Say what?

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. 
Evan had a tough upbringing, with very little support in his life. He fended for himself and now coats himself in an air of toughness and independence. He has run away and lived on his own, had some gang involvement, and experimented with drugs and alcohol. His first response to fear is to fight. 

On his first day at the Ranch, Evan met with one of our Ranch nurses for his physical health intake. She asked him if he had any pain or discomfort. After thinking for a minute, he pointed to his front teeth and said, “Yeah, this tooth hurts all the time and it is awful when I try to eat, and sometimes I can’t sleep.”
The nurse asked Evan to smile. To her dismay, she could see a huge visible cavity on the side of his tooth. The decay was horrendous, and the rot was obviously the source of Evan's pain.
“When was the last time you went to a dentist?” she asked.

“Say what?”
“When was the last time a dentist looked at your teeth?” she tried again.
“I have never seen a dentist. Isn’t that just for old people… when their teeth fall out?”
Not only had Evan not seen a dentist, he had never been taught oral hygiene. Our nurse went to work right away. Because of the extreme neglect, she had to find a specialist an hour and a half away. It took a total of nine appointments over multiple months. He had nine cavities and several abscesses and required one extraction for a tooth that could not be saved.

When Evan discharged in December, he was stronger, able to balance his impulses through coping skills, and had done credit recovery work in school. He also had a beautiful smile that reached from ear to ear.
And he flashed that smile as he went forward into a new future.
Please keep our kids and staff in your prayers.

In His love,

Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

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