The kids who come to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch are working hard to learn new behaviors—it is not easy to overcome what they have learned through what has happened to them.
Most of our kids have had to find ways to survive.
Maybe they were abused. Perhaps they found that by being nasty and violent and aggressive they could push people away. If people hurt you when they get close… the simplest remedy is to not let them get close.
Maybe they have been bullied. Perhaps they found that being quiet, disappearing, not standing out or up, made it less likely to be singled out. If you are attacked each time you are visible… the simplest remedy is to become invisible.
Maybe they were neglected. Perhaps they found they had to fend for themselves, never ask permission, take what they want or need, overeat, or hoard food. If no one else is looking out for you… the simplest remedy is to always put yourself first.
Maybe they have untreated mental health issues. Perhaps they found that self-medicating with drugs and alcohol made the anxiety, chaos, depression, and hyperactivity more tolerable. If no one helps you control the pain… the simplest remedy is to control it with what is available.
Maybe they were used for sex. Perhaps they found that if they are used for sex, sex will be their secret strength. If you are only valued as an object… then being that object makes you feel valued.
Not every child or adult who experiences these things develops the same behaviors. But for some, these behaviors are how they adapt to survive, emotionally and physically.
At the Ranch, we want them to find new ways to behave. We want to understand what happened to them, we want them to understand it for the trauma it was. We want them to learn to intentionally choose new behaviors that make it easier and safer for them in the world. It is hard work—hard work for the child, the treatment team, and everyone who loves the child. The new behaviors are hard, and it is scary to change… but then over time…
Taylor is one of our dedicated, smart, master’s level therapists at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. Her celebration of a cupcake shows a child starting to find their true, better self.
“Today, I got a cupcake from a client. You never would’ve known that this same kiddo stormed out of my office last week and struggled to be appropriate in group. Today he made cupcakes to give out, and he chose to give one to me. These kids are so resilient, compassionate, and giving. Moments like this are the ones that keep me going.”
Yes, that’s the actual cupcake. You can certainly tell it was made by a child. Gotta have sprinkles.
Please keep our kids and our staff, like Taylor, in your prayers.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
If you are a Thrivent Financial member, you may have Thrivent Choice Dollars® available to direct. Your Choice Dollars® can be directed to multiple organizations each year. Please consider choosing Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch as one place you direct your Choice Dollars®. All Thrivent Choice Dollars® are used to fund our Spiritual Life Program, giving our children the opportunity to grow in their faith and learn about their loving Heavenly Father. To direct your Choice Dollars® to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, go to Thrivent.com/thriventchoice. You can also direct your Choice Dollars® over the phone by calling 1-800-847-4836, and say "Thrivent Choice," after the prompt. The deadline is MARCH 31st, so direct your Choice Dollars® today!
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