Founder & Executive Director
Laurie's lifelong love of horses, along with her desire to help those who are struggling, came together for the perfect passion to develop the Mini Joys outreach.
Her 21 years of teaching over 300 elementary students each year in the physical education setting gave her the experience to understand how uniquely each child develops and learns. Laurie's hope is to take her love of bringing animals and people together, along with all that she has learned as a teacher, and provide impactful, life changing experiences for both the program participants and the amazing volunteer crew who give so unselfishly as they share their time, talents, and hearts.
Mini Joys is a charitable organization whose purpose is to promote joy, hope and healing through programs using compassionate miniature horses for those facing physical, mental or emotional challenges. These programs may include animal assisted activities (AAA) where the purpose may be to simply warm a heart, decrease stress, provide hope, and help form connections and create smiles.
Other programs may include a specific goal oriented approach using the miniature horses to assist a counselor or psychologist, teacher, physician, physical, occupational or speech therapist. These appointments involve animal assisted therapy (AAT) as the horse serves an intricate role to help the individual meet specific outcomes set by the professional.
The financial goal of this organization is to be supported by individual, corporate, and foundation contributions in order to keep these services available
to all, regardless of their economic status.
Mini Joys uses gentle, miniature horses and
big hearted volunteers to bring joy and hope
to those facing very tough challenges.
If you've ever experienced that special connection with a beloved pet, you have a glimpse of the role of these tiny miniature horses in helping to touch hearts and provide hope.
From the teen living in an area shelter home, to the young sweet child battling cancer, to the senior in memory care, and to the family walking through the challenges of raising a non-verbal autistic child, the Mini Joys gentle, loving, horses and caring volunteers work their magic.
Using these sweet, intuitive miniature horses to help promote joy, hope, and healing is the mission of the Mini Joys outreach. It was established as a 501c-3 nonprofit in 2009 in Boise. A broad range of ages are served as the minis travel around the valley and host many groups at the Mini Ranch in the NW Boise foothills. Though the participant's daily lives vary greatly, each and every one we serve is facing a difficult challenge either physically, cognitively, or emotionally.
While working in special needs classrooms, or with the at-risk youth, important life lessons are taught while students are enjoying hands-on interaction with the horses. The horses are used as integral tools in the learning and retention process. Mini Joys teaching topics include Trust, Quality Character Traits, Being Wonderfully Made (learning to be all that YOU were meant to be), Caring for Animals, and the newest anti-bullying curriculum and book, "Big Bully Buddy, Finding Friendship".
Because of the generosity of local business and individual donors in our community, these programs are offered free of charge. Most of those served would not have the opportunity to work with horses otherwise.
A GIANT thank you to our KEY SPONSORS!
The horses travel in comfort and style as they are out in the community spreading joy, hope, and healing.
The Mini Joys trailer proudly displays the logos of our KEY PROGRAM SPONSORS as one way of letting them know how much they are appreciated!
Winter Family Trust
Power Plus, Inc.
Warner Construction, Inc.
(Two more KEY sponsors have chosen to remain anonymous.)