By Development Officer, Anne Compere
I recently gave a Ranch presentation at a church in Illinois. After the service, a woman handed me a white candle in the shape of an angel, explaining that after each worship service, she collected the candles. She was told to throw away the candles when they reached a certain length. Not wanting to waste the wax, she began to collect the pieces and melt them to create angels to give as gifts.
Hearing this explanation, I immediately thought of our kids at the Ranch. Because of their struggles, many adults have given up on them. Sometimes they don't see their own value. At the Ranch, they are offered hope and healing and the opportunity to make beautiful things with their lives.
Lives like "Jack." My first thought upon meeting Jack was, "Well, here's an angry kid." He is combative and uses words to try to shock people. I ate lunch with him one day, and while talking, he pointed out another boy who is twelve but has the mannerisms of a five-year-old.
Jack said, "Isn't he cute?" In a totally serious tone, he described how sweet the other boy is. Jack explained that he had been assigned the task of being a buddy to the other boy, walking with him to classes, reminding him of tasks, etc. I watched Jack soften and show true tenderness as he talked about this relationship with his buddy. Yes, Jack is angry and working through his trauma, but he is slowly making beautiful things in his life as he heals and helps others.
Thank you for your part in helping our kids find and make beautiful things in their lives.
"to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes..." -Isaiah 61:3
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Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is a Christian residential treatment and educational center for children and their families. We help the most troubled, complicated, and amazing kids by providing best-in-class psychiatric therapy and trauma-informed care, where we look kids in the eye, walk with them, and help them become their best selves.