Residential Treatment Center

The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Michigan District Grants $7,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Michigan District Grants $7,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch will receive $7,000 from the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML), Michigan District to purchase furniture for Seegers Cottage on the Minot, ND campus, which serves boys ages 14-18.…

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After the "Honeymoon"

After the "Honeymoon"

When you meet Emily today, the first things you'll notice are her wonderful smile and contagious laugh. A very different young woman than the one who walked into Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch—who at that time didn't crack a smile, speak, or look up from the ground.…

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Avoiding Hurt By Not Accepting Love: Aliyah's Journey to Acceptance

Avoiding Hurt By Not Accepting Love: Aliyah's Journey to Acceptance

Aliyah Beyer didn't need help. Yes, severe anxiety and depression made her life hard. So hard she couldn't get out of bed some days. But still—she could handle it on her own. She was used to taking care of things herself. And she was used to being alone, despite growing up in an adoptive family with ten children. For as long as she can remember, Aliyah has wanted nothing more than to fit in and belong.…

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Real-World Skills at Work: Preparing Young Adults for Adulthood

Real-World Skills at Work: Preparing Young Adults for Adulthood

Vocational Education began at the Minot campus many years ago with livestock, a corn crop, and honeybees. It has changed over the years to become Career and Technical Education, and now students learn and practice technicals skills like small engine repair, welding, carpentry, plumbing, facilities maintenance, and more.…

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The Ups and Downs of Recovery

The Ups and Downs of Recovery

Laura doesn't have a perfect life. She talks to her dad only occasionally and isn't allowed contact with her mother because of her drug use. But she knows she is in a better place and attributes much of her success to the Ranch. "Without the Ranch, I'd probably be in Juvie, running away, drinking, drugs. I'd have probably gotten into hard drugs and who knows where I'd be right now."…

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Finally Family: One Young Man's Journey to Find Love and Acceptance

Finally Family: One Young Man's Journey to Find Love and Acceptance

Mannie was just an infant when his parents dropped him off at a family friend's and didn't come back. Mannie, now age 16 and wise beyond his years, says matter-of-factly, "They weren't ready, or didn't have the proper parenting to take care of me." No anger. No resentment. Just calm acceptance of his reality. But it hasn't always been that way.…

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Creating Space for Learning

Creating Space for Learning

School is so much more than a place to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic. In school, children learn how to work in teams, how to build relationships with their peers and adults, and how to manage their emotions and feelings when in a bustling and energy-filled environment. If kids in treatment can learn to operate within those environments, rather than isolated from them, they have a better chance of success when they leave treatment. School gives them a place to practice the new skills they are learning in a "normal" environment.…

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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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"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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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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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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Living Generously: Ranch donor shares her motivation for giving through Thrivent Choice

Living Generously: Ranch donor shares her motivation for giving through Thrivent Choice

Thrivent, a nonprofit financial services organization for Christians, has a longstanding commitment to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. For years, the Ranch has been an enrolled charity in Thrivent Choice®, a program that allows eligible members to recommend where Thrivent should donate portions of its charitable outreach funds each year.…

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Brighten Christmas Morning for a Child at the Ranch

Brighten Christmas Morning for a Child at the Ranch

You have the opportunity to bless a child at the Ranch this Christmas with a note of hope, love, and joy. It might not seem like much, but your note of encouragement will brighten Christmas morning and let a Ranch child know how much you care.…

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Came for the Honey, Stayed for the Kids

Came for the Honey, Stayed for the Kids

Karen Leeseberg has been supporting Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, either herself or through her parents, since she was born. Her father was a pastor, so the family contributed to a lot of Lutheran organizations. In Karen's mind, Ranch honey is tied to fond memories of her childhood.…

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Creating a Legacy of Learning

Creating a Legacy of Learning

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch staff are dedicated to providing the best care and opportunities for kids at risk, and it doesn't stop at the Ranch's residential treatment centers. This past year, Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Thrift Stores partnered with two different organizations, Bismarck Legacy High School, and CREATE (Career Readiness Education and Training Experience) to help teens and young adults learn important job skills. Participants in both programs worked directly with thrift store staff, learning skills they can apply in their everyday lives.…

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Earth-Friendly Thrifting: Drop, Shop, Save, and Recycle!

Earth-Friendly Thrifting: Drop, Shop, Save, and Recycle!

Ranch Thrift Stores were launched in the 1980s to create sustainability and stability for Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. The Thrift Stores give folks another way to support the Ranch and help provide the therapy and other services our kids need to heal. Day after day, week after week, month after month, a steady stream of random and mixed items arrive at the doors of the nine Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Thrift Stores. Toasters, clothes, hats, mittens, ties, wall hangings, knickknacks, pottery, glassware, yarn, home goods, and more are stuffed into grocery bags, garbage bags, boxes, totes, and laundry baskets, and dropped off at one of nine Ranch Thrift Stores (eight in North Dakota, one in Minnesota).…

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GROWing Plants, Giving Grants, and Building Confidence

GROWing Plants, Giving Grants, and Building Confidence

The GROW (God Rewards Our Work) Garden Sale began this year and is already proving to be a success. A spinoff of the event previously known as BLT Day, GROW was organized and implemented by Ranch kids. The idea was to hold a one-day garden sale in the Minot Thrift Store parking lot—selling plants and items grown or created by the kids.…

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From Chaos to Calm: Horse Inspired Healing

From Chaos to Calm: Horse Inspired Healing

Horses are highly sensitive and have a unique ability to read human emotions. Sometimes they provide comfort to a child who is anxious or depressed. Other times they mirror the child's emotions by backing away or becoming skittish if the child is feeling anxious or angry. This cues the child to identify their emotions, and to discover what they might be doing to make the horse feel unsafe.…

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Dueling Dragons and Discovered Truths

Dueling Dragons and Discovered Truths

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, Dakota Memorial School students picked up their pens and began writing stories of magnificent creations. Students wrote about dragons, sword fights, puppies, and big cities. They also wrote about their experiences surviving years of trauma, neglect, and abuse.…

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A Musical Journey of Healing

A Musical Journey of Healing

Kids at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch are making music—they are learning how to play the ukulele! The ukuleles at the Fargo campus are being lent to use by Grace Lutheran School, and the Minot ukuleles were donated by a couple that goes above and beyond for our kids. With their generosity and a special discount from the ukulele company, Deaconess Kelly Jacob's dream of teaching the kids to play the ukulele became possible.…

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Honing in on Healthy Habits: Ranch Nurse Provides Wellness and Self-Care for Ranch Kids

Honing in on Healthy Habits: Ranch Nurse Provides Wellness and Self-Care for Ranch Kids

Because of how and where they were raised, many kids come to the Ranch without basic health, self-care, and hygiene skills. Some haven't had a toothbrush. Others weren't told, or didn't have the opportunity, to shower or experience a sit-down meal. And or others, seemingly simple daily living skills triggered the trauma they experienced. Children also arrive at the Ranch with little to no histories of going to the doctor, dentist, or eye doctor.…

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Kiwanis Club of Fargo Funds Purchase of Mattresses for Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Kiwanis Club of Fargo Funds Purchase of Mattresses for Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Kiwanis Club of Fargo granted $4,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to underwrite the purchase of mattresses, waterproof mattress pads, and bedding for the Al and Johnne Bierdeman Center for Hope and Healing.…

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