psychiatric residential treatment

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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Remember the Children at the Ranch

Remember the Children at the Ranch

Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving AND it was also National Family Week! Boy, those two go together perfectly don't they? Family is the basic unit of any society. The people who accept us, support us, challenge us, and love us unconditionally are the people who shape our view of the world. Whether by birth or by choice, those we call family create the context in which we live our lives.…

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Reflecting With Gratitude

Reflecting With Gratitude

At the end of last week, Ranch board meeting took place. Board members from across the United States came to provide management and oversight of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. We are also quickly approaching the Thanksgiving holiday. As I reflect on these two events, I feel great gratitude for all the people who come together to make the Ranch a ministry like no other.…

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"I Am Grateful for Life."

"I Am Grateful for Life."

I have a glass bottle in my office that was a gift from a treasured friend. Written on the brown glass is "take a moment to acknowledge something you are grateful for." I also have a little stack of paper slips. Whenever someone asks me about the bottle, I encourage them to write down something they are thankful for and push the paper through the narrow neck of the bottle to "join" the other notes of gratitude. The simple act of stopping to think about the gifts we have been given can brighten a whole day.…

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We Love Our Direct Care Staff

We Love Our Direct Care Staff

The people who work at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch are kind, giving, and hard-working. They go above and beyond for the children we serve, regardless of the behaviors our kids throw at them. This kind of work is not easy, and nationally, the turnover of direct care staff in residential facilities like the Ranch is off-the-charts. Over the past year, Ranch leaders and supervisors have focused on improving our turnover stats by providing an atmosphere for direct care staff that keeps them engaged.…

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