Blog

Kindness in a circle

Kindness in a circle

On the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch website, Chaplain Rick Jones, Vice President of Spiritual Life, says, “Hope is a very powerful thing.”   His quote is on a page dedicated to our Hope Notes program, where he goes on to explain. "You can be a source of inspiration and encouragement for those who have none. Friends from all over the country can write Hope Notes to our residents—little messages of encouragement to show our children someone cares for them and wants them to succeed.…

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FM Area Foundation Grants $3,500 to Caring Closet at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

FM Area Foundation Grants $3,500 to Caring Closet at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

The FM Area Foundation granted $3,500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to purchase items for the Caring Closet at Dakota Memorial School, Fargo.…

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They said, "Yes."

They said, "Yes."

"They said, 'No', but she did the work and they said, 'Yes.'"   Anne came to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch at the worst time of her complicated life. Her family was in chaos. A close family member had died by suicide. She, herself, was deeply depressed and suicidal. Her school had told her that at her age and with her lack of progress in school, they would not accept her back. She was in foster care, and only four months from her 18th birthday when she walked in our doors.…

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Seek to understand

Seek to understand

I once had a really good boss who was a big believer in the lessons from “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen Covey. He infused the seven habits into the workplace, some more successfully than others.…

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Do you want my coat?

Do you want my coat?

I wrote earlier about the “Foundation of Prayers” event we had in the Chapel we are constructing, because of friends like you, on our Bismarck Campus. I wanted to share another moment from that day.…

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The Hat

The Hat

Sequoia Magrum is one of the phenomenal special education teachers here at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. Whenever I was in my office at the start of the school day, I had a chance to see her doing her work.…

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Cass County Electric Cooperative Grants $2,547 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Cass County Electric Cooperative Grants $2,547 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Cass County Electric Cooperative granted $2,547 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch for Nutrition Center updates on its Fargo campus.…

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First Lutheran Church Foundation Awards $2,500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

First Lutheran Church Foundation Awards $2,500 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, Fargo, ND, received $2,500 from the First Lutheran Church Foundation in Fargo, ND. The funds will be used to support the Spiritual Life Program, including purchasing items for Spiritual Life Groups, individual Bible study, and the chapel space itself.…

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Local Philanthropy and Youth Committees Support Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Local Philanthropy and Youth Committees Support Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch received grants from local high school students at Horace High School, Kindred High School, and Oak Grove High School through the Barry Foundation’s Philanthropy and Youth (PaY) program.…

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Foundation of prayers

Foundation of prayers

When our Bismarck campus was first designed, the plan was to serve children with developmental delays who would be able to attend church in the community. As we completed the construction of the facility, it became clear that the need for a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility was crucial.…

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Questions and Hope

Questions and Hope

My day started with two emails back-to-back.   The first was about “Jenn” who arrived at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch this morning. She’s only 12 years old. Her case manager said in the email, “She is pretty quiet and reserved today but also had to wake up at 5 a.m. for the drive here so she may just be tired. She told me she loves to paint and do arts and crafts in her free time. She did say she prefers to work with female staff but is willing to try to work with male staff. Make sure to say hello and introduce yourself!”…

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Crushing it

Crushing it

We have a lovely 12-year-old girl in our care at the Ranch. She is kind and thoughtful and the first to step up and help. She is smart. She has eyes as dark as coal and beautiful, long reddish-brown hair. She has a loud laugh that you don't expect to come out of such a petite person.…

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Conferences and a Candy Drawer

Conferences and a Candy Drawer

Children at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch live in a wide array of home situations. So, when we have "Parent Teacher Conferences" at our on-site Dakota Memorial Schools, we mean that we meet with the people who are in the parent role for the child—adoptive parents, biological parents, foster parents, guardians, grandparents, or other kin.…

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75% Fear

75% Fear

The OnBoarding Coordinator on our Fargo Campus has been with us for a year and a half but comes to us with deep experience working with traumatized youth. She is buoyant and energetic and a super trainer. She is just the person we want teaching new Ranchers how to connect with and help the children at the Ranch heal. She believes in the potential of every child... and she shows it.…

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Condemnation

Condemnation

It is hard to read some of the words used to describe the children who come to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. These children are brave trauma survivors who have done the best they could in their situations. Abused, neglected, troubled, abandoned, and at-risk are the nice words used, and even those are difficult to hear.…

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He is happy

He is happy

An exceptional component of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is Dakota Memorial School. Dakota Memorial is a fully accredited school district located on the three campuses of the Ranch. The schools are very special, operating on a platform of trauma-informed, trauma-sensitive learning. Teachers are uniquely trained, as are support staff, para-professionals, and all involved, to work with the children who come to us for care.…

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Say what?

Say what?

Evan is a boisterous 14-year-old who came to the Ranch in early 2023. He is always the first to talk, whether he’s met you before or not. There is never silence when you are around him… he fills it with humming or a steady flow of commentary. His dark curls bounce, and his sparkling eyes move as he walks. He has a “strut” that makes him look much bigger than he is. He fills space by being who he is.…

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An "extra" day

An "extra" day

I can tell you with great confidence that no child wants to come to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.   Sure, some children find relief in coming to the Ranch. They are away from the stressors and traumas that they have lived. They are not hungry, have their own beds, and are surrounded by people who care and are trained to help them heal.…

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Eighteen Times Great

Eighteen Times Great

“Great” is not a word I often read in Clinical Case Review notes at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.   The kids who come to the Ranch have multiple traumas, behavior, and psychiatric issues, and much to do to heal. More commonly, in Case Review notes, I read “Much Improved,” “Working,” or “Identifying Strengths.” We work very hard to help children heal, develop skills, learn to succeed, and build trusting relationships.…

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Revisiting a Legacy

Revisiting a Legacy

Last summer, Rev. Victor Tegtmeier, along with his son and daughter, drove onto the Minot campus of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. Rev. Tegtmeier's wife had recently passed away, and he was taking their two children on a cross-country tour of the places they had lived and served.…

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Hope, Faith, and Love

Hope, Faith, and Love

According to Dr. Meryl Willert, Ranch children fall into one of three categories when it comes to religion and spirituality. How we work with them depends on where they are in that spiritual journey.…

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A Life Transformed

A Life Transformed

Jerome Schneider is a handsome young farmer full of energy and light. He is passionate about farming and ranching and while he doesn't claim to have everything figured out, he is proud of the man he has become. Jerome's life began on a fourth-generation farm in western North Dakota. When his parents separated and divorced shortly after his birth, Jerome was caught in the middle.…

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After Easter

After Easter

Through your help and God’s love, we also see new lives and new beginnings at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. I think of them as “mini-Easters.” Children have an opportunity to heal from the traumas of their past. They can begin to plot a new future. They can move from surviving to thriving. They can find and become their best selves.…

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Jesus' touch

Jesus' touch

It is very common for a child at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to ask staff to brush, braid, or “fix” their hair. Sometimes, a child who can never sit still will quietly pass 30 minutes or more while having their hair brushed.   When a child is at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, we follow strict boundaries about appropriate touch. A staff person may side-hug a child, high-five, tuck them in, address minor “owies,” put a comforting hand on a shoulder or hand, brush their hair. This is a place of care and healing. It is also a professional environment for treatment.…

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Fit for Life

Fit for Life

The science backs up what we see every day at the Ranch, that wellness and physical activity are essential to mental health and healing. "We know that physical activity is healthy and that lack of physical activity is a risk factor for depression and anxiety," said Dr. Wayne Martinsen, Psychiatrist and Medical Director at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.…

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