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siwanski3minis

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3 reviews

Review for Minis and Friends, Austin, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

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

Role:  Board Member
 

Review for Minis and Friends, Austin, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Minis and Friends is in its 11th year! We have had so many magical moments with the little horse therapists. This is why we do as we do, almost every Saturday weather permitting. Recently, a mother came to us and shared her testimony and gave us permission to use it on social media. It is just beautiful and sad.
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Hello,
This is Heather Keiler-Green, and I am Phoenix’s mother. I spoke with your team on Saturday at Dell Children’s Hospital at the St. Baldrick’s Fair about the impact that your mini horses had on Phoenix.

Phoenix was diagnosed in January of 2016 at the age of 17 months with Stage 4 High-Risk Neuroblastoma. He spent 19 months in treatment (mostly at Dell Children’s), and fought courageously and joyously before passing away in August of 2017, just 6 days shy of his 3rd birthday. Phoenix was in the hospital at least one week out of every 3 weeks for scheduled treatment (chemotherapy and immunotherapy), and was often hospitalized in between those scheduled times for infections and other emergency treatment. Due to his treatment protocol, he was often too immunocompromised to attend events and have experiences outside of the hospital setting.

Because of this, and because of the fact that the majority of his short childhood was spent in the hospital, we are forever grateful for the special events that occurred at Dell Children’s. Two of those special events included visits from the Minis and Friends teams.
On one occasion, the mini horses came on a Saturday and were set up down in the healing garden. Phoenix’s favorite room was 419 which had a perfect view of the garden. We would spend hours looking out the window and talking about everything happening down below. On this particular day, Phoenix was set to discharge but it was taking a very long time due to a needed blood transfusion, and needing to get his port de-accessed. We waiting and watched the mini horses down in the garden, and Phoenix was so excited to get to go down and visit them. That would be his first time being around horses, and he was so excited. It took so long for his blood transfusion to finish, that we were sadly watching the horses get packed up and it seemed that we would miss the event.

The wonderful nursing staff on 4 North quickly helped Phoenix finish his transfusion and de-accessed his port and ushered us downstairs. You were all ready to leave, but when you saw Phoenix coming- all of the staff and horses stayed and let him pet the horses and enjoy his time with the sweet animals. Phoenix was so happy and talked about this for a long time.

I thank you so much for the wonderful experiences that you gave my sweet boy, and I truly hope that you will be able to continue bringing happiness to other children at Dell Children’s Hospital for years to come.

Thank you again, Heather - (Phoenix’s Mom)

PS- The 3rd photo is of Phoenix and his sister, Shiloh at 2017 St. Baldrick's Day.

Role:  Volunteer
 

Review for Minis and Friends, Austin, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

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!

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

Role:  Board Member