By Joy Ryan, President/CEO, Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
Tom Kopp, one of the Ranch’s residential treatment directors, recently emailed me a note and photos from some time he spent with the young adults in our Ranch HOME (Hope Opportunity, Mentoring, Experience) at Northgate program.
The HOME program is open to 18-26-year-old foster care youth who have no family supports. When I came to the Ranch in 2015, a program like this was one of the first things the board of directors wanted to discuss. Their vision was to create a program that would help kids move from foster care/residential treatment to adulthood. We launched the program in July 2018 with four apartments and currently have three young men in the program.
The photos and Tom’s words do a better job of showing you the impact we are making than I could ever explain.
“Here are some pictures I took when I was in Minot at our HOME at Northgate program. I was able to hang out and have a meal that the guys helped prepare – breakfast burritos! Notice the very creative haircut by Mr. “A.” He had a buddy cut a cross into his hair, because IT’S LENT! And then the back of his head has arrows pointing forward meaning, ‘I’m moving forward with my life.’
“Hanging out with (Program Manager) Tyler and these young men was such a great way to see how amazing this program is developing. Tyler is like a big brother to the boys. They look to him for help and advice, and it was all so awesome.”
It makes me so very happy to see these young men growing into the stage of their lives… and so wonderful for them to have Tyler and Tom to help them take those steps! This program was a real passion of our Boards of Directors, and we are seeing the results of their vision!
Many of our children are spending the Easter holiday with their families. Many others are celebrating with us at the Ranch. Regardless where they are spending the day, holidays can be a difficult time for our kids. Please pray for them.
Have a blessed Easter.