BENEFITING: MANE IN HEAVEN
Mane in Heaven is a recognized 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides therapeutic benefits to disabled and able-bodied children and adults through animal-assisted activity and therapy visits with miniature horses leading to improved outcomes of physical, mental and emotional well-being.
"Bringing a little heaven to those in need"...we bring our registered miniature therapy horses out on activity and therapy visits. Instead of comfort dogs, we have COMFORT HORSES!
What are we asking of Crowdrise supporters? We would like to raise money for a "MINI"BUS vehicle to transport our registered miniature therapy horses ("minis") to visits with the abled, disabled, military, special schools, victims of domestic violence, and those with special needs, etc. Crowdrise animal lovers who share in the love of horses and understand the unconditional love and emotional support that therapy animals provide, PLEASE DONATE!
What do we need? $10,000 will cover the cost of a used minibus with renovations and amazing outside graphics. We would like to purchase a used 14 passenger minibus (a small shuttle bus) and DesPlaines IL based Best Bus Sales will renovate a used vehicle (pull out seats, put floor mats in the back, a safety panel between the horses and driver so no "flying minis", add outside graphics) and make it a REAL "Minibus" for our minis! This type of vehicle will be easier for parking, temperature control and no worries about who can haul a trailer. Our minis will travel in comfort and style!
Please know that every bit will help towards our goal of having safe transportation as well as making sure that we can attend every visit that we schedule. Plus, the bus is a GREAT marketing opportunity due to the bus graphics showing our horses' heads "peeking" out of the windows as we drive to visits! We are currently borrowing an old horse trailer but will have to give it back soon and we do not want to be left without means of transportation or disappoint those who have scheduled visits. We have visits scheduled every weekend to make sure we serve those in need, whatever that need may be. Those that we visit will be thankful for the opportunity to visit with our horses and receive the benefits of animal-assisted therapy...joy and unconditional love. We don't ever want to be in a situation where we can't visit due to lack of transportation. That would be VERY sad!
We also would appreciate any additional donations or sponsorships beyond the cost of the minibus. The cost of running our organization and the maintenance of our horses is not cheap. Because we are a young nonprofit (official 501c3 IRS approval in Sept 2012) and started visiting with our horses in June 2013, we have been focusing on awareness of who we are but we also need funding to be sustainable. We want to reach as many people as possible! We do not currently charge facilities for visits and we hope that we won't have to; however, this depends on funding since we rely solely on outside funding and sponsorship. We incur monthly maintenance costs such as barn board (shelter, food, shavings, hay) vet/dental/farrier bills, blankets, fly sprays and shampoo, etc, not to mention the cost of monthly vehicle insurance for this bus. We also incur costs to maintain the organization including liability insurance and non-profit business maintenance costs.
Some additional background about Mane In Heaven:
Mane in Heaven was founded and incorporated in February 2012 by Jodie Diegel, a horse-lover and nurse who also volunteers at the community hospital with her 2 therapy dogs. When she found out that miniature horses, also known as "minis," were being used as therapy animals, the foundation for Mane in Heaven was born. Mane in Heaven is comprised of an amazing Board of Directors and committed animal handlers, all of whom volunteer their time, and of course our amazing miniature horses.
The training to become a registered therapy animal is quite lengthy, After extensive training, our miniature horses Lunar, Turnabout and Mystery passed their testing and became registered therapy animals in May 2013 through Pet Partners (formerly Delta Society) which is a national animal-assisted therapy organization. Our fourth mini Jenella is in training and will test soon. Just like dog obedience training, the horses have become obedient to voice commands such as walk, whoa, stay and visit. Training also involves desensitization so they become used to wheelchairs and walkers, loud noises, unsteady gaits, clumsy petting and even a full body hug. These are usually difficult issues w/horses, big and small.
Once the board of directors became registered through Pet Partners in May 2013, activity (fun/promotional) and therapy (goal-directed) visits started with our horses. We currently have over 30 committed volunteer handlers who are training to become registered Pet Partner handler teams with our horses.
Special people helping special horses help special people.
Why miniature horses as therapy animals? Why not!!! The first reaction when people see the horses? "OH MY GOSH!" Our minis are ridiculously cute but also are very loving and they LOVE to be LOVED! They stand patiently in their animal therapy vests, black halters with crystal bling letters spelling their names across the noseband and are VERY adorable in their sneakers. Yes, horses wear sneakers! They wear Build a Bear shoes so that they don't slip on linoleum or tile floors.
Even if you can't contribute, please LIKE us on Facebook at Mane in Heaven and SHARE us to boost our social media so we are more favorable to potential corporate sponsors. There are also MANY more pictures of our visits.
Follow us on Twitter @maneinheaven.
Also, please visit our website at www.maneinheaven.org to see our adorable sneaker-wearing miniature therapy horses, our dedicated volunteers and our calendar of events. The "In the News" page contains links to numerous press releases as well as a short video clip about our horses by the Daily Herald. The "Calendar" page lists all upcoming and past events with thumbnail pictures.
In addition to this fund-raising campaign, we are also hosting a 5K Trot-a-Thon in Lake in the Hills IL to be held on 10/19/13. The link is located on our website page under 5K and also at Active.com. This is an official CARA walk/run. If you can't make it, please still register to receive an awesome performance shirt. See you there!