So many folks help make Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch a place of His healing and hope, including the members of our Boards of Directors.
Our Boards are filled with some of the best people I have ever met in my life. Each brings a special gift or skill or expertise to their governance role, and in combination, they ensure we are Sustainably Excellent.
I write a simple weekly email update to the staff of the Ranch, which goes out every Monday morning. Each week, one of the Board Members is "introduced" to the staff, and then asked to share why they serve, as an unpaid, dedicated volunteer. It seems important to share this one (from Wendy Cooper) with you.
Wendy Cooper has been a real advocate for the children, long before she joined the Board of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. Wendy worked with longtime board member Maxine Beckwith, where she was the balancing presence in her own public school classroom, a place for children who weren't finding success in traditional classrooms. (She's recently returned to that role after "failing at retirement!")
When the Ranch Board was in need of a really good person with educational experience with "our" kids, Maxine introduced Wendy to the idea of Board Service. Thankfully, Wendy said "Yes." This week I asked Wendy why she chooses to share her time and talent in governance at the Ranch. Wendy's answer?
"The first meeting I attended was in Minot. The moment I drove through the gate, I felt such a presence of peace and healing. When I began to meet the staff and listen to the presentations during the meeting, I felt so strongly that the hand of God had led the perfect people to this place. Since that day, I have tried to promote the Ranch and tell the story of the Ranch kids. My role at the Ranch is small, but my joy at being even a small part is huge. I am spending this Covid-19 laden time working with at-risk kids in a public high school. The struggle for these kids and distance learning is very real. I was given the opportunity to help and could think of no better way to make a difference. I have found Ranch influence right in my classroom. One of my Freshman students spent time at the Ranch a short while ago. As a Freshman, the English class is assigned a "bag speech." They put their most meaningful items in a bag, then take them out and explain why they are important to them. My student asked me if I thought a crucifix would be alright to put in the bag. I did check and got the okay. The young Rancher said, 'My Ranch time changed my life. I pray every night. Praying makes me calm, I want people to know that.'
"I prayed the reception would be kind and knew I would be there in spirit listening as my Rancher spoke from the heart. The Ranch touches lives in so many amazing ways. Thank you for the opportunity to share just a little about my love for the Ranch."
Thank you, Wendy, for blessing Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, and so many others with your servant heart.
Thank you, Ranch friends, for your ongoing prayers and support.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
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