Our mission at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is to "help at-risk children and their families succeed in the name of Christ."
Our work at the Ranch is to help children find their best selves.
Ranch kids learn to think about goals and the future. I know I've mentioned it before in these writings, but when kids come to the Ranch, they are not future-oriented. They have been in survival mode (because of fear, hunger, abuse, and trauma) for so long that their goals are to make it through the day, or the morning, or this minute. The future is a concept without meaning when you have to scrabble through each moment. So we teach the children to stop and dream. Set goals. If you are your best self, imagine what your goals could be, your future could become.
That was the task set before several of our children. They were told to, "Imagine that from this day forward everything goes as well as possible." "Imagine you have worked hard and accomplished all your life goals." "Think about all the relevant components of your life." Then they were given 15 minutes to write freely about their dreams and aspirations. You can't work toward something unless you can imagine it.
I think when we think of children's dreams, we think of astronauts and professional sports and being a doctor or nurse or teacher. But one boy's goals tell us much about what a Ranch child dreams of.
"I believe that what I need in my life to be happy would be a woman that is beautiful on the inside and the out. I would have two sons to teach them what is good and what is bad. I would have a job with the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). I would have a house in a neighborhood that I do not have to work about what you can and cannot say. I believe that if I had these things, then I would have accomplished the goals that I wanted to accomplish in life."
I'm not big on the UFC, but it is a legitimate job! A person to share life with, children, safety, and freedom. Sounds like pretty good goals to me.
Please keep our kids and staff in your prayers.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
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