In a recent issue of Ranch Voice, the feature article was about group treatment at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. There are lots of solid, evidence-based treatment reasons for doing certain types of therapeutic work in groups.
One of those reasons is that group members help hold each other accountable to the truth—here is just one example.
A group of staff and children were gathered outside my office at about 4 p.m. one day. They had a therapy group in a few minutes, but another meeting was finishing up in the room. So they “hung out,” like kids do. Some sat on the floor, one paced, one was humming out of tune. The staff were talking about coping skills and exercise to prepare them for their session.
All of a sudden one of the girls said, in that baleful tone that only teenage girls can make, “I am sooooooooooo hungry! I haven’t eaten in forever. I haven’t really eaten since I’ve been here!” (Which would be really concerning as she has been at the Ranch for 4 months!)
One of the staff responded, “You had yogurt popsicles at 3 o’clock, didn’t you?”
“Noooooooooooooo! Those are gross like all the food here, and I never eat.” (I eat many meals here and it is really good food.)
“Ummm,” piped up the littlest boy in the group, “you sat at my table for lunch yesterday and ate it all. Remember the chicken? You liked it.”
“That’s ALL I’ve eaten since I’ve been here. I am staaaaaaaaaaaaarving!”
“What about breakfast this morning? You sat with me and ate breakfast,” said one of the other teenage girls.
“That was sooooooooooooo long ago! I am staaaaaaaaaaaaaarving.”
“You had a PB&J today at lunch and a banana… and I thought I saw you with a yogurt pop…” said the young boy.
“Maybe, but I’m still hungry.”
“Dinner is at 5:30. Will you make it till then?” asked a staff.
And they went into their session.
For all they’ve survived, these kids are just kids! Please keep them and our staff in your prayers.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
Sign up today to receive ministry updates and stories about our precious kids directly to your inbox!