We received this letter from Rhianne, a young woman who lived at the Ranch.
My thanks to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch,
Growing up, I never really had anybody to talk to when I was upset, and I couldn’t really show I was upset either.
My family believed it was a sign of weakness to cry. I coped with my feelings the same way my Mom did, drugs. I thought it was normal. I started getting into fights all the time too. When I was 11, my Mom gave me up to the state. I was in and out of foster homes until I was 13.
One month after I turned 13, I was sent to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch in Minot. I didn’t believe in God and I didn’t believe that anyone really even wanted me, but that changed. I had really bad anger issues and if I didn’t get my way I would scream, swear, hit, kick and bite anyone in my path. After about seven months, I left Minot and went to the Bismarck [Ranch], but I was the same way there.
After a while I was sent to YCC [Youth Correctional Center] for about a year-and-a-half. I was suicidal and I hated everyone.
I finally came to Fargo. At first, I was pretty much the same way I was everywhere else, but then I kinda realized that the staff are not here to get me mad or to ruin my life. They are here to help.
I started to open up to staff about everything and I finally felt safe and wanted. I met Jay [Jay Schaefer, spiritual life specialist] and he helped me to open my eyes and my heart up to God.
I finally feel like I belong somewhere. My life is still hard and my future is still very uncertain. I’ve only got two years until I’m 18, but I know that I’ve got a lot of people who love me, and care, but most of all, I know I have a Savior to look to for guidance and assurance. I now have hope.
So I thank all of the staff members and people who made it possible. Thank you for showing me the way to my Savior and hope.
We take great care to guard the privacy of our children. Real names and photos are only used with the permission of the children themselves and the written permission of their guardians.