Psychiatric Residential Treatment

Showing Up for Kids at the Ranch

Showing Up for Kids at the Ranch

It is almost impossible to overstate the caliber of people I have the honor of working alongside. The level of compassion and decency they bring, meeting each child in the midst of their pain, is inspiring. One of those remarkable people is Gladys Skinner, who is a Residential Supervisor in Challenge Cottage, a Residential Child Caring Facility for girls 12-18 years old. Gladys has been at the Ranch for over four years and she simply exudes, "I got this," in her daily work.…

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Compassion and Mercy

Compassion and Mercy

Recently, the reading in church was from Luke’s gospel where Jesus shared the parable of the Good Samaritan. When I reflect on this lesson, I think about how I can be a better neighbor to those around me. I think about times I could have let someone go ahead of me in line, stopped to listen, offered encouragement to someone, or engaged in conversation with the grocery store clerk or the person bagging my purchases. This time, I stopped to think about the definition of the neighbor referenced as "the one" in the phrase, “The one who had mercy on him."…

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"Perfect" by Dr. Monte Selby; A Song About Ranch Kids

"Perfect" by Dr. Monte Selby; A Song About Ranch Kids

One of the most important things children discover in their time at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is their "voice." Most of our trauma-affected kids have been told what they are, what they think, why they are failures, and why they will always be failures. Through hard work, determination, and a commitment to their treatment and education, they begin to discover their strengths. They begin to tell their own true stories, in their own voice.…

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Belief in the Power of HOPE

Belief in the Power of HOPE

When it comes to overcoming challenges, Helen Keller (1880-1968) set the bar quite high. She was a lifelong learner, teacher, inspiration. She danced, laughed, wrote, and loved. She was deaf, blind, and had great difficulty speaking. And, she changed the world and the way we view the potential of those with special needs. Her teacher and best friend, Anne Sullivan, who was herself blind and parentless, instilled a sense of hope in the young Helen. Anne had a persistent hope that guided Helen into her future.…

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The Many Faces of Ranch Kids and Staff

The Many Faces of Ranch Kids and Staff

All of us at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch are humbled and grateful each day. First, by the opportunity to serve the Lord by serving others. Second, that the “others” we serve are precious children on a journey of hope and healing to become their best selves. Third, that so many people, like you, support our work. The attitude of gratitude we carry into each day is more than a clever rhyme, it is a worldview based on the honor we feel. We try to find every way possible to share our thankfulness with everyone.…

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Open Hearts and Compassionate Spirits

Open Hearts and Compassionate Spirits

If you have had kids, or been around kids, you know that trips to urgent care or the emergency room are part of “the deal.” With my own children, we had the requisite ear infections, occasional stitches from a variety of boo-boos, and a very exciting dislocated thumb that happened on the school playground. As they got older, we moved onto sports injuries. Ranch kids are kids. They have these experiences, too. And sometimes, an acute psychiatric issue may lead to a hospital visit.…

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A Work in Progress

A Work in Progress

A few weeks ago I was going through our cafeteria line for lunch on campus when there was a commotion at the other end of the dining center. Something had agitated one of our children, a young boy, and he threw his lunch tray on the floor. It hit with such force that the unbreakable plastic dish shattered and, of course, milk flew everywhere. Staff quickly helped the young man leave the environment and helped him use some of his coping and calming skills. In a few minutes, he was able to re-set his emotions and finish lunch.…

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Where the Coolest Kids in the World Hang Out

Where the Coolest Kids in the World Hang Out

It's summer and kids are out of school! At the Ranch, just like anywhere else, kids relish the beginning of summer break! Of course, Ranch kids take part in summer programming and many scheduled activities, but still, summer is summer. One of the first indications the kids are out of school is all the chalk art on the Ranch sidewalks! It makes me smile to walk to my office through all the flowers and rainbows and hopscotch and "welcomes"...and all kids of Ranch child wisdom. Some of the words are happy, some profound, some grieving...…

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Live Long and Prosper

Live Long and Prosper

I truly love the Ranch kids. They surprise me every day with their courage, resilience, desire to be their best selves. This morning as I walked through the dining room at breakfast time, several of the girls stopped me to teach them how to do the Star Trek “live long and prosper” sign with my hands. Much giggling and goofing later, we settled for them making the peace sign. For many of the children, their journey also includes their first real consideration of God and His role in their healing. Tara, whose story follows, was a child who opened her heart to the work of treatment and the word of the Lord. These children are remarkable.…

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Finding Your Way Without a Map or Compass

Finding Your Way Without a Map or Compass

If you took away my map and my compass, I wouldn’t be able to find my way out of a paper bag, let alone navigate the places we hunt; so I was enthralled by the stories in the book. The author’s premise is that simply looking at the details others miss enables a person to successfully navigate even the most desolate terrain. No doubt it was pretty amazing, even awe-inspiring stuff. But, I still believe if you threw ME into the middle of the wilderness to find my way without a map or a compass, you would be asking the impossible!…

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The Many Roles of a Ranch Nurse

The Many Roles of a Ranch Nurse

Nursing care at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is unlike any other nursing job. I am often asked, “What do the nurses do at the Ranch?” and I am never quite sure how to answer. One day, nursing staff can be found scheduling appointments and managing medications. The next day, we might be out playing a softball game with the kids. No two days are ever the same!…

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Feeling Healthy Again

Feeling Healthy Again

When I don't feel well, I am more emotional, less sensitive to others, and less able to focus on my tasks. This last week has been one of those "not feeling well" weeks. As I pushed through the days, I started thinking about our Ranch kids and the days they push through.…

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First Aid for the Brain

First Aid for the Brain

First Aid is no longer just for cuts and bruises that can be seen on the outside of the body. Researchers are now recognizing the importance of Mental Health First Aid. Thanks to a grant from the North Dakota Community Foundation, the Ranch can use the Mental Health First Aid curriculum to train all of its employees.…

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Understanding Our Kids

Understanding Our Kids

Have you ever heard the old saying, “When you look good, you feel good?” In many cases, the inverted version of that sentence is also true, “When you feel good, you look good.” Sometimes, the kids at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch don’t feel good OR look good. The reasons vary by child, but commonly fall into a few different categories.…

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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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Minnesota Power Foundation Awards $3,500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, Minot

Minnesota Power Foundation Awards $3,500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, Minot

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch received a $3,500 grant from Minnesota Power Foundation. The Ranch will use the funds towards the renovation of a bathroom in one of the five children’s cottages on the Minot campus.…

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Farm Credit Services Awards $5,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, Minot

Farm Credit Services of North Dakota is proud to announce it has awarded the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Foundation $5,000 as a recipient of the Pat-NOW Community Fund (PNCF). The grant funds will help fund the Ranch’s Minot campus greenhouse project.…

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God’s Promises for Turbulent Times

God’s Promises for Turbulent Times

Have you ever flown through a turbulent storm, surrounded by dark clouds and lightning? It can be alarming to realize you’re completely at the mercy of the pilot and elements. But that’s exactly why pilots are trained to use instrumentation. If a pilot flew by instinct or simply what “felt right,” the situation could quickly go from bad to worse.…

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Ranch Receives Grant from Sanford Health

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch received a $5,000 grant from Sanford Health to fund the Health and Wellness programs at Dakota Memorial School (DMS), the on-campus school of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.…

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A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

Galatians 4:4-74 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you…

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What is Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is a 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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