Like every other child, our Ranch kids are excited for the end of the school year. This week is graduation! We have six young men and women graduating from Dakota Memorial School (DMS) and we are honored to help them celebrate.
Like at all schools and for all kids, graduation is a time filled with mixed emotions. Up until this point, they have worked hard—attending school, completing assignments, controlling their emotions, managing troubling behaviors, developing and refining their social and interpersonal skills, and healing from past traumas. That is a lot to work on at one time. And now they are faced with the age-old dilemma of every graduating senior. Now what?
Most kids are anxious about the unknown that lies in front of them after graduation. For our kids, many who have multiple psychiatric diagnoses and/or complicated histories of abuse, neglect, and instability, the next step is especially intimidating.
And like all graduation seniors, they have big choices to make. Should they go to college, enter the military, go to trade school, attend Job Corp, or find a job? I talked to one young man, who will graduate from DMS next week, and he said he needed more time to decide what he wanted to do. He plans to stay home with his parents, work, and save money for his post-secondary education. "I don't want to rush into something and not be able to handle it," he said. Smart kid!
He is lucky to have a loving family to help him get a strong start. Many of our kids have grown up in the foster care system and don't have this support. Transitioning to the adult world is difficult for everyone—imagine what it must be like for kids who have little to no family support. (We are piloting a program for these kids called Ranch HOME at Northgate—I'll tell you more about that in an upcoming newsletter.)
My prayer for the young men and women graduating next week is that they take what they learned at the Ranch with them and use what they learned to make good choices. Please join me in praying for them as they move forward.
Your ongoing support gives our graduates the opportunity to heal, grow, and learn. Thanks to you, and many people like you, they can now move forward as their best selves God bless you.
With heartfelt gratitude,
Senior Development Officer
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
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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.