Thank you for your interest in Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.
The Ranch is truly a special place. The boards of Directors, staff, and I are dreaming broadly and boldly about the upcoming generations impacted by this organization's ongoing work.
As the scientific world learns more and more about brain development and the impact of trauma, Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch continues to reach higher and higher levels of sophistication in providing trauma-informed care. The concept of trauma-informed care starts with a simple question we ask when a troubled youth comes to us. Rather than asking, "What is wrong with this child?" we ask, "What happened to this child?" By understanding a child's actions in the context in which the behaviors began, we can adapt our care to meet they child where they are at. This allows us to build treatment and medical plans, integrate school life, and offer spiritual support, in ways that help children become successful in their life and in their world--with Christ at their side.
The children who live at the Ranch continue to get younger, as young as 10. We also have many children, ages 16 and 17, living here, who are fully committed to their efforts to heal. I am troubled by the number of these older children who have no family or support system available to them when they turn 18. Ranch leadership, along with our Boards of Directors, have begun conversations about ways we might be able to help these young adults continue with their success. I cannot foresee what form that will take, and it won't happen overnight, but we will diligently examine our place in filling this gap in the continuum of care.
In the here and now, I see miracles every day in the lives of our children. A child sharing his deepest fears about the horse he is riding, a therapist at his side; a young woman telling her own story of strength and survival through music; a boy asking to be baptized. Without the support and prayers of our donors, these miracles would not be possible.
Joy Ryan, President/CEO, Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch