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2019 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

115 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My name is Lynann Centers. I attended boot camp in March 2012. I have a nonprofit organization called HeavenSent Half-Pints, which does similar work as Minis and Friends does. Boot camp was very helpful for me.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Minis and Friends is an awesome organization! We have two Type Diabetics and attend the JDRF walk every year! The minis and their handlers bring many smiles and much joy to these children. I love to see them myself! Thank you Sally and Gil for bringing lil mini sunshines into so many peoples lives!!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer for this organization, I found them well-organized and well-trained, with the best intentions and the ability to carry out those intentions. They respect their clients and volunteers. I have been with them, taking the miniature horses to several living facilities for children and adults with special needs. The horses are always a delight to the participants, young and old. I look forward to volunteering with them in the future.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the privledge to train under Minis and Friends and feel truly blessed to have learnt from such skilled horse owners. Minis and Friends is unique in it's ability to offer valuable and meaningful programs for a variety of people in various settings while advocating for the mini horses they work with.
I would highly recommend Minis and Friends as trainers for Equine Guided Activites and Therapy Programs.
We have become nationally recognized group because of them.
THANK YOU to all their volunteers!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am the volunteer and activities coordinator at Helping Hand Home for Children, where we have had the privilege of many visits from Minis and Friends! We are a residential treatment center for children ages 4-13 who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. I plan many activities for the kids here and Minis and Friends is definitely one of the most special for them!

It is a delight to watch the children groom and walk the gentle creatures.. some of our kids have lived on ranches for periods of time, whether with their biological family or with a foster family, so these kids particularly enjoy visits from the minis! You can also see how therapeutic the experience is when some of our most seemingly "fearless" kids are afraid to even go near them... then they will slowly come around, then soon be hugging the horses, not wanting to say goodbye!

Another great factor is that these visits are offered all for free...this is huge for non-profits with a limited budget! And the experiences the kids get in return are priceless!

The volunteers involved with Minis and Friends all interact with our clients (the children) so well and the founder Sally is super committed and passionate about this organization! I highly recommend that any special needs populations get to experience a visit from the miniature horses and their wonderful handlers!

5

Board Member

Rating: 5

Minis and Friends was a dream for a way to give our time and love to people who needed us. The reason that we chose to have miniature horses to help us was because we actually witnessed many who responded to our precious horses in a positive way. Perhaps in a way that nothing else could ever do. As owners of the horses and one of three volunteers, we were blessed watching changes in those very ones that we visited. The horses struted their stuff! I personally saw a lady, in the latter stages of Alzheimer's disease, who opened her eyes and her clinched fists to touch the mane of a horse. I saw a hundred children who were on the brink of making life changing mistakes, respond to my mini by touching, talking to, and of all things, braiding the mane and the tale of a loving animal. We ran out of mane, before everyone got to braid! We saw miracles in the short time that we were with people who needed time with an animal. That is what has kept me loving the work that we have been priviledged to do for others. I am a co-founder. With my heart and soul, I believe that there is no better gift than what Minis and Friends can give to others. And in these times of trying to profit as a person or business, our non-profit organization profits from the smiles and happiness that only our minis can give.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I work at a treatment center for children who have suffered extreme neglect and abuse. The children I work with deal with lots of traumatic memories and struggle to heal and move beyond their histories. Many suffer from depression it means so much to them when the Minis come visit. For the time that the horses are with them, they forget about their problems and are able to laugh and smile. They LOVE petting and walking the horses around. Sally and Gil are generous with their time and resources, even printing photos of the children with the minis on site, during a Christmas holiday visit. They are gentle souls with gentle horses who help our children with their healing process. We appreciate them and look forward to every visit.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son is a cancer survivor and is blind. We've become involved with several organizatons that support families that deal with cancer as well as those that have blind children. Minis and Friends has supported many of the functions that these organizations have participated in. My son has a great time working with the horses and I know the other kids really enjoy them as well. They provide a great service for these kids that have had to deal with so much in their young lives. I'm really happy to have the opportunity to meet Sally and her friends at Minnis and Friends.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Good morning,
I am so happy to write a review for Minis and Friends. My name is Laurie Demitry and my daughter and I have a mini therapy group here in Northern Virginia called NOVA Therapy Minis. Sally and Ellen have been invaluable to us in getting our program off the ground. They have been incredibly generous with information and resources which has saved us much time and extra effort. We have a ways to go before we're reaching and touching as many folks as Minis and Friends does but we are well on our way thanks to Minis and Friends. I can't think of a more deserving group !!!!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We have been associated with the Minis and Friends Group since it's inception. Sally and Gil have put their hearts and souls into this group and the love that they have for the people they help comes through in all that they do.
My son was 15 when we had an opportunity to go on a visit with they group for the first time, on Feb 14, 2009. It was a visit to a place providing "residential care, education, and training for adults with various cognitive challenges". At then end of the 2 hour visit he was getting back in the van when I asked him, "Did you have fun?"
His reply floors me, "Dad, that was life changing".
What more can I say.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization has wonderful volunteers that are always willing to find a way to help other non-profits out. They work very well with children and of course the kids love the minis (so do I). We have used Minis and Friends at many of our activities and they have never disappointed us.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was looking for an organization where I could indulge my love of horses and, at the same time, give back to the community. I met Minis and Friends at a local horse expo and was immediately interested. After talking with Sally and researching the organization, I bought my first miniature horse and became involved in the organization. We have brought smiles, laughter and hugs to disadvantaged children and adults in care facilities and nursing homes. It has been such a joy to share this opportunity with them, and has truly shown me what life is all about.

3 larryncrissey____

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our personal experience with Mini and Friends has been our attendance at their Boot Camp 2 yrs. ago. We were very impressed with Sally and Gil and their Board Members and the beautiful minis as well. We learned so much about the horses, forming a non-stock corporation and the do's and don'ts when visiting a facility. All the information we gathered has helped us trememdously with our programs here in Colorado. Minis and Friends is constantly sharing their experiences and knowledge to help all in this field. I am amazed at all they are doing with the minis to help others. They are a wonderful, caring corporation.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first experience with Minis and Friends was as a volunteer when Minis and Friends joined with the Black Stallion Literacy Foundation to host an interactive field trip with children from Safe Place last July held at the ranch where my horse is stabled. What a delight it was to see the joy, and a bit of trepedation in some, in the faces of the children. I have been a volunteer since then and assit when I'm able.

Each and everyone of the owners that I've meet are most gracious, kind and caring to the children who are over-joyed to touch, brush, and lead the minis around.

All who are involved with Minis and Friends have a great desire to provide joy, delight, and comfort to all recipents of a visit by Minis and Friends; Dell's Children Center, Marbridge, Safe Place, and Settlement Home for Girls to name a few.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A great mother daughter volunteer experience that started off for the purpose of giving back to the community. We fell in love with the miniature horses as they worked their magic with those in need throughout
the community. Giving back became a bigger purpose in finding those who need a little something special in their life. These "therapy" miniatures can put a smile and soothe some of those in need. It has been
pure joy to be associated with Minis and Friends as a volunteer and a team participant. We look forward to each and every opportunity to serve in the community.
We operate with the kindness and generosity of our volunteers and support of the greater Austin area community.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Austin Minis and Friends is constantly bringing smiles to many faces, both small and large. They are a very professional group with the leadership and volunteers needed to be a successful non profit organization. Sally and her trainees have visited our farm on several occasions and we found them to be quite wonderful!

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I can't say enough positive things with this organization. They are constantly on the move with there Minis bringing education, joy, and self esteem to children and adults alike. They are a big supporter of the Brackenridge children's hospital and many other associations. The world needs more non profit organization that bring light with their humongouss changes in people lives. I am a big supporter of Mini & Friends.
Tania
DLS FEED

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Minis and Friends, Austin, TX is a phenomenal organization that is extremely active in the Austin, TX area. In addition to their equine guided interactions and their animal assisted activities, the co-founders and some of the volunteers offer a four day training workshop annually! I have found the volunteer leaders to be very helpful, and all of the miniature horses are clean, well groomed and healthy...and they actually do enjoy interacting with the people that they visit. This organization is extremely aware of safety needs and precautions, and yet are able to focus on the benefits to the individuals with whom they visit. Keep up the great work, Minis and Friends!!