Mane in Heaven would like to thank you for your interest in volunteering for our Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) and Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) organization using miniature horses!
Sessions for experienced volunteers: Saturdays or Sundays from 12-2 and Wednesdays 11-1
If you would like to be a Mane in Heaven “Handler” (see volunteer requirements below), please email Jodie at firstname.lastname@example.org. While we are not currently in need of volunteers, we will keep you on a wait list for 2014.
We also are looking for volunteers to chair fund-raising events, to be involved in our grant-writing team and also handymen and handywomen for help at the barn. Call us if interested.
Special people helping special horses help special people.
Volunteers are people who would like to work with the minis at the farm doing training sessions (walking, petting, grooming, showering, loving!) AND also are willing to attend “official on-site and off-site visits” such as schools, outings, libraries, hospitals, nursing homes and at Dynasty Farm. Mane in Heaven will provide the trailer and vehicle for towing the minis for off-site visits, driven by a board member or volunteer as deemed by Mane in Heaven.
Being a volunteer requires a mandatory minimum commitment of 2 “sessions” per month. (Of course if you would like to volunteer more that is perfectly fine!). A “session” will include the above on-site farm training or off-site visits. On-site training sessions would require at least 2 hours of training commitment. Off-site visits will vary for time depending upon the off-site location and type of activity or therapy visit. While not mandatory at every visit, volunteers should be willing to spend time prepping, visiting and returning to the barn after the visits are complete.
All Mane in Heaven volunteer handlers are required to enroll in the Pet Partners Handler program (formerly Delta Society; see www.petpartners.org to enroll). The Pet Partners Handler course provides information and training that will prepare the students and their animal to work effectively as handlers in a variety of environments. There are both in-person or online classes for you to choose from, depending upon what type of class best meets your needs. Handlers officially have one year from the time of enrollment (if an online course) to complete the program through Pet Partners but the course must be completed prior to off-site visits. An in-class hands-on course, for the handler only, is available at periodic times through the year (check Pet Partners for dates and locations). The course cost is $70, to be paid for by each volunteer. After a minimum 6 month training period, handlers will then be required to test with the minis through Pet Partners and after passing they will maintain an annual membership through Pet Partners. The cost of testing and membership is the responsibility of the volunteer.
To summarize, two training sessions are required per month of all handlers. Handlers will complete the Pet Partners Handler course. They must train with the minis for at least 6 months then test through Pet Partners with each mini they would like to handle before they are able to attend on-site and off-site visits. They also must maintain membership through Pet Partners.
Each volunteer handler will be required to demonstrate training competence as deemed by the Mane in Heaven board in a variety of settings for the safety of all involved. Once we feel you and the horses are comfortable with one another, you may work with the horses and train independently (walks, ground behavior, horses feeling comfortable with hugs, lifting feet for the farrier, tying, etc…all FUN training!). Mane in Heaven Directors and those volunteers who have completed this competence evaluation are the only volunteers who may work with the horses with the permission of Mane in Heaven.
Activity and therapy visits for volunteers will be coordinated through Mane in Heaven. A calendar of events will be distributed to all volunteers who may sign-up for these visits. Events will be posted on the website so please watch for events and openings. The number of volunteers that are available for each visit will determine the number of horses that may attend. It is required that there is at least one qualified handler for each horse. The horses will be transported by a trailer, organized through Mane in Heaven. Handlers will be required to bring appropriate barn and sanitary items to each visit to handle horse urine or manure. Please forewarn all of those that are involved that these issues may occur. These will be provided by Mane in Heaven.
Prior to activity and therapy visits the horses must be clean and well-groomed. Volunteers will ensure that all visitors are offered and use a hand sanitizer prior to and after each contact with our horses. This will ensure the safety of both people and horses.
As a handler for AAA and AAT visits, you will be a representative of Mane in Heaven. We expect that you will act in a professional manner and be dressed in attire requested by Mane in Heaven.
A signed release of liability will be required of all volunteers which requires an explicit understanding of the Equine Activity Liability Act. This release of liability discusses the inherent risks associated with equine activities and will release Mane in Heaven of all liability involving training and visits. Volunteers must be a minimum age of 14, no exceptions. If a volunteer is under the age of 18, a parental consent must also be signed. Handlers age 16 and under will require an adult to attend official off-site therapy visits with them. Each volunteer handler will be required to obtain signed release of liability waivers from all participants of the therapy or activity visits.
Finally, we’d like to thank you once again for your interest in Mane in Heaven. We welcome your passion, time and dedication which will make our organization a success. Please watch the Calendar link for upcoming volunteer meetings, visits and events, or feel free to Contact Us!