Sometimes, working at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch can be tough.
These kids have endured so much. They have experienced trauma and/or the ravages of mental illness – which is certainly a trauma in itself. They have developed behaviors and coping skills that are not healthy or good for them or others—behaviors and coping skills that have allowed them to survive. They often direct those difficult behaviors at our amazing staff...who then teach them how to cope in productive ways.
One of our boys, who was recently admitted, had an interesting behavioral approach. He simply wouldn’t go into the room prepared for him. Not at all. He chose to sleep on the couch, eat on the couch, read on the couch, etc. He wasn’t aggressive or combative. He just held out. That has worked for him in the past.
Sometimes, getting to work at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch in the North Dakota winter can be tough.
I’m sure you’ve heard. We get nasty weather here.
Last week, I was included in the following email from one of our Residential Treatment Specialists. Just another day in North Dakota winter at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.
“I left my home approximately an hour earlier than normal due to the talk of roads being slick. The roads were fine, but I drove very slowly to be cautious in case I started skidding off the road or into another vehicle. The only spot I had difficulty with was getting into the main parking area, where it was so icy I started hitting the curb. I couldn’t get into the main parking lot entrance, so I drove off the curb and went to the south entrance, where walking on the grass was a safer option than the icy parking lot. As I walked in the door of the cottage, I saw there was no one on the couch and all additional items were removed. I’m like, ‘What happened?!’ I hurried in and saw his door slightly open. I was so happy inside to see him in his room. It was the best day ever, despite the ice outside! I am still doing an internal happy dance as I write this.”
You see, as this boy sat on the couch, Ranchers sat with him. They got to know him. They showed him they were trustworthy. They didn’t hurt him or get caught up in a power struggle. They were present. They listened. They tried to 'do what Jesus would do.' They were patient and compassionate and funny and engaged.
And he moved into his room.
That is what makes it possible to have a great day in a North Dakota winter.
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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