Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

"When I Grow Up, I Want to Be Just Like You!"

"When I Grow Up, I Want to Be Just Like You!"

I received a very sad letter in the mail today. It was from Maxine Beckwith, a Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Board Member. Maxine is the last remaining Board Member who had joined the board prior to the introduction of term limits. As such, she has been on the board for nearly 40 years. And she has made every moment count. Her letter says she is choosing to retire from the board at the end of this operational year.…

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Something We Can All Agree On?

Something We Can All Agree On?

I was working on a blog post that was truly in sync with all the unsettledness in the world. It seems important to talk about the pandemic and the death of George Floyd and racial injustice and political derision and how the Ranch views and deals with all these "things." I wrote a couple drafts, and then sent it to several people — from different political leanings, races, educational levels, and life experiences — to ask them for their thoughts and input. I don't usually do that, but the message is so important and I wanted to make sure I stated things well.…

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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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Our Four-Legged Staff Know a Little About Unconditional Love

Our Four-Legged Staff Know a Little About Unconditional Love

At the Ranch, the four-legged staff that work with our children know a little about unconditional love. The horses like Odin and Lena and Starbucks listen to the children's pains and fears and hurts. They gently walk with them. They carry them and their troubles without complaint. The therapy dogs like Bailey and Mack nuzzle and snuggle and love being petted. And they listen too.…

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Do You Believe in God's Elves?

Do You Believe in God's Elves?

What is your position on God's elves? Before we get too deep into that, I want to be forthright about two of my beliefs. I am a big believer in science, and believe that science is one of God's gifts to humanity. I also believe in miracles.…

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Resilience, Courage and Success

Resilience, Courage and Success

Elizabeth Muralt is on a mission. Her mission is to share her story with children in the foster care system and to advocate for policy change that helps foster care youth live more normal lives. "I want kids in foster care to know they can be successful despite their circumstances. That they can turn negative experiences into positive ones," Elizabeth said. "I couldn't imagine a successful future because I had never seen a successful person who grew up in the foster care system. I didn't know success was attainable for me."…

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Meaningful Memories at Medora

Meaningful Memories at Medora

Last summer, three Ranch residents, Courtney, Sierra, and Megan, traveled to Medora with Amber Benham, Horse Program Coordinator, to hike and look for wild horses. The idea for the trip started when the girls were at the horse barn, talking about how they'd love to see wild horses. Amber told them about the wild horses in Medora, and when she learned none of them had been there, she planned the trip. The special outing celebrated the progress the three girls had made at the Ranch, rewarded them for work they did around the horse barn over the summer, and served as a last hurrah for Courtney, who was discharging at the end of the week.…

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Kitchen Staff Present Silver Spatula Award to Young Man at the Ranch

Kitchen Staff Present Silver Spatula Award to Young Man at the Ranch

The culture at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is based in caring, purpose, and learning. Lately, I have been asking folks to share stories of the greatest example of caring they have witnessed in their time at the Ranch.…

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The Rupert Dunklau Foundation Supports the Spiritual Life Program at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The Rupert Dunklau Foundation Supports the Spiritual Life Program at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch will receive $15,000 in matching funds from the Rupert Dunklau Foundation to support the Spiritual Life Program on our campuses in Minot, Bismarck, and Fargo, ND…

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Now Is the Time to Accept our Imperfections

Now Is the Time to Accept our Imperfections

At the Ranch, we work to help each child see they are perfectly themselves. That the best self they can be is exactly who they are meant to be. Not like someone else. Through treatment and programming and individualized schooling, they learn to be their own strongest advocates. They learn to be in their own skin.…

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A Child's Expression of Empathy Through Art

A Child's Expression of Empathy Through Art

Empathy, "the ability to understand and share the feelings of another," is hard. It is truly difficult to stand in another person's shoes and see life from their perspective. We all spend most of our time seeing the world from our own vantage point. It is even harder for Ranch kids.…

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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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A Child's Incredible Act of Caring

A Child's Incredible Act of Caring

I work with really great people here at the Ranch. Frankly, this is not a place you come to work if you are, at your core, a jerk. The people who commit to being Ranchers are truly interested in leaving the world a better place. They come together to help heal children who, through no fault of their own, have had to learn to navigate a world that has not shown itself to be on their side. These remarkable Ranchers use the best scientific medical and therapeutic practice, educational practice, faith in God, and good old fashioned kindness to make a difference.…

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"The New Me"

"The New Me"

Anthony didn't plan to graduate from high school. For as long as he can remember, his plan was to drop out of school as soon as he reached the legal dropout age. Yet, he was one of six students to graduate from Dakota Memorial School (DMS) in May, and he gave a commencement speech during the ceremony. It was a proud moment for Anthony. "All the things I've been through, I never really thought I'd graduate," he said. Anthony's graduation was a dream come true for his parents an older brother. For Anthony, graduation was proof he can do and accomplish more than he even dared to dream.…

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Verendrye Electric Awards $1,500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Verendrye Electric Awards $1,500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Verendrye Electric Cooperative awarded $1,500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to replace cottage appliances on our Minot campus.…

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Tolley Couple Opened Their Hearts and Home to Ten Challenging Boys

Tolley Couple Opened Their Hearts and Home to Ten Challenging Boys

Louis C. Butt, and his wife, Ida Mae, are legends in Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch history. They farmed and ranched outside of Tolley, ND, and were one of the first couples to open their home to the boys who needed a place to lay their head. Their home became the first physical location of Dakota Boys Ranch when the family donated their farm and ranch.…

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Josh Duhamel Playing it Forward for Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Josh Duhamel Playing it Forward for Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Hollywood's Josh Duhamel chose to golf for Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch in the Play It Forward charity golf event to be broadcast on WDAY and InForum on May 31 at 6 p.m.…

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Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Receives Funding from First Lutheran Church Foundation

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Receives Funding from First Lutheran Church Foundation

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, Fargo, ND, was the recipient of a $3,200 grant from the First Lutheran Church Foundation in Fargo, ND. The funds received will be used as part of an innovative remodel of Dakota Memorial School—Fargo, the on-campus school of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. The remodel will allow for an increase in enrollment to meet the growing needs of the community, as well as better serve the students we currently have. Specifically, funds from the Foundation will be used to underwrite the costs of Interactive Technology for our new classrooms.…

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North Dakota Community Foundation and Minot Community Endowment Fund Support Technology Updates at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

North Dakota Community Foundation and Minot Community Endowment Fund Support Technology Updates at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch received a total of $11,000 from the North Dakota Community Foundation (NDCF) COVID-19 Community and Nonprofit Response grant and the Minot Community Endowment Fund (MCEF). The funds received will be used to stabilize the IT network on our Minot campus to support the increased load of distance education and telehealth created by the COVID-19 pandemic.…

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Great River Energy Awards $1,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Great River Energy Awards $1,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Great River Energy awarded $1,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to underwrite the costs of updating the salad bar on our Bismarck Campus. Funds received will be used as part of an overall transformation of the Nutrition Center on our Bismarck campus. The purchased equipment will allow us to offer additional healthy items during meals.…

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Coping with Loneliness During Social Distancing

Coping with Loneliness During Social Distancing

Even as states loosen restrictions, some people continue to play it safe by avoiding non-essential interactions and staying home. Isolation is taking a toll. Cope with loneliness by trying out some of these ideas shared by Dr. Wayne Martinsen, Psychiatrist and Medical Director at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, and in an article at psychologytoday.com.…

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Thrift Stores re-open with new hours and procedures

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Thrift Stores are open with new hours and procedures. Please keep in mind the following changes in procedures.…

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Teachers Are Learners at Dakota Memorial School

Teachers Are Learners at Dakota Memorial School

To learn, children must be connected to, or engaged with, what's going on in the classroom. It's a challenge for every teacher to make their classroom a place kids want to be. It is even more challenging in classrooms at the Ranch, where students have had year after year of negative school experiences.…

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Therapy Revives Hope

Therapy Revives Hope

As I interviewed Ranch therapists for this article, I was struck by a few common themes. The first was the importance of the relationship between the child and the therapist. Every therapist said the relationship comes first. Without that, nothing the therapist says or does will work. While each therapist has his or her own way of connecting to children, they all stressed that building a trusting relationship is their number one goal.…

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Love Languages Open the Door to Healing

Love Languages Open the Door to Healing

We understand our world and each other in so many ways. At Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, that means finding the set of constructs that resonate for each particular child. Each of these precious children is unique, with their own experiences, traumas, and defense mechanisms. In short, they are like all the rest of us as far as how we take in information. There is no "one size fits all" way to communicate.…

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