Yesterday was a day of wonderful surprises.
As I do many days, I ate lunch at the Thrivent Nutrition Center on the Fargo campus of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. I looked up when the bell rang, knowing the room would soon be filled with youthful exuberance. One of our boys is known for sneaking up behind someone seated at his table and say, "Surprise!"
I suddenly realized that I was in the spot that usually gets the surprise welcome and thought to myself, "I hope I seem surprised enough." I then went back to getting ready to eat some delicious looking soup and a warm turkey sandwich. YUM...
As I jumped about a foot and squeaked, he chuckled and sat down next to me to finish coloring on a very cool looking pencil sketch. We talked a lot about his artwork and he told me he was converting the drawing from a mummy to a ninja.
Then, as I was heading back to my office, one of our 7th-grade boys asked for a side hug, which just made my day. Not sure if he knew I needed a hug, but it sure felt like he was giving me encouragement. (Although I did overhear someone say that he really liked my red coat.)
Lunch is one of my favorite times at the Ranch. We are all gathered together--kids who have just joined us, kids about to discharge, teachers, counselors, fundraisers, direct care staff, and more. We gather together to break bread and talk about the topic on people's minds that day. Just like we do around the dinner table at home.
Thank you for believing in these special kids. Thank you for helping us give them a sense of home as they work through the trauma that has been in their past. Thank you for all you do to support our ministry. I pray your day is filled with happy surprises.
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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.