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
ANNOUNCEMENT: Our next orientation for new volunteers will be Saturday May 3, 2014, tentatively scheduled from 11-2 at RoseGate Equestrian Center in Lake in the Hills IL. If you are interested in becoming a new handler, this orientation and training session is MANDATORY. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 847-477-7825 if interested.
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!
Special people helping special horses help special people.
There is a required minimum volunteer commitment of 2 “sessions” per month. (Of course if you would like to volunteer more that is perfectly fine!). Sessions include working with the minis at the farm doing training sessions (walking, petting, grooming, showering, loving!) as well as attending “official off-site visits” such as schools, outings, libraries, hospitals, nursing homes. 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. Handlers 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 course. Pet Partners’ Therapy Animal Program trains volunteers and screens volunteers and their pets for visiting animal programs in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, schools and other facilities. The program was established in 1990 to ensure that “both ends of the leash,” people as well as animals, were well-prepared to participate in animal-assisted activity and animal-assisted therapy programs. Pet Partners’ Therapy Animal Program is the only national registry that requires volunteer training and screening of animal-handler teams.
The Pet Partners Handler course provides information and training that will prepare the students and their animal to work effectively as a Pet Partners team 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. See www.petpartners.org for more information.
Handling evaluations/testing will be conducted by Pet Partners after the handler has worked with the horses for 6 months. Testing with a mini is required before each handler can attend off-site visits. The testing cost is $30 per horse to be paid by each volunteer. This testing will be required every 2 years with each horse/team to ensure continued Pet Partners registration. Testing is arranged through Mane in Heaven. There is also Pet Partners membership fee for individual handlers, which is good for 2 years. This is paid for by each volunteer.
Each volunteer handler will be required to demonstrate training competence as deemed by Mane in Heaven Directors 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, 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 volunteers will be coordinated through Mane in Heaven. Events will be posted on the website and through email communication and volunteers will sign-up for visits and training as their schedule permits. The number of volunteers that are available for each visit as well as the number of people we will visit will determine the number of horses that may attend. It is required that there is at least one registered Pet Partners handler for each horse. The horses may be transported in a minivan or trailer, depending upon the availability of transportation 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. Mane in Heaven name badges will be provided to wear at each visit. Also, make sure you wear closed toe and comfortable shoes (getting stepped on by a horse is never fun, even if they are minis!).
A signed release of liability will be required of all volunteers. This 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. 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!