Scroll down to see a brief description
of the five
types of programs...
1. Special Education: These programs use the horses as teaching tools often in the public school setting, and also for community groups with an emphasis on servicing children on the Autism Spectrum. The teaching topics may be one of the Mini Joys lessons, or the minis can be used to help teach the curriculum being used by the special needs classroom teacher. The minis have been in multiple school classrooms from pre-school thru post high school. Although the lesson contents change, the positive reactions from the students have been universal with all age groups serviced.
2. At-Risk Youth: The horses come alongside the program facilitator, social worker, counselor or foster-care giver and are used to help build healthy trusting relationships, encourage open communication, and promote hope for the future. Teaching topics include Trust, Friendship, Self-Confidence, Positive Character Traits, Celebrating Being You, and the Anti-Bullying lesson, Finding Joy, Learning to Give Back.
The majority of these children are pre-teen and teens. The positive outcomes have been exceptionally evident with these populations, and the programs with area shelter homes and youth advocacy groups are growing steadily each year.
3. Individual Medical and Emotional Challenges: As we all know, when illness strikes, our world can be turned upside down. Mini Joys has worked with several families with children battling cancer or other physical challenges, and with those struggling with depression, anxiety and circumstantial emotional challenges. We look forward to fulfilling many more requests in this area and would like to make the minis available for hospice visits as well. When a horse-lover, whether an ill child or an elderly person, has a bedside visit from one of the horses, it is always a special time for the patient and the entire family.
4. Bringing Joy to Seniors: The minis and volunteers enjoy spreading joy to the elderly and those in memory care facilities. The minis have brought many smiles and warm recollections of horse memories to senior friends in assisted living, memory care, and the Idaho State Veteran’s Home.
5. Supporting other Community Non-Profits: Mini Joys partners with other area organizations to help them accomplish their goals. Many great relationships have formed and Mini Joys has been pleased to assist these wonderful non-profits and the groups they service. Programs and visits are provided at no charge to these organizations, and the goal is to continue this in the coming years.
The miniature horses have been regular special guests at the ‘Buddy Walk’ (support for Treasure Valley Down’s Syndrome), and the Autism Awareness Run, (for the Autism Society Treasure Valley). They have assisted the Easter Bunny at the Ronald McDonald House for several years, making many new friends there. They have also been special guests for the Nami Walk for Mental Illness Awareness, The Boys and Girls Clubs in the Treasure Valley, The Women’s and Children’s Alliance Downtown, the WCA Serena Shelter, Hay's Shelter Home, City Light Shelter, and more.