a part of. Minis and friends allows Us, volunteers, to be a part of an amazing and unique experience. Watching the minis spread joy and love throughout our community, through this unique ability, the mini has, to connect with individuals of all ages and in all circumstances. I've seen miracles and very special moments during our visits. This is Minis and friends 11th year of working in Austin. Although, this year has been unusual with a pandemic, in 2020. The minis and volunteers are staying strong and looking forward to many more wonderful visits in our future.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is wonderful to work with.

Minis and Friends brings joy everywhere we go. It has been an amazing opportunity as a volunteer to see the impact they have on the spirits of people we get to visit with.

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with Minis and Friends has been such a joy. It is hard to express the impact the little therapists have on those they work with without seeing it for yourself.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Being a part of the Minis and Friends family is amazing. These miniature horses brings so much joy to people of all ages. If you ever have the opportunity to meet them, it will be a memory that will last forever. Not only is it volunteer time for myself, but it is also bonding time for me and my family. Our Saturday mornings starts off as the cleaning crew, then off to our wonderful visits throughout the community. Such an amazing opportunity. Deborah (volunteer/board member); Danielle (volunteer) and Zac (cleaning crew member)

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2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Minis and Friends is a wonderful organization to be a part of. The miniature therpy horses are so amazing and brings so many smiles to many faces. We spend our family weekend bonding time volunteering with this special organization and it is well worth it. Deborah Davis (volunteer/Board Member)/Danielle (volunteer) and Zac (cleaning crew member)

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

As one of the original co-founders, I am so very proud of what started out as a dream, sitting around the kitchen table. Minis & Friends has grown to be a vital part of the Austin non-profit community, providing a unique service that touches the hearts of all they visit. Our great volunteers are who really make the magic happen! The minis are ready to get back on the road!

1 Sarah H.5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful opportunity to witness the magical connections the minis make with each individual.

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A great way to bring smiles and a little happiness for people to experience!

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1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Just thinking about the look of astonishment and broad smiles on the faces of anyone visiting with the minis is enough to keep the minis mobile. We will duck our heads into a room in the nursing home and ask if they would like a visit with a HORSE!!!! There is usually a brief hesitation before someone says, ‘YES’ or ‘Did you say ....a HORSE?’’
It is clear that everything is set aside and there is full attention given to greeting the unusual visitor.

When you participate in this activity, the smiles, laughter and joy from each visit sticks with you a long time. We say to the residents that we will stop in next time. The hope Is that the memory of their visitor stays with them and make them smile.

There is a special aura surrounding the minis, a large heart circle. I remember when the staff at a nursing home was aghast because a man was hugging and eagerly talking to a mini horse. They told us that he hates animals, yet there he was. Mini magic in action.

The minis are special and I have always said, they are for sharing. We regret that the circumstances are preventing the minis from visiting at the moment. Hang in there and be safe.

1 Anne K.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am new to Minis and Friends however I am honored to be a recipient of such joy and service as a MIni volunteer. Minis allow people to connect--no matter your age, race, political or religious beliefs. Minis bring joy and unconditional love. The world needs ways for us to relate, de-stress. laugh and bring a bright light to someone's day. I thought I would be the person giving and in my limited experience I received so much from the people we are serving.

1 Gil I.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been with Minis and Friends since 2007. This organization is totally volunteer-based no one gets paid. New volunteers are trained before going out with the miniature horses. This nonprofit takes therapy miniature horses to those with special needs. I have seen miracles at visits that the horses bring out the best in people. Old folks that have not talked started talking to the horses. People that have not used their arms in years reach out to touch the horses. The strongest base this nonprofit has is its dedicated volunteers. They show up every weekend with a smile and a positive attitude. The volunteers and horses are what make this nonprofit succeed. This organization has contributed greatly to the special needs community in central Texas.

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2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

II have volunteered with Minis & Friends since 2007. This organization has guidelines for horse handling and volunteers to follow. Team work is stressed at all times. And safety is always used no matter if it is a visit or event. The joy theses little magical miniature horses bring to those with special needs is unbelievable. Watching old folks and children react to the minis is worth volunteering. And one other observation that I have watched. Is the volunteers give up weekend mornings and holidays to work with Minis and Friends.

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1 Lisa238

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been with Minis and Friends for nearly 8 years now, and it has changed my life! I'm kind of a volunteer junkie, and when I found this group online I KNEW I had to join! I love animals, and I love helping people, so this was the perfect fit. I cannot begin to explain how wonderful it is to see the smiles on people's faces when we bring the tiny horses to nursing homes, Alzheimer's facilities, shelters for abused kids, etc. It really makes a difference in people's lives!

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been with Minis and Friends for nearly 7 years now. I am so proud to be a part of this organization! The minis have such an amazing effect on the people we visit, especially those with Alzheimer's. I look forward to many more years volunteering with the mini horses!

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1 siwanski3minis

Board Member

Rating: 5

Minis and Friends was created to help with the growing need for miniature horse therapy in the greater Austin metro area in late 2006. We received our non-profit status in March 2007. Until COVID-19 hit, we were still visiting at our many facilities - both non-profit (i.e. Helping Hand Home, Marbridge, Wonders and Worries, etc.) and profit (assisted living, memory care, nursing homes, rehab facilities, etc.) on Saturday mornings and in Lakeway one day a month at the Baylor, Scott and White Institute for Rehabilitation. We have 12 miniature horses 28-33" in height who are anxious to return to visiting as soon as our facilities open again for visitors. And fabulous dedicated mini horse owners and our volunteers - ready to go! So come on COVID, go away and let us return to what the little horse therapists do best - bringing smiles, joy and happiness.

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2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Minis and Friends is an amazing non-profit in its' 12th year in Austin, TX. Not only it is it unique with little horses jumping out of minivans when they go to a visit, but unique in the way our team of professional volunteers who work full-time get up and go out with us at 10:30 every Saturday morning we do a visit. We have comfortably settled in with 3 sets of mini-owners and 12 miniature horses to work in the greater Austin metro area. We have 25 or so excellent volunteers who we would trust to work with the minis and keep them safe. A visit could entail 25 residents all reaching out to pet the mini, that's a lot of hands! But the little horse therapists stand quietly and allow those that need the interaction to love on them and empower them to go an additional step - whether it's double lead, single lead, agility or standing patiently as they braid manes or do art therapy with finger paints. Pretty amazing! Standing patiently is a feat of its own! Check us out on Facebook or Twitter or our website: https://www.minisandfriends.org

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1 EllenMae

Board Member

Rating: 5

A group of friends sat around a kitchen table in late summer 2006, dreaming about their ideal mini therapy organization. As a co-founder, I'm so proud of what the volunteers, our Friends, have done to help Minis & Friends achieve that dream to become a unique service organization in the Austin area. We welcome new volunteers to help in our mission to take our mobile minis to visit those who could benefit from their gentle touch.

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1

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a co-founder of Minis & Friends, I am so proud and grateful for what our organization has become. Almost 11 years ago, we couldn't even imagine the impact our minis and the faithful volunteers have on those we serve in the Austin area.
We are all volunteers and we depend upon donations to help us in our mission to visit children & adults who need that special touch our minis provide. A favorite moment for me was when the minis were out in public and met an autistic boy who didn't interact much with the world around him. He was fascinated by the minis and asked if he could touch one. By the end of this encounter, he was standing next to the horses,asking us to take his picture. We all got a bit misty eyed and his father was holding back tears, saying how amazing it was.
Our tagline "Little Horses, Big Hearts" says it perfectly!

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1 Paul M.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been part of Minis and Friends for a long time. They are a great Organization and I love what they bring to the community. A good visit can even lift you up when you are down.

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4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a part of Minis and Friends for a several years and have so many memories to share. We are not a cure for Cancer or any other disease or illness out there. What we do is try to put a smile on a face and help those that are going through a tough time forget their worries if not for just a little while. Some people have no idea how much putting a smile on a face can help. God bless the people we visit and god bless our little horse for their patience and kindness they show while out in the community.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organization is totally volunteer run. The horse owners generously give their time, dollars, energy and love to bring cheer and fun to individuals facing some tough circumstances. These individuals could be patients recovering from illness or injury, children in a shelter or older men and women in a nursing home or memory care. Volunteer handlers help keep everyone safe and the interactions positive. The smiles, laughter and joy these volunteers and horses bring to patients/residents really do make a big difference.

1 Yvonne M F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful organization. Bringing the power of animals to positively affect those in the community. Regular, well-organized outings to public and private places in the community touches the lives of many, all ages, including volunteers and the staff at different places they hold visits at.

2 Julia35

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a mini owner and volunteer. The minis bring a great deal of joy to everyone they surround. I believe, that in the presence of the tiny horses, people open up to their huge heart circle and are then firmly planted in the here and now.....which is joy!!!!

Your smile muscles will hurt for a week when you experience the magic!!!!

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3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been with Minis and Friends about four years. I believe that in the presence of these little therapy minis, one forgets all else for a while and is firmly in the moment. That's when there is joy.

I have five therapy minis and I believe they are for sharing!!! We all get as much out of the visits as those whom we visit. Our 'smile muscles' hurt, there are tears sometimes and it is our mission to show we care. The mini therapy ambassadors are so amazing. They know when they are working and are gentle and patient. They pull you right into their heart circle. There's no escaping it!!!

There are enough stories to fill a book. After a five minute visit with a woman in a wheelchair at a nursing home, I thanked the woman for the visit and said that we needed to move on down the hall. She had been hugging and petting the mini. As we walked away, she turned to the woman beside her and said, "Such a nice dog!!!".

Another time a patient hugged the mini and sobbed for 15 minutes as the mini stood patiently with his head resting on her lap.

All the volunteers have their 'ah-ha' stores. The minis provide a starting point for the interaction. We talk to residents in nursing homes and ask if they ever had horses. We have some really great conversations. Many people have not had the opportunity to be around an animal bigger than a dog since they moved into the nursing home. There are many who rode a horse to school or did ranch work with their horses. Many memories shared with us.

Once, as we walked up to a man in a wheelchair, the staff stood behind him and mouthed the words that this gentleman HATES animals. They were shocked as he hugged the mini and talked to him.

I'll stop now, but I could go on...

It is a very unique experience and one that you won't soon forget! Join us, if you think your smile muscles can take it.

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3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter Danielle and I have been with Minis &Friends for over 2 years now. What started out as a volunteering opportunity search has now become my volunteer passion. It is amazing how little miniature therapy horses can bring such joy to so many people throughout the community including myself. If you are looking for an organization that can help change your life and others in a positive way, then Minis and Friends would be that organization. The love that the mini owners shows their mini horses and their volunteer team is remarkable. Thanks Minis and Friends for all that you do.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The amazing things I have seen working with Minis and Friends in just the short amount of time I have volunteered with this group doesn't even touch the surface of what they can do. I believe one of the greatest gift one can give is the gift of time and this group of amazing people use their time to provide a wonderful services for those in need through equestrian therapy. I am truly blessed to be a part of this group. There are no words to describe the difference these folks and their minis make to the people we visit. My heart has never felt so much joy working with the people and the minis, what I see when the minis interact with the people is truly something special, you feel such kindness, beauty and love we so often miss in this world. The looks on the people and children’s faces, their emotions and their reactions is like nothing else anywhere, it’s truly a special and wonderful feeling for both myself and to see in the folks we help.

5 Dee Dee W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Minis and Friends has been an extraordinary non-profit to volunteer with. These horses bring such joy to children and other special populations through their gentle demeanor and warmth. And, they help the humans who work with them to more directly connect with the people we serve. Minis and Friends allows us to bring a very special kind of love to those in need, physically and emotionally, and everyone gains from the experience. My time with the horses and those who contribute their time, enriches my own life and all those who interact with us. It is something very special.

5 Sherry66

Board Member

Rating: 5

Suffering from my own auto-immune issues, and walking with the assistance of a cane, "My health had me at a crossroads of my identity in life, then I saw them, these incredible little creatures." It was a Minis and friends volunteer training session. In an instant, I had been transformed, forgetting about my pain, tossing the cane aside, and interjected myself , jogging with a mini, into the class. I was hooked and began my incredible journey volunteering with this organization. I, now along beside my husband, own four wonderful therapeutic miniature horses. I've witnessed, first hand, the amazing ability and social impact these horses have in our community and the health and wellness of all they encounter. The vast ability these horses have to diversify and transform their therapeutic interventions to specifically target exactly what one needs from them is remarkable and uncanning. This volunteer endeavor, has allowed my husband and I, to share our love of horses and people, and has extended our understanding of the animal to human connection and helped us develop a deep compassion for loving and serving others.

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6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with this organization since 2009. I have been truly blessed to witness unique and amazing experiences as we visit facilities throughout Austin. These incredible Minis, possess an intuitive therapeutic ability, which our volunteers, who are extensively trained to handle a minature horse, interact with patients and clients, who may be suffering physically, mentally, or emotionally. This magic happens, each and every visit, as the Minis and volunteers bring smiles and lift spirits. The animal to human connection can not be overlooked or underestimated.

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5 kpdub

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter and I have been volunteering with Minis and Friends for about 3 years. I'm so fortunate to have the opportunity to do something so meaningful with my daughter. The minis' owners are so kind and caring. No matter where we take the minis, it's such a delight to see the sparkle in people's eyes when they get to pet and hug the minis. This is a wonderful organization with awesome volunteers. I can't say enough great things about Minis and Friends!

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8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter and I have been volunteering with Minis and Friends since last June. It's a very heart-warming experience to see the smiles on the faces of all the people we have the privilege of visiting with the mini horses. Our visits mean as much to those we visit as they do to me and my daughter.

4 Rachelhoeffner

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Love that this is even an opportunity that i found. The founders are kind hearted and fun to work with and the people who we visit truly appreciate and find joy in the work.

It’s always amusing when you tell one of the kids at Dell’s children’s hospital that the minis are full grown.

Thank you for letting me see the sparkling smiles of the young and the young at heart.

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3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is insanely beautiful in terms of how big of a difference their efforts make. Thank you for making it possible for me to be a part of such a lovely thing.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been working with Minis and Friends since I moved to the Austin area last year, and it has been positively wonderful. The people in leadership positions are present, active, and genuinely care about everyone involved (horses included!) Everyone who interacts with these minis gets to feel the benefits of equine therapy, from the youngest child at Dell Children's Hospital to the oldest of our volunteers. When I was looking for an organization that combined my love of animals with my desire to help my community, I couldn't have imagined that I would find such a perfect fit.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What a great nonprofit! We love all the volunteers and mini horses. Sally and friends have been coming to our Family Day at the Center for Child Protection for many years bringing their mini horses and it's what everyone is always waiting for... so grateful for their kindness and generosity - the work they do is remarkable. Thank you so much to Sally, all the volunteers and Minis and Friends for everything! -Anne West, Volunteer Services Manager at CCP

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our organization has worked with Minis & Friends for several years and each experience we have is beyond delightful.

I think everyone can agree that interacting with the Minis is good for the soul. We always enjoy having the Minis out; the interaction with the Minis and the rest of the team is always exceptional.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The work Sally, Sherry and their team do is unbelievable! It's amazing the care they have for their mini horses, and the way they deliver the mini horse experience to children and adults.

They have the best attitude, and they have created an amazingly effective system. Hard to believe!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Minis and friends for about 6 months now! I can not say enough great things about all those who are involved with this group! The volunteer training was well thought out and I felt very prepared to go out with the mini's to the community! The events that I helped with are the highlight of my weeks! To see the pure JOY on the children's and the parents faces is something I will never forget! There is AWE in the kids faces when they see and interact with the mini's! They get to "decorate" the mini's with flowers, hats, beads ,etc! They sometimes even get to take selfies with them! My only regret is that I don't have more time in my schedule to attend every event!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We recently volunteered to serve with this amazing group. We have seen the joy and smiles of the elderly and the children brought by these little horses and the loving volunteers that share their love and time. This is an incredible organization that can reach out to those that are hurting and just need a little nuzzle or to softly touch a cute mini that can unconditionally give love in the most gentle way. To see the eyes light up and hear the excitement in their voices are the most rewarding blessings a volunteer can experience. LOVE THOSE MINIS AND THIS INCREDIBLE TEAM.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is amazing to get to see the smiles and happiness that these little horses bring to people. Minis and Friends has been great to volunteer with because there are clear expectations of what is required of me and everyone involved is always so welcoming.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Minis and Friends provides that ray of sunshine to people in need. They group is full of warm-hearted people.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Minis and Friends is celebrating its' 10th Year Anniversary! It continues to provide an excellent and well-respected reputation in the greater Austin metro area (Texas). We have added a set of new mini owners that will help us to reach back into North Austin and Williamson County soon. We have added new facilities and have had wonderful success recently with ATX Television Festival invitation, Austin Woman's magazine (online mid-July), Texas Reporter, KXAN, KVUE, Spectrum News and other businesses who recognize the importance of the work of the little horse therapists and our amazing volunteers. Minis and Friends is an ALL volunteer organization and 100% donation based.

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Minis and Friends is in its 9th year and it only gets better and better! Recently we visited at a local Children Shelter for Abused and Neglected Children and had a break though with a little boy who was even afraid of the dogs that visited, he was just afraid of everything they said. With the gentle connection by our volunteers and Remington, he not only walked him but gave him a hug at the end of his time with him. This month (we go bi-monthly), he asked specifically for Remington and his volunteer Hilary and we were so very proud of him wanting to work again with Remington and going the extra mile to ask for him specifically. One step at a time, to open doors and bring hope and healing, and breakthroughs!

6 Cassandra15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Love the minis. I see the smiles on the kids faces and the joy they exude during our visits. The minis attract attention wherever we go. They brought out a lot of on-lookers at the Child Abuse Awareness March. Who wanted to chat with us about what the minis were doing.

6 RecognizeGood

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I run an organization that seeks out volunteers making big impacts on lives in Central Texas, and helps tell their stories. Minis and Friends was one of the most delightful encounters I've ever had in 3+ years of doing this - after hearing countless stories from volunteers as well as those they serve I now truly believe that these little minis really are magical!

5 Paul94

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I have been a Mini owner & volunteer for several years now. I do it because I love to, not because I have to. Over the years I have witnessed so much gratitude from the people we visit. You will never know unless you witness it for yourself. Having someone or a relative of someone thank you so much for what we do will put a tear in your eye at times. We are not a cure for anything. All we ask for and hope that people can give us is a smile. That's reward enough. God bless the people we visit because they are the one's that put smiles on our faces too.

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5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been with Minis and Friends for over a year now and it's been a wonderful experience. Everyone is on a volunteer basis and you can just feel the passion for the minis and for each volunteer opportunity we get to go on. It's always great to see the smiling faces of children and the elderly a like when they get to pet the minis. Equine therapy really does help and I love being a part of this organization!

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6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

Minis and Friends was an absolute joy to work with! We have an annual Easter Egg Hunt for our friends, families and clients and their families, and we thought Minis and Friends would be a great addition and a wonderful way to promote the great work they do. And they were such a hit at the party! Sally, Julia and her team were so wonderful to work with, and of course the minis were so sweet and gentle. Minis and Friends do GREAT work and truly added a special memory to everyone they encountered. We look forward to working with them again and seeing all the greatness they contribute to the community!

6 Jen K

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a master volunteer with Minis and Friends for over two years. I can't explain enough what these little horses do for the people that we visit, you just have to experience it yourself. The joy that we see in peoples eyes. Just for a few minutes, these minis bring whomever we are visiting back to the now. Some are reminiscing about when they had horses, others are forgetting about what they are going through. But they all are laughing, smiling, hugging and loving a mini. Not only do these minis do so much for the people we visit, but they do so much for me! They are also my therapy horses. I get so much out of them. That and so much more is what Minis and Friends is all about.

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6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being a volunteer with Minis and Friends has shown me how these extraordinary mini therapy horses impact the lives of so many people each visit we make. The physical, emotional and mental status of the people who come into contact with the minis always seem to get more positive the minute they see and touch these little ones. Not only do I get enormous satisfaction and enjoyment out of seeing these reactions, but I, myself get the same therapeutic benefits every time I'm around the horses. The people that are associated with Minis and Friends are just as important as the horses but most importantly, the mini owners!! Without the mini owners and their dedication, hard work, long hours and numerous other things they do with and for their minis, obviously this organization would not exist. I, for one am glad and blessed it does...

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have recently moved to Austin and was fortunate to find Minis and Friends on the Web. They have welcomed me into their families and allowed me time to play with the mini horses. I tell them every time, this is cheaper than therapy!! I really am proud to be a part of this organization that brings smiles, love and mini horses to hospitals, rehab facilities, nursing homes and many more places.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Settlement Home for Children would like to thank Minis and Friends for continuing to come to our campus and sure the joy of their Minis with our children. Minis and Friends visits are always a wonderful and educational experience. Our girls love seeing them all dressed up, taking pictures with them, and brushing their hair. The Minis are truly magical, even if the child comes in with a frown on their face they can't help but leave with the biggest smile. The happiness the Minis and the volunteers share with our children helps them heal with joy!!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

We are an assisted living senior home. There is no more excitement i can think of than the announcement that the mini horses are coming! ...to the point we almost have to stop announcing they are coming because it is overwhelming. Most of the time the horses dress up in costume/holiday attire for us too! Therapy dogs are great but a therapy horse you can get up close and face to face personal and have some big hugs and loving! We love and cherish every visit!!! We are thankful for EVERY visit we get from Minis and Friends. They are loving professionals!

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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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3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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. !!

3 Christina103

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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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3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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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3 Cathy Xi K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

3 MiniHoovesAustin

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Minis and Friends has been great training others to deliver pet therapy service

6 Emily Z.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been involved with Minis and Friends for almost two years and have found it to be an amazingly rewarding experience. There is nothing quite like seeing someone's face light up (whether child or adult) when they realize that the minis are coming to visit them. I'm very grateful I have the opportunity to work with these amazing animals and such an awesome group of people.

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5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered with Minis and Friends for a little over a year and have found it a wonderfully fulfilling experience. All people involved with the group are very dedicated to helping others and sharing the experience of being able to work with horses. I would strongly recommend this group for anyone looking for a fun way to give back to the community :)

4 Shanthi N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am only 3 weeks old in the system and I am absolutely in love with both the "Minis" and the "Friends" (read volunteers). I moved to Austin from New York and I was looking for some opportunities to volunteer when this one came around with a flag and a poster! I find the experience soul satisfying especially when spending time with the children and elderly. Loving on the minis is what I'm totally crazy about.. hey they're such angels! When I say the non-profit's heart is where their mouth is I mean it.. because these folks really care about what they do and that's what matters to me most. Look forward to years of serving the community heartfully through Minis and Friends. I love you guys!

3 OneRedHorse

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

For 12 years I have worked with full size horses and children with physical and mental handicaps. I loved my job and felt a special connection with the animals who helped not just children but persons of all ages who traveled to our facility. In December 2010 I moved my herd of horses to a beautiful facility in south east Austin where I had the most fortunate of luck in meeting founder and director Sally. I immediately fell in love with the minis, as does every one who meets them! My first exposure to the minis and the public came in the form of the United Way day of caring. The response to the minis by the 45 plus corporate employees brought tears to my eyes, you could feel these participants stress and anxiety lift! I was hooked!

I have now have worked with the group closely for a few years and its always just fantastic to be involved! The visits are handled with such care and professionalism, you can see that there is love and only love that goes into this fantastic opportunity in our local community. The most powerful and profound moments I've had include memories and tears shared by our Alzheimer's patients to having non verbal cases where families have never heard the voice of their child or grandparent. To make such powerful impact with persons and families is a blessing. I'm so blessed to be a witness to truly the most heartwarming and unique therapy available.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is wonderful. Everyone in the organization helps because they truly just want to spread joy and make people happy. The miniature horses are the most adorable animals and the smiles they put on people's faces are unbelievable. I would recommend this organization to anyone who is looking for a good cause to donate to (ALL of the money goes towards taking care of the horses and allowing the organization to go out to local Austin places almost every weekend to spread some love) or to volunteer at. They have not only made a difference in some many Austinite's lives but also in mine.

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2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This has been my first year working with Minis and Friends. The people involved with this organization are amazing. They are extremely dedicated to helping others and will do anything to make others happy. If you are passionate about animals and helping others this is the best organization to work with. The horses may be mini but they have huge hearts!

2 Carmen R

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!!

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

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4

Board Member

Rating: 5

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!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!!

3 Patricia H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

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5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Minis and Friends is a truly wonderful organization that brings joy to the community. Seeing the impact that the mini horses have on people is very heartwarming. I've been able to see first-hand the interaction between these sweet animals and the people who truly need some extra love (the elderly, foster children, etc.) - Every time I volunteer, it brings happy tears to my eyes! Also, it's a lot of fun! Keep it up, Minis and Friends.

3 Cathy50

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with my minis for 2 years. The work that Minis and Friends does is awesome.
My family and I love what we get to do with our little guys! Thank you Minis and Friends!

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My name is Diane McBee and I attended the miniature horse equine assisted interaction training offered by Mini and Friends. As the director of a miniature horse therapy program, Knee High Mini Tours, I was impressed with the knowledge of the volunteers and the compassion displayed toward the clients. I was able to participate in many different types of training activities and gained first hand experience working with the miniature horses and clients. Safety was paramount, as was providing meaningful experiences. My experiences have shown Minis and Friends to be a caring organization committed to sharing the love of their miniature horses by reaching out to others and bringing joy into their lives.

3 Donna M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Minis and Friends serves a wide variety of people in need. Their work with special needs children, ill children, senior citizens and child protective service is unsurpassed in the rewards that it makes you feel to be a part of. This non-profit is truly a heart warming experience.

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2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Minis and Friends presents the true meaning of bringing joy to all. As a volunteer and a mini owner of this non-profit organization I have seen and experienced remarkable things happen to children and adults. These little horses and donkeys can make a sad child smile, a lonely weak senior adult come back to life and has personlly filled my heart with joy that is hard to describe.

2 Athena B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Minis and Friends is a wonderful organization and it has been such a pleasure working with all of the miniature horses, their owners, other volunteers, and of course all of the people that we visit. It is such a joy to see how much happiness these little therapy horses bring to children and adults alike. I am so thankful that I found this organization and am able to be a part of bringing a smile to so many people. Athena Boukantar