It is almost impossible to overstate the caliber of people I have the honor of working alongside. The level of compassion and decency they bring, meeting each child in the midst of their pain, is inspiring. One of those remarkable people is Gladys Skinner, who is a Residential Supervisor in Challenge Cottage, a Residential Child Caring Facility for girls 12-18 years old. Gladys has been at the Ranch for over four years and she simply exudes, "I got this," in her daily work.
I asked her, "How do you, in your work, help kids and families succeed in the name of Christ?" Her answer is powerful and speaks to the healing power of presence.
"After traveling the world with my husband and our kids, we ended up choosing to retire in Minot, North Dakota. I began working at the Ranch in March of 2015, and after starting I realized one thing: that working here was going to be a unique opportunity. I truly enjoy coming to work and being engaged with our kids here at the Ranch.
"I've told many new staff that most of the days I come to work it doesn't feel like work. It feels like I'm just hanging out and I love every second of it. Especially working here in Challenge Cottage, because you get to work with kids and help them grow, all while teaching them new skills.
"I offer the residents a shoulder to cry on when needed, and a sense of calm when they may feel engulfed in chaos. I try my best to help them stay positive when they are having trouble doing it themselves. I achieve this by meeting my first goal with each resident, which is to make them feel safe and secure. Providing a sense of security opens doors to build trust with both residents and families. So, to answer the question, 'How do I, in my job, help children and families succeed?' My answer is simple. I show up for them each day and give it my all wholeheartedly, in hopes of making a difference in a child's life."
Gladys is one stellar example of the 550+ quiet heroes who come together to create the special place that is Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch