Services for Kids

If We Do the Possible, God Will Do the Rest

If We Do the Possible, God Will Do the Rest

In this time of trying to separate the truly important from the normally important, I want you to know we are focused on one thing, "to help at-risk children and their families succeed in the name of Christ." Right now, helping these kids succeed means making decisions that keep them and our staff as safe as possible. It means delivering programming and education that creates a semblance of normalcy and predictability in a time when the world is neither. It means praying and laughing with our kids, and listening to their fears. It means accepting children from other facilities that have shut their doors. It means relying on Him, when we are not enough. He will give us the strength.…

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Helping Ranch kids get through the COVID-19 Crisis

Helping Ranch kids get through the COVID-19 Crisis

Almost overnight, COVID-19 has radically changed life as we know it...across the nation, worldwide, and now here at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. But one thing that hasn't changed: the need for a very special place where vulnerable children can find healing, hope, and shelter from the storms of life.…

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Keeping Ranch Kids Safe During COVID-19 Pandemic

Keeping Ranch Kids Safe During COVID-19 Pandemic

As we navigate the COVID-19 crisis, our first priority is the safety and security of the vulnerable children who come here for healing. While we know our plans will change day by day, sometimes minute by minute, we wanted to inform you of the things we are doing to keep our children and employees safe.…

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Uncharted Territory

Uncharted Territory

We are in uncharted territory. Although we are likely to start sentences with "it's like of like" or "I remember when," the reality is that the COVID-19/Coronovirus pandemic is a new reality for the entire world. Here at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, we, like everyone else, are navigating one day, and sometimes one minute, at a time.…

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The Mountains We Climb

The Mountains We Climb

At a meeting I recently attended, a young minister told a story about his honeymoon. He and his wife wanted to do something really special to mark the start of their new life together. They were honeymooning in New England and decided that climbing a mountain nearby would fit the bill.…

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"Why didn't you yell at me, or hit me?"

"Why didn't you yell at me, or hit me?"

Barry Backman has worked at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch for over 18 years. He is a Youth Care Worker Team Lead, and works, along with his team, directly with the kids. As parents, most of us need to live through about seven teenage years. Barry has stood by at-risk teens for 18+ years, helping them discover their best selves.…

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And Then They Heal

And Then They Heal

Children’s brains are little learning machines. They learn from what we say and do, and what we don’t say and do. We must be intentional about what we teach.…

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Stories that Fill My Bucket

Stories that Fill My Bucket

Sometimes I am astounded by how we continue the work of the Ranch in spite of obstacles put in our way. In the last week, the basement of one of our thrift stores flooded. Then, someone cut the catalytic converters out of the thrift store trucks we use to pick up donations. At the same time, we are implementing new federal legislation affecting children's residential services. And to top it all off, we have some major plumbing issues with our main building, our oldest building, on the Minot campus.…

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Be a Giving Heart

Be a Giving Heart

When I heard that the theme for this year's Giving Hearts Day was "Count Me," it resonated loudly! Isn't that what we all want? To know we are seen. To know we are valued. To know we "count." That is why all of us at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch hold ourselves to a standard of the true presence. The children we serve through our residential and therapeutic programs, and in our schools, are often society's "unseen." They have been abused, neglected, traumatized, labeled, and misunderstood. At the Ranch, we are present to them, with exceptional, practiced, compassionate expertise. We see them, walk with them, and count them.…

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Waiting...and Waiting Some More...Helps Ranch Kids Learn to Trust

Waiting...and Waiting Some More...Helps Ranch Kids Learn to Trust

The children at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch often come to us without any volume control. The years they have spent abused, neglected, or misunderstood have broken that "button." Sometimes they are extremely loud and rapid-fire in their speaking...because they needed to hell to be heard, and they had to deliver messages quickly before they were cut off or ignored. Sometimes they are silent and withdrawn, either because they are exhausted from trying to speak up to no avail, or because the punishment they received for speaking silenced them.…

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When You Have NOTHING to Call Your Own

When You Have NOTHING to Call Your Own

My parents were products of the Great Depression. The real one, in the 1930s. The recession of the 1980s was bad, but a pretender compared to what people endured before. Many in the United States simply had nothing. Nothing.…

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The Ranch's "first family," Ida and Louis Butt

The Ranch's "first family," Ida and Louis Butt

In 1952, a group of remarkable women at a small country church in rural North Dakota were concerned about the number of boys who were "out on their own." Boys as young as 9 or 10 were in the workforce, particularly as farm labor, because their families did not have the means to support them. Many were "half-orphans," whose fathers had died in WWII, or whose mothers had died in childbirth or of illness. These children were in survival straits, just trying to make it from day to day.…

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Orchids and Dandelions

Orchids and Dandelions

So many things are all about perspective, right? I don't know if you've ever read or remember the Far Side cartoons. One of my favorites was a drawing of a car's outside rearview mirror from the driver's perspective. The words "Objects in the mirror may be closer than they seem" were clearly written across the bottom of the mirror. The only reflection in the mirror is one HUGE eyeball. The "reality" of what might be really close always makes me giggle.…

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Brighten Christmas Morning for a Child at the Ranch

Brighten Christmas Morning for a Child at the Ranch

You have the opportunity to bless a child at the Ranch this Christmas with a note of hope, love, and joy. It might not seem like much, but your note of encouragement will brighten Christmas morning and let a Ranch child know how much you care.…

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Mentoring Others to Impact the Community

Mentoring Others to Impact the Community

Every Monday, I send an internal e-newsletter to Ranch employees. As one part of that newsletter, I ask individual Ranchers to share their thoughts about how they in their individual roles, help fulfill the mission of the Ranch. The mission, "to help at-risk children and their families succeed in the name of Christ," is pretty lofty. It is not something anyone of us can accomplish alone, but rather we all have to do our own part.…

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Welcome to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Dakota Boys and Girls 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.…

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