Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch has been helping children and families succeed in the name of Christ since 1952.
Literally, thousands of really good people have spent all or part of their careers at the Ranch. Whether as teachers or treatment specialists, maintenance people or nurses, Chaplains or accountants, all have witnessed the immense work it takes for the precious children in our care to overcome trauma. It also takes a lot of knowledge about mental health and brain development and the impact of trauma.
Other than therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, few other professionals spend much academic time on those topics. Yet, we all know that mental and behavioral health is of growing importance in this country. The need for professionals who understand and choose to do the work continues to grow.
To aid in this effort, the Ranch provides a number of opportunities that give budding professionals a chance to build knowledge in the rewarding and difficult worlds of children’s mental health, trauma-informed education, and psychiatric medical care. Medical students, psychology residents, student teachers, social work interns, and others join us for part of their educational journey.
One such group is nurses. The Ranch partners with nursing educational programs to provide both mental health rotation options and internships. Recently, a group of nurses completed their time on our Bismarck campus.
After completing their time with us, they were asked to complete a report/questionnaire. One of the questions asks the students to identify the skills they learned at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch that will help them better advocate for children with mental health issues. Their answers were insightful. “The skills I learned will help me...”
- “Provide adequate structure and growth for children who suffer from mental health issues.”
- “Use positive reinforcement as a way for children to focus on appropriate behavior.”
- “Reinforce rules to help with boundaries.”
- “Serve as a positive role model for children with mental and developmental issues.”
You can tell by these comments the students came to us ready to learn and grow. But one comment made my heart sing.
- “Remember that these children are still children and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”
That is the student I hope pursues a career at the Ranch!
Please keep our children and all our staff in your prayers.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
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