Psychiatric Residential Treatment

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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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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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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Taking the Initiative

Taking the Initiative

The education our kids receive at Dakota Memorial School is an integral part of the services we offer, both to our kids in the residential program, as well as to our Day Students from the surrounding communities. The teachers who come to work each day to provide an education for our students are some of the most special people. We wanted to give them a space to share stories of their experiences in the classroom, so we are excited to present to you: Teacher's Corner.…

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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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On to the Next Chapter

On to the Next Chapter

Last year, shortly before one of our young women completed her treatment and moved on, she told me a little about her life—a life full of abuse and multiple placements, both foster homes and treatment facilities. She said her time at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch was different because here she learned about Christ and began to have hope. She said she liked math and thought someday she could be a teacher, or perhaps some other work that allowed her to help kids.…

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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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Para Point Of View: Making Connections Through Art

Para Point Of View: Making Connections Through Art

The education our kids receive at Dakota Memorial School is an integral part of the services we offer, both to our kids in the residential program, as well as to our Day Students from the surrounding communities. The paraprofessionals (paras) in our schools are a critical component to the provision of exceptional special education services and support. They are an important aspect of the Trauma Learning Culture at Dakota Memorial School (DMS), as they model a positive and encouraging attitude. At DMS, paras help students learn academic and social skills, encourage positive behavior, and provide one-on-one instructional assistance to students under the supervision of a qualified teacher.…

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Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Adds Therapist to Fargo

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Adds Therapist to Fargo

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is a Christian residential treatment and educational center for children and their families. We help the most troubled, complicated, and amazing kids by providing best-in-class psychiatric therapy and trauma-informed care, where we look kids in the eye, walk with them, and help them become their best selves.…

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Creativity in the Classroom

Creativity in the Classroom

The education our kids receive at Dakota Memorial School is an integral part of the services we offer, both to our kids in the residential program, as well as to our Day Students from the surrounding communities. The teachers who come to work each day to provide an education for our students are some of the most special people. We wanted to give them a space to share stories of their experiences in the classroom, so we are excited to present to you: Teacher's Corner.…

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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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It Takes Time

It Takes Time

Some things take a while to get used to. For example, writing the correct date this year is more difficult for me because it begins with a 2 and not a 1. My hand is conditioned to make that downward stroke. I wonder how long it will be before I finally write 2020 without hesitation.…

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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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Para Point Of View

Para Point Of View

The education our kids receive at Dakota Memorial School is an integral part of the services we offer, both to our kids in the residential program, as well as to our Day Students from the surrounding communities. The paraprofessionals (paras) in our schools are a critical component to the provision of exceptional special education services and support. They are an important aspect of the Trauma Learning Culture at Dakota Memorial School (DMS), as they model a positive and encouraging attitude. At DMS, paras help students learn academic and social skills, encourage positive behavior, and provide one-on-one instructional assistance to students under the supervision of a qualified teacher.…

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A Prayer of Gratitude

A Prayer of Gratitude

I've mentioned it before that every day, 365 days a year, the Chaplain at the Ranch, Rev. Rick Jones, sends a devotion and prayer by email to all Ranch staff. It is always the first thing in my mailbox every morning. The devotionals are always insightful and the prayers often make me catch my breath.…

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More Capable than He'd Been Led to Believe

More Capable than He'd Been Led to Believe

The education our kids receive at Dakota Memorial School is an integral part of the services we offer, both to our kids in the residential program, as well as to our Day Students from the surrounding communities. The teachers who come to work each day to provide an education for our students are some of the most special people. We wanted to give them a space to share stories of their experiences in the classroom, so we are excited to present to you: Teacher's Corner.…

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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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A Christmas Gift for the First Time

A Christmas Gift for the First Time

I have always loved Christmas and all that goes along with it. The church services, the music, the decorations, the time together with family and friends, and of course, all the food and goodies. Everyone has different holiday traditions that bring them joy. What do you think of when you recall Christmas as a child and how as an adult? Did you pass on the traditions that you grew up with? Did you make some of your own?…

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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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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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Billy Graham's Wisdom for Those that are Hurting

Billy Graham's Wisdom for Those that are Hurting

People are hurting all around us—and during the holidays, the burden of being away from family can weigh people down even more. In 2014, Billy Graham responded to a hurting woman with the following words. I share it with you with a request that you pray for the children who spend the holidays at the Ranch, instead of with their families. If you are hurting, may Graham's words bring you comfort.…

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