I was walking across campus at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch and I could not help but smile. The sun was shining, birds were chirping, and the smell of freshly cut grass filled the air. It was a beautiful North Dakota summer day.
I walked into the lunch room and decided to sit down with a group of young boys and their staff. The boys were "chomping at the bit" to get going because they were headed to swim at the outdoor pool for the first time. Staff said they would leave after lunch but then needed to clarify that they first needed to get swimsuits and sunscreen from their rooms.
That too made me smile because our kids are so literal with what is said to them. Our staff was insightful enough to preempt problems by clarifying the steps needed in order to get to the goal.
One of our 7th graders, Tyler*, was filled with questions and reservations. He is a sweet boy, who wants to grow up and become a policeman. He is smart, kind, and has the most soulful eyes. He is also one of our children who has nervous ticks that sometimes make people uncomfortable.
He has trichotillomania, which is when a person has the irresistible urge to pull hair out of the scalp, eyebrows, or other areas of the body. Because of this, his blonde hair is patchy and he has many bald spots. This too can make others curious or uncomfortable. At the Ranch, he is simply one of our precious kids.
We sat and visited and I answered his questions..."How long is the pool? How deep is the pool at its deepest point?" Like I said earlier, he is smart and seems to have an ongoing desire to learn about the world around him.
Tyler's love of learning combined with the best-in-class care and therapy that he receives at the Ranch will help him overcome his struggles. We all see Tyler as a beloved child of God and I have witnessed the Holy Spirit transform our hurting children time and time again. It just requires patience, prayers, know-how, and love. All of which our precious children find here at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.
Thank you for believing in kids like Tyler and for your ongoing prayers and support.
Yours in Christ,
Senior Development Officer
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of our precious children.
Learn more about Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch at DakotaRanch.org.
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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.