Services for Kids

Who are those guys?

Who are those guys?

In early November the Boards of Directors of our three Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch organizations met on our Fargo Campus. It is always a blessing to have these remarkable people donate their time to govern and inspire us in the pursuit of our mission, “to help at-risk children and their families succeed in the name of Christ.”…

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"I'm not annoying, you're annoying!"

"I'm not annoying, you're annoying!"

On one of our campuses, program staff decided to try a Secret Santa gift exchange with the kids. Remember, these kids are in psychiatric treatment recovering from difficult traumas. Empathy is one of the skills they work to develop. They have struggled so hard to protect themselves, that learning to think about what makes others happy is a big step forward.…

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"BTW I know how you feel"

"BTW I know how you feel"

Kids who come to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch have had to protect themselves. They have had to be smart and focused on doing what they could for themselves. Sometimes that extends to siblings or other family members who share their trauma. They don’t often have the chance to learn about caring for a broader circle, or the “greater good.” At the Ranch, we give them those opportunities.…

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An Unexpected Flood

An Unexpected Flood

I have said it many times and mean it more each time. Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch employs the very best people I have ever worked with. It is an honor to work beside them. Please keep them and Ranch kids in your prayers.…

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Commitment, resilience, and stamina

Commitment, resilience, and stamina

As it is for any of us, things get in the way of our kids reaching their goals. Our children struggle with the memories of their trauma, or with outside pressures when they leave our care. But, once they make that commitment, their resilience and stamina to persevere are powerful.…

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Pure, unadulterated joy!

Pure, unadulterated joy!

At the Ranch, we try very hard this time of year to create some of those memories for these precious children. Because of the support of wonderful donors, we have a robust Spiritual Life component to our work, and during this time of year, it shines so brightly!…

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Not Perfect

Not Perfect

Every child who comes to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch has had a different experience with God, religion, and their own faith. Each child will take their own steps while they are with us. Some will be revelatory, and some will be questioning.…

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Positivity Carriers

Positivity Carriers

At a recent assembly on our Minot Campus, a lean, handsome, well-spoken teenage boy stood up to speak. Knowing his back story of abandonment and abuse, I know he has challenged himself to see the best in the world, and that afternoon he showed us how far he has come.…

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"I don't need you."

"I don't need you."

Rev. Rick Jones, our Chaplain and Vice President of Spiritual Life, shares a daily devotion with those of us who work at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. Having grown up on a farm, one of his recent devotions really resonated with me so I wanted to share it with you. As my dad used to say, “Every living thing will respond to love.”…

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So Much Gratitude

So Much Gratitude

This Thanksgiving, I have so much to be thankful for. The family I come from truly loved each other. My parents gave us an unshakeable foundation on which to build our lives. The family God blessed my husband and me with is a constant source of warmth. We have kind, good children. They have wonderful people in their lives, and the grandchildren…oh, the grandchildren. They could be a month’s worth of emails.…

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It's a God thing

It's a God thing

"It's a God thing." That's what several of my good friends say when there is an unexplained "coincidence" that sort of sets the world right. Little, quiet, daily miracles that may or may not be happenstance. But, since He is in charge of everything, we give Him the glory.…

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My three favorite moments

My three favorite moments

Each of the three campuses of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch has different traditions and events that have evolved over the years we’ve been helping kids and families. One of my favorites is the intermittent Talent Show held on the Minot Campus. It gives the kids and staff a chance to be brave and sing or dance or speak or share. It gives the kids one more way to move closer to finding their best selves.…

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Taking a first step

Taking a first step

When a child is new to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, the staff share a little about them so they are aware of possible conversations or situations that may trigger negative behaviors. We focus on their strengths and how we can give them every opportunity to see they can succeed and be their best selves.…

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Leave the worries to God

Leave the worries to God

I was recently visiting with a teenage boy who is in our care. He has been in some form of foster care his entire life. Some families have been good. Some of his families have been, in his words, “really, really wrong.” He gets mad sometimes, but most of the time he likes people. His favorite animals are dogs, and horses are next.…

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Flag Football and Healing

Flag Football and Healing

On this fall day, I look out my window to see Ranch kids playing flag football. The teams are co-ed and the kids appear to be enjoying a great deal of laughter. The gym teacher on the Fargo Ranch campus is a former Division I college football player. The kids listen to him, and they get great exercise.…

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Connecting All the Pieces

Connecting All the Pieces

In practice, Case Managers at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch are connectors—the glue that holds everything together while a child is in treatment at the Ranch. They bring together the Ranch treatment team, the child and their family, and county or Department of Juvenile Justice caseworkers; to ensure everyone is moving in the same direction and that the children and their families have a voice in their treatment.…

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Not one-size-fits-all

Not one-size-fits-all

People often ask what makes the Ranch special. What do we do differently at the Ranch that helps kids heal? The truth is that there is not one answer to that question. We focus on every child individually and find ways to meet their specific needs. Our goal is to help our children heal and grow so they can become successful members of their families and communities—and we do that by working with them one-by-one to determine their strengths and challenges, and to find strategies that will work for them.…

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"My grandma is 103."

"My grandma is 103."

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch turned 70 years old in August. In 1952, a small church congregation outside of Mapleton, ND recognized the challenges faced by the children that had been “half-orphaned” by World War II. (Like most states, North Dakota had many casualties and lasting disabilities among its male population.).…

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Food Service Angel

Food Service Angel

“I don’t drink milk.” That’s the way the conversation between a new 10-year-old boy at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch and Sarah Streitz, one of our Food Service Angels, started.…

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Horses Everywhere

Horses Everywhere

"My horse, Teddy, taught me how to love him and love other people. Just like Teddy, people are going to be stubborn. You have to compromise with them. You gotta give in a little bit and take a little back. I've learned so much from Teddy." -Megan, former Ranch resident…

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The Hard Work of Going Home

The Hard Work of Going Home

One of the great challenges of the work we do at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is helping our children be successful when they leave our care. During treatment, we wrap children and their families in many services and supports. When a child completes treatment and goes home, the family must find these services in the community—not an easy task when they may have their own challenges and/or live in a rural area with few available services.…

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Wisdom Beyond Their Years

Wisdom Beyond Their Years

Many of the office doors in Bremer Hall (the central building on our Minot campus) have small 8" x 10" white boards hanging on them. These boards serve a variety of purposes. Some are used to list office hours. Some give location info like, "I'm in the barn with the kids until 3 p.m." Some ask everyone who passes to vote on an important life question, "Would you rather be 10 feet tall or 10 inches tall?" (If you're curious, 10 feet tall won by a landslide.)…

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"I will pray for you."

"I will pray for you."

One of our kids is going home today. Of course, I am thrilled. We are here to “help at-risk kids and their families succeed in the name of Christ.” Part of succeeding is being able to live with a family. No child should grow up at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch…

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Like, when is your birthday?

Like, when is your birthday?

“How old are you? Like, when’s your birthday?” I had a chance to sit on the grass next to a circle of kids on one of our campuses. They were waiting for a tardy ice cream truck, and they were so patient. Their topic of conversation was age.…

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"The Dunk"

"The Dunk"

One of the great challenges of being a trauma survivor is hypervigilance, which means being overly alert to danger. For children at the Ranch who have experienced abuse, neglect, or other traumatic events, nothing in life has been predictable and most surprises have caused pain. As a result, their senses and emotions are always on high alert.…

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