Legacy Giving

The Load is Light With Many Hands

The Load is Light With Many Hands

I recently attended the South Dakota LWML retreat in Pierre, South Dakota. One of the hosts mentioned how good it was to finally be in person after such a long layoff, and the attendees agreed with a loud cheer! I agree. It was good to be in person. Me and my fellow Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Development Officers have been visiting donors in person since May, but this was my first time meeting in a larger setting since COVID began.…

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Daily Prayers for Our Students

Daily Prayers for Our Students

It is an exciting time of year at Dakota Memorial School. School is back in session with some of the most amazing teachers and staff. Not to mention the fantastic students who are ready to learn, grow, and experience life through educational activities.…

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Summer Olympics at the Ranch

Summer Olympics at the Ranch

It has been more than 40 years since “The Miracle on Ice,” when the U.S. Men’s Hockey team defeated the Soviet Union on their way to Olympic gold. To this day, whenever I think about that win, I still feel the same emotions I did the night it happened. That moment was electric, and people talk about it as if it were yesterday.…

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Dirt is a Happy Place

Dirt is a Happy Place

When I was a kid, I didn't really appreciate all the work that went into raising food. Gardening was a lot of work, and it took away from what I wanted to do—generally anything except work. I've since gained an appreciation for gardening, and even gave it a name, "dirt therapy." For some people, digging in the dirt, watching plants grow, and harvesting vegetables all come together to create a sense of accomplishment and well-being.…

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God-Inspired Interruptions

God-Inspired Interruptions

In a book I'm reading, the author talks about God-inspired interruptions, which reminded me of a recent moment of inspiration outside my office at the Ranch. My office is situated across the hall from Shayla Leinen, Principal of Dakota Memorial School on the Fargo campus. Throughout the school day, kids come to Shayla's office, sometimes with an emergency or a behavioral issue, and sometimes just to say hello. Shayla is amazing with our kids; she truly cares about each one of them.…

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Quiet Moments

Quiet Moments

I sat in my office the day after Easter and reflected on the quietness of the moment. Usually, the hall outside my office is anything but quiet, as students head towards music class or stop to visit with our principal whose office is just across from mine. I thought about all the boys and girls who have walked down that hall. All the stuff each child carries with them—trauma, heartbreak, and thoughts of not being loved. That is a lot for a child to carry.…

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Seeing Him Smile Again is Worth Every Tear

Seeing Him Smile Again is Worth Every Tear

Today I'm giving a shout-out to the brave parents who trust us with their precious boys and girls. I say "brave" because it takes courage to reach out for help. It is difficult to imagine the pain and heartbreak some parents experience when their child needs help. The parents of kids who come to the Ranch are out of options and out of hope. We look into their eyes and say, "How can we help?" And most of them, through their tears, tell us they just want their precious child back to "normal."…

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Celebrating Unsung Heroes

Celebrating Unsung Heroes

In the latest edition of Ranch Voice, there is a great article talking about our amazing facilities team. I’d like to take a moment to celebrate these unsung heroes who day in and day out work very hard at providing a clean, safe, and healthy environment for our precious kids and dedicated staff.…

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Can You Walk on Water?

Can You Walk on Water?

It was a beautiful North Dakota winter morning and the Ranch's Wildlife Club was just about to start its first fishing adventure of the season. Helping to unload the pickup was a very chatty 14-year-old girl who was relatively new to the Ranch. Since her early childhood was spent in the south, I knew she had never been ice fishing. With a twinkle in my eye and sincerity "dripping" from every word, I leaned over to her and whispered, "You CAN walk on water, right?"…

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I Love Christmas!

I Love Christmas!

I love everything about Christmas, the music, traditions, sights, sounds, and most importantly, the opportunity to share the story about the greatest gift we will ever receive; and that is the gift of God's Son, Jesus.…

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Positivity in all Circumstances

Positivity in all Circumstances

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." –1 Thessalonians 5:18 A friend recently posted on Facebook, "I'm not turning my clock back an hour on November 1. I don't want 2020 to last one more hour than it has to."…

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Ranch Kids Head Back to School

Ranch Kids Head Back to School

I was recently reading through the Spring 2019 issue of Ranch Voice (click here to read more), and was reminded why we, and our kids, love our educators! As you read these snippets, you'll realize why our educators are so special.…

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Keeping Ranch Kids Busy During a Pandemic

Keeping Ranch Kids Busy During a Pandemic

Life has been different for the precious boys and girls at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch this summer. Fortunately, the quality of care and the amount of attention they receive hasn't changed. I asked our amazing Wellness Coordinators how they are keeping the kids engaged physically and mentally this summer—despite the challenges created by COVID-19.…

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Your Story Is Important

Your Story Is Important

A big part of my job is thanking some amazing people who care deeply for the precious kids we serve at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. When I call or visit to thank them for their prayers and/or financial support, I have the incredible honor of hearing their stories and learning why they support the Ranch.…

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Congratulations to Our Ranch Graduates!

Congratulations to Our Ranch Graduates!

One year ago, six amazing young people graduated from Dakota Memorial School. These young people received their diplomas amidst pomp and circumstance, with lots of family and friends surrounding them.…

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How Can Three Simple Words Bring So Much Joy?

How Can Three Simple Words Bring So Much Joy?

Before they get to the Ranch, our kids have experienced so much trauma and pain. In many cases, they've been told they're out of options. Now, they have succeeded, and they have a place to go! They are joyful because they did the work, completed their treatment, and now have hope for a better future.…

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Emily's Story

Emily's Story

Like so many of our Ranch kids, there was a time when Emily certainly didn’t believe in herself. She did not realize her potential or the plan God had for her life. Yet today, Emily stands strong and resilient; capable and confident, a beautiful, genuine young woman…who surely has promise! Thank you for helping to make stories like Emily’s possible. You cheer our kids on with your prayers and support, believing in their POTENTIAL, helping precious children realize that they indeed have PROMISE, that their lives certainly have POSSIBILITIES and that the God who loves them, surely has a PLAN for their lives.…

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Beauty From Ashes

Beauty From Ashes

I recently gave a Ranch presentation at a church in Illinois. After the service, a woman handed me a white candle in the shape of an angel, explaining that after each worship service, she collected the candles. She was told to throw away the candles when they reached a certain length. Not wanting to waste the wax, she began to collect the pieces and melt them to create angels to give as gifts.…

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Thank You for Doing Stuff

Thank You for Doing Stuff

He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" -Luke 10:27 I appreciate how Bob Goff, the author of Love Does, paraphrases this verse. He says, "Love God, Love People, and Do Stuff."…

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Eight Ways to Make a Tax-deductible Gift to Your Favorite Charity

Eight Ways to Make a Tax-deductible Gift to Your Favorite Charity

By making a gift to the Ranch or your favorite charity, you can pay less in taxes, avoid capital gains tax, and direct your treasures to where you want them to go.…

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Three Ways to Pass On Assets Outside of Your Will

Three Ways to Pass On Assets Outside of Your Will

While everyone should talk to an attorney about a formal plan, you can pass on some of your assets outside of a will. To make sure your loved ones are cared for after you are gone, you can...…

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Looking for an Easy Way to Help Ranch Kids This Year

Looking for an Easy Way to Help Ranch Kids This Year

An IRA Rollover is a simple and easy way to provide hope and healing for the troubled, complicated, and amazing kids at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.…

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Passing Down Your Family Values

Passing Down Your Family Values

In his book, “30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans,” Karl Pillemer interviewed more than 1,200 people, most ages 70 and up, and said most saw transmitting their values and core principles as their most important legacy. Our heirs prefer shared values over material items too.…

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The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

It's hard to think about dying. I do know I will eventually die—we all will. But knowing that doesn't make it easier to think about. If we are hesitant to even think about our death, it makes sense that we also put off the planning that goes along with it. I recently stumbled on a little book titled, "The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning," by Margareta Magnuson. Margareta's words turned my thoughts towards the responsibilities I have to get my affairs in order so my death is easier on my loved on—at least regarding the distribution of my belongings and assets. Her words even helped me find a measure of delight in the process. Really.…

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A Moment of Prayer

A Moment of Prayer

On September 25, the students on the Ranch's Dakota Memorial School campuses gathered around the flagpole for the annual See You At The Pole event. This is a gathering and encouragement of our nation's schools and leadership through prayer. The idea is that before school, all across our country, students and faculty meet around their flagpoles for a few moments of prayer.…

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