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.
“What is Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch?” she asked. “What do you do there?”
I told her we help kids who are hurting, some as young as nine.
She scrambled to grab her small glittery pink purse and said, “I have to give you something!”
Then she pulled three shiny quarters out of purse and handed me one, saying, “This is for the kids.”
I thanked her profusely and let her know I admired her generosity. As she headed into sanctuary she held tight to the other two quarters. I am pretty sure they were for the offering plate.
Just like my new friend, Mindy, we learn about giving when we sit with our parents and grandparents in church or at a charity function. We discover that giving feels good—it is proven to make us happy. A Harvard Business School professor conducted a research study on giving several years ago and found that, “Giving money to someone else lifted the participants’ happiness more than spending it on themselves.”
Time and again, I have witnessed the moments our residents at the Ranch are awakened to helping others and giving of themselves. We give kids the opportunity to give back in many ways – they write Christmas cards for local nursing home residents, volunteer at homeless shelters, and pack Operation Christmas Child boxes. For some, it’s the first time they’ve had the chance to volunteer. Ranch staff lead by example, and just as Mindy learned about giving by watching her parents, our kids learn about giving by watching Ranch staff.
Thank you for helping our children learn of faith, love, acceptance, and generosity. This critical ministry could not exist without your prayers and support.
Senior Development Officer
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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.