Blog

What does autism have to do with trauma?

What does autism have to do with trauma?

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch psychologist Dr. Meryl Willert, answers the question, "I keep hearing about autism and the 'spectrum.' What does that really mean and what does autism have to do with trauma?"…

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Hello? Can you hear me?

Hello? Can you hear me?

Thanks to a grant from the Midco Foundation, Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch was able to purchase an audiometer for the Bismarck campus. The new audiometer allows the Bismarck nurses to complete hearing tests at the Ranch, rather than having to take kids out of school to undergo hearing tests off campus.…

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First Aid for the Brain

First Aid for the Brain

First Aid is no longer just for cuts and bruises that can be seen on the outside of the body. Researchers are now recognizing the importance of Mental Health First Aid. Thanks to a grant from the North Dakota Community Foundation, the Ranch can use the Mental Health First Aid curriculum to train all of its employees.…

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Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude

About a year ago, we launched "Operation Gratitude" at the Ranch--which reminds us to thank people for all the things they contribute to our lives, our kids, and our organization. Today, I'd like to talk a little about the things we are grateful for at the Ranch.…

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Looking Forward to Thanksgiving and Advent

Looking Forward to Thanksgiving and Advent

While November brings reminders of cold and snow, I like to see it as an opportunity to look forward to Thanksgiving and Advent. Thanksgiving reminds us to focus our thoughts and lives on gratitude. Advent, and the Advent Wreath which symbolizes eternal life, reminds us we are all a part of the circle of life—a circle of life made possible by God.…

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Living Life in the Spotlight

Living Life in the Spotlight

In 1974, Art and Grace first became acquainted with Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. Their interest in the state, and in children, led to their ongoing support of the Ranch. They made their first cash gift in 1974, and continued their support throughout the rest of Art’s life. Grace continues to support the Ranch today.…

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The Gift of Time

The Gift of Time

“If only there were more hours in the day” is a phrase I have heard and used many times over the years. My mother often said it when I wanted to do just one last thing before bedtime. Now I catch myself saying the same thing to my six-year-old daughter.…

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Responding to Trauma in the Classroom

Responding to Trauma in the Classroom

I’ve always known “Trauma-Sensitive Classroom” was an important concept in education, but I wasn’t exactly sure what it looked like in my lesson plans or day-to-day interactions with students. I’m going into the teaching field, and I consider myself a nice person—that should be enough to indicate that I’m considerate to students and their trauma, right? Wrong. My assumptions of what it means to react to student behaviors in a trauma-sensitive manner were way off base.…

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Not Just a Swing

Not Just a Swing

It looked like just a swing. But for Kassidy* it was an opening. She had sat in many offices with adults who tried to get her to “open up” about her trauma.…

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National Speakers Will Share Messages of Mercy and Hope at October 27 Conference

National Speakers Will Share Messages of Mercy and Hope at October 27 Conference

Don’t miss two AMAZING and INSPIRING speakers at this Saturday’s Faith in Action Mercy Conference.…

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Replacing Stigma with Hope

Replacing Stigma with Hope

Last week was World Mental Health Awareness Week, a time to shine a light on mental illness and replace stigma with hope. At the Ranch, we spent the week sharing messages to fight stigma and to encourage people to get help. The discussion can't stop because Mental Health Awareness Week is over--so here are some things for you to think about.…

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Deaconess Diary: Encouraging One Another in Christ

Deaconess Diary: Encouraging One Another in Christ

As I’ve been settling into my new role as the Deaconess/Spiritual Life Coordinator at the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch in Minot, I’ve had the blessing of coordinating the Hope Notes Pen Pal Program—and I love it! Hope Notes pairs our amazing youth with kind and supportive people from all over the United States. They send cards and letters to their Ranch pen pal once a month.…

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Learning to Give

Learning to Give

Last Sunday, I spoke at a North Dakota church about Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. I was sitting outside the sanctuary with some Ranch brochures before the service and an 8-year-old girl, Mindy,* walked up to me and started asking questions.…

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"The Lord Gave Me Blessings Galore"

"The Lord Gave Me Blessings Galore"

Ed Pohland is a slight man, with an easy smile, hands that belong to an artist, and a deep faith in God.…

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From Hopelessness to HOPE

From Hopelessness to HOPE

Hopelessness, helplessness, loss … I felt each … like a pit in my stomach … as I walked through a state Museum of Mental Health on one of my recent trips. On one wall I saw a picture of a fearful child from years ago, clinging to the leg of an adult. The child was 10 years old. No one had ever stopped to give him a name. He was known only as “boy.” Abandoned and alone, this was called “treatment” in the 1920’s. My heart hurt as I looked at that museum wall. No child should ever have had to endure “care” such as this.…

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Voices of Healing: The English Teacher Diaries

Voices of Healing: The English Teacher Diaries

When I walked into my classroom at Dakota Memorial School before school started, it hit me that this is the beginning of my career. This is where all the conversations start, “Well my first year as a teacher...” I feel a combination of ready to go and ready to run away. I’m both eager and terrified. I feel a huge weight to make an impact and be a superhero for my students. Knowing myself and my flaws, I feel as though I have already let them down.…

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Understanding Our Kids

Understanding Our Kids

Have you ever heard the old saying, “When you look good, you feel good?” In many cases, the inverted version of that sentence is also true, “When you feel good, you look good.” Sometimes, the kids at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch don’t feel good OR look good. The reasons vary by child, but commonly fall into a few different categories.…

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Young Woman Writes Story of Healing and Accomplishment

Young Woman Writes Story of Healing and Accomplishment

Writing can be a powerful tool to help kids heal.…

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How do the IRS tax law changes affect you?

How do the IRS tax law changes affect you?

The IRS has changed some of its regulations regarding charitable contributions, which has donors and charities alike confused about what the new regulations will mean. I’ve been studying information coming out about the regulations and from I can see, the new tax laws will not have a significant impact on regular annual giving for most donors. The elimination of a personal exemption has raised concern, however the standard deduction for most tax brackets nearly doubled to offset the exemption. If you have enough itemized deductions to exceed the standard deduction, the charitable deduction is still available.…

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Faith in Action Mercy Conference in Fargo

Faith in Action Mercy Conference in Fargo

The Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, President of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod will be a featured speaker at the upcoming Faith in Action Mercy Conference on October 27 in Fargo. This one-day event, held at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, 7151 15th St. S., Fargo, will bring Lutherans together to re-imagine the work of the mercy in the church.…

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The Power of Mindfulness

The Power of Mindfulness

“Our kids are unable to pay attention to the positive things in the world around them,” says Dr. Wayne Martinsen, psychiatrist at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. “Instead they are mindful to the awful things—the tone of voice when someone is angry and is going to hurt them, the leer from someone before they sexually abuse them.” The more they practice noticing and paying attention to the positive things they are experiencing in the moment, the more positive experiences they’ll have to reflect upon in the future.…

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How Do Kids Get to the Ranch?

How Do Kids Get to the Ranch?

We talk to people every day who have questions about the Ranch and our kids. This is the first installment of a series, “Frequently Asked Questions about the Ranch.”…

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Children are back to school at the Ranch

Children are back to school at the Ranch

We excitedly celebrated the first day of school last week. As you know, Dakota Memorial School is its own school district with educational facilities on the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch’s Bismarck, Fargo, and Minot campuses. Our School Superintendent, Marcia Bartok, answers a few questions about Dakota Memorial School.…

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It Only Takes a Spark

It Only Takes a Spark

I love the energy of the new school year. But, I realized going back to school is not so exciting for everyone when I shared a lunch table with one of our kids (I will call him Allan) on the 4th day of school. He was talking about his school experience, which was filled with negativity. Allan told me school was a waste of time because people in his family don’t graduate. When I asked why he would say that, Allan said, “That’s just the way it is.”…

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The Gentle Art of Decluttering

The Gentle Art of Decluttering

I am thankful a leaky window flooded my basement earlier this summer. It forced me to go through boxes of “treasures” I’d carried with me over 20 years. I reminisced, laughed, and even cried as I pulled things piece by piece from the boxes. After a day of mostly throwing, I felt lighter somehow—like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.…

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