Janet Zinke

Having a Snow Day

Having a Snow Day

As the great-granddaughter of North Dakota homesteaders, a winter blizzard is par for the course. I recall fond memories of snow days. Staying home from school and work with family, baking and cooking to add extra warmth to the house...unless the power goes out and you camp out in the living room. Oh, the fun!…

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Together We Help So Many Kids

Together We Help So Many Kids

The supporters of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch are so gracious and well informed about our ministry. I have learned so much of our history from those I am blessed to visit with. Please know that we appreciate you very much.…

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Breaking Bread Together

Breaking Bread Together

Lunch is one of my favorite times at the Ranch. We are all gathered together--kids who have just joined us, kids about to discharge, teachers, counselors, fundraisers, direct care staff, and more. We gather together to break bread and talk about the topic on people's minds that day. Just like we do around the dinner table at home.…

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I trust you, Jesus

I trust you, Jesus

In her devotional book, Jesus Calling, Sarah Young challenged readers on January 4th to make a new habit of responding to any difficult situation with the words, "I trust you, Jesus." ... Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is an amazing place. We help some of the most troubled, complicated and special children find a better way to live their lives. They heal from the pain in their past and learn skills to better navigate the ups and downs that come with being human. We can help them to also see that they too can know and say, "I trust you, Jesus."…

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Should old acquaintance be forgot and never cross your mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot and never cross your mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot and never cross your mind? This question is repeated at New Year's celebrations across the world as people ring in the New Year with the familiar song, "Auld Land Syne."…

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Stewardship at the Ranch

Stewardship at the Ranch

Thank you for believing in the ministry of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. We help troubled children recover from the pain of their past and find ways to overcome their struggles. As 2018 draws to a close, many supporters of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch begin to look at their year-end giving. Folks have called and written in requesting our Federal Tax ID, IRS 990 forms and other questions about how we are set up.…

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The Present Moment

The Present Moment

"Take a deep breath and pause to experience the present moment.” When you read that, what do you think? What does that statement mean to you?…

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Much to be Thankful For

Much to be Thankful For

Good organizations require many components. Good leadership, a committed staff, a strong and compelling mission, and people like you who believe in the important work we do. Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is blessed to have all of these—and because of our combined efforts, hurting children find their way. I am so thankful.…

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Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude

About a year ago, we launched "Operation Gratitude" at the Ranch--which reminds us to thank people for all the things they contribute to our lives, our kids, and our organization. Today, I'd like to talk a little about the things we are grateful for at the Ranch.…

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The Gift of Time

The Gift of Time

“If only there were more hours in the day” is a phrase I have heard and used many times over the years. My mother often said it when I wanted to do just one last thing before bedtime. Now I catch myself saying the same thing to my six-year-old daughter.…

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National Speakers Will Share Messages of Mercy and Hope at October 27 Conference

National Speakers Will Share Messages of Mercy and Hope at October 27 Conference

Don’t miss two AMAZING and INSPIRING speakers at this Saturday’s Faith in Action Mercy Conference.…

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Replacing Stigma with Hope

Replacing Stigma with Hope

Last week was World Mental Health Awareness Week, a time to shine a light on mental illness and replace stigma with hope. At the Ranch, we spent the week sharing messages to fight stigma and to encourage people to get help. The discussion can't stop because Mental Health Awareness Week is over--so here are some things for you to think about.…

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Learning to Give

Learning to Give

Last Sunday, I spoke at a North Dakota church about Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. I was sitting outside the sanctuary with some Ranch brochures before the service and an 8-year-old girl, Mindy,* walked up to me and started asking questions.…

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How do the IRS tax law changes affect you?

How do the IRS tax law changes affect you?

The IRS has changed some of its regulations regarding charitable contributions, which has donors and charities alike confused about what the new regulations will mean. I’ve been studying information coming out about the regulations and from I can see, the new tax laws will not have a significant impact on regular annual giving for most donors. The elimination of a personal exemption has raised concern, however the standard deduction for most tax brackets nearly doubled to offset the exemption. If you have enough itemized deductions to exceed the standard deduction, the charitable deduction is still available.…

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The Gentle Art of Decluttering

The Gentle Art of Decluttering

I am thankful a leaky window flooded my basement earlier this summer. It forced me to go through boxes of “treasures” I’d carried with me over 20 years. I reminisced, laughed, and even cried as I pulled things piece by piece from the boxes. After a day of mostly throwing, I felt lighter somehow—like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.…

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Here, I can let my intelligence reign free!

Here, I can let my intelligence reign free!

I am thankful a leaky window flooded my basement earlier this summer. It forced me to go through boxes of “treasures” I’d carried with me over 20 years. I reminisced, laughed, and even cried as I pulled things piece by piece from the boxes. After a day of mostly throwing, I felt lighter somehow—like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.…

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Her future is not defined by her past

Her future is not defined by her past

When I first started at the Ranch, one of the girls living here really touched my heart. On the outside she was outspoken and funny. On the inside she was battling depression and anger issues that led to suicidal thoughts and feeling like she was very alone. At one point, I heard her say, “What do you expect of me? I was born into this, my Mom was an addict, her boyfriends were jerks…that’s my life.”…

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The Sweet Reward of God's Word and Watermelon

The Sweet Reward of God's Word and Watermelon

Nothing says summer like Vacation Bible School. Kids at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, Fargo, focused on Genesis 1-11 and this year’s Vacation Bible School experience. They learned about creation, the fall, the flood, and the tower of Babel—then talked about why it’s all so important.…

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Building a Family Tradition of Giving

Building a Family Tradition of Giving

Just as many of us pass down family recipes, we can pass down a tradition of philanthropy. For people in the “younger” generations of givers, giving has become a way of life. They were raised to be charitable, and are now passing those values down to their children.…

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My Dad--a Stunt Pilot with a Plan

My Dad--a Stunt Pilot with a Plan

My dad, a stunt pilot who built his own airplanes, had a motto for building aircrafts, “prior planning prevents poor results.” He didn’t die in a plane crash—so you could say he followed his own advice, at least when it came to flying. I encourage that same strategy when it comes to managing your assets—prior financial planning prevents poor results.…

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The teacher says I am pretty smart!

The teacher says I am pretty smart!

Some friends of the Ranch were visiting our Minot campus and we were giving them a tour. In the elementary school, our tour guide was one of our 6th graders, Andy*. Andy had been a resident in Cornelsen Cottage and was continuing to attend school as a day student. Andy has blonde hair, blue eyes and tends to talk quickly. It was obvious he had prepared for the tour and we were all impressed by his natural charm and solid handshake. He was virtually trembling with excitement about this important task!…

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Painting a picture

Painting a picture

When people find out I’m a Development Officer, they often think it’s my job to ask everyone I meet for money. It is so much more than that. Yes—I want to gauge our donor’s level of commitment to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, but most of the time it’s all about saying “thank you.” My job is to get to know Ranch donors, thank them, and let them know the impact of their gifts. I like to “paint a picture” of the Ranch by sharing stories about our kids.…

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God's Promises of Strength

God's Promises of Strength

Throughout the Bible, God promises to give us strength. And yet, we are afraid. We fear the storms, we fear change, we fear the unknown. And, because we fear giving up control, we don’t turn to God. He promises to be our strength, but we are too afraid to let go. If this is what we face, imagine what fear is like for the kids at the Ranch. Their fears are deeply entrenched by years of unimaginable traumas, in some cases, caused by the very people who were supposed to love and protect them.…

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Wildlife Club changes lives

Wildlife Club changes lives

Wildlife Club is good for Ranch kids on many levels. Probably it’s most important result is that it gives our kids a sense of belonging. All people have a need to belong, and belonging is something our kids usually lack—or they’ve belonged to a negative peer group.…

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It truly is a small world

Last week, I traveled across Missouri to visit friends and churches who support the children at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. They all have such love and compassion for these precious children—children they’ve never met. My first stop on Sunday morning was to Christ Memorial Lutheran Church in St. Louis. In his sermon, the pastor reminded us that every one of us is doing important work for God, no matter their title or job. I was inspired by his sermon and thought of our kids—I am so glad they have a chance to hear this message while they are at Ranch.…

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