Services for Kids

Nurse wisdom

Nurse wisdom

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch has been helping children and families succeed in the name of Christ since 1952.   Literally, thousands of really good people have spent all or part of their careers at the Ranch. Whether as teachers or treatment specialists, maintenance people or nurses, Chaplains or accountants, all have witnessed the immense work it takes for the precious children in our care to overcome trauma. It also takes a lot of knowledge about mental health and brain development and the impact of trauma.…

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Go touch grass

Go touch grass

Erinn Dosch is a great communicator. She writes grants and manages website and social media activity at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. She is a voracious reader, funny and smart, and a “word collector.” You know, she loves a turn of phrase or clever pun. She’s a really good Rancher.…

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Creature Comforts

Creature Comforts

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. —2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV…

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Get over it!

Get over it!

“Get over it!”   We hear that a lot. We say it a lot. I say it to myself when someone cuts me off in traffic, or my arms are too short for me to read the instructions I’m holding. Sometimes, we just need to move on.…

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Bring on the crowds

Bring on the crowds

I’ve told you before, working at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is hard work. Good work, but hard. It is hard to hear the kids’ stories of trauma, abuse, and mental illness. It is hard to be distrusted by these hurting kids and hard to earn their trust.   That’s why it is so important that our folks always support each other, cheer each other on, and share successes.…

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Respect

Respect

Most of the children who come to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch have not been treated with respect.   Most are trauma survivors. The very definition of a trauma survivor is someone who has suffered because of an absence of power. Perhaps it was an abuser, or poverty, or drug addiction, or death, but something in their lives exercised extreme power over them. That disparity led to them being abused, neglected, injured, and suffering. They are deeply hurt.…

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Learning Styles

Learning Styles

Finding every single way to help children understand themselves, heal from their experiences, and become their best selves all depends on communicating in a way they can grasp. Since every child starts in a different place, professionals at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch use many different tools and approaches.…

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God Wink

God Wink

Karen, a woman I work with, uses a term I love—“God wink.” I don’t know for sure how she would define it, but when she says it, I imagine God with a smile, nodding just a little and tipping a hat. A gesture of “I see you. Well done.”…

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Reading upside down

Reading upside down

On August 3rd, I celebrated my eighth Ranchiversary! I came to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch in 2015 after spending over 22 years at another human service organization. Before that I worked in the corporate world and I’ve also done some university teaching in communications and business.…

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"Just a side gig"

"Just a side gig"

I am frequently amazed by the people who choose to work at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. They are a compassionate, courageous bunch.   One such person is Jan. Jan came to the Ranch looking for a very part-time experience to augment her corporate banking job. She had plenty of work in her “real” job but was looking to find a way to impact kids and families in a more hands-on way. We are very grateful she found us.…

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Fingerprints on a cross

Fingerprints on a cross

I have a new cross in my office.   It is made of bigger than normal popsicle sticks… I think they are called “craft sticks.” The vertical stick has seven pink fingerprints in a row, covering the length of the stick. The horizontal stick is painted a bright pink with random geometric shapes. It’s a little off-center, but not too bad. Overall, you get the definite impression it was made by a child. On the back, printed in felt tip marker, it says, “I CAN, through Him.”…

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Lapels go on the outside!

Lapels go on the outside!

At the end of the school year, I was on our Bismarck campus for board meetings. In between meetings, I was walking through the school when I heard my name from one of the classrooms. I stuck my head in the door, the teacher nodded, and a trim boy in a suit and tie came into the hall and gave me a hug.…

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"No-Limits People"

"No-Limits People"

I had dinner a while back with some people like you.   Well, I guess I don’t know if they are really like you, but you do have some things in common. You care about the kids at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. You choose to believe these hurting kids have value, can heal, and are all God’s children.…

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Watching from inside

Watching from inside

My 94-year-old mother-in-law hasn’t led an easy life. She had nine children before she was 30 years old. She and my father-in-law built a small dairy farm on a piece of land that no one else really wanted. She worked “off the farm” for many years to bring in some much-needed income and to ensure the family had health insurance.…

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POTS on top of everything else

POTS on top of everything else

I was reading information on a child that was coming into care at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. One of the notes was to notify nursing, and all staff, that this child had POTS. I didn’t know what POTS was. So, I looked it up.…

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We All Have a Story

We All Have a Story

Everyone has a story. That is the mantra that we repeat at the Ranch. Every child, parent, staff person comes with their own history. What came before does not define their future, but it certainly does inform their future. The trauma-informed care at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is summarized as, "We don't ask what is wrong with a child, we ask what happened to the child."…

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Learning, Healing, and Having Fun

Learning, Healing, and Having Fun

Summer programming gives our kids a unique and positive summer experience. They experience activities they may not have been exposed to before—like gardening, fishing, hiking, art, music, and more. They learn new things in classes like Discover Dakota, Sports History, and Pop Culture. School has rarely been consistent for Ranch kids so it's important to challenge them to learn. Learning without the stress of tests and grades helps kids see that learning can be fun and that they can succeed.…

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Through Thick and Thin

Through Thick and Thin

Cain came to the Ranch in 2016 after spending some time in a Minot psychiatric hospital. When he completed treatment and was able to go home, his parents enrolled him in the Day Program so he could continue his education at Dakota Memorial School. For an entire school year, Cain's parents, Dawn and Kevin, drove him 70 miles (one way) to school, because at DMS he experienced the only success he'd ever had in school.…

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Love and Five Friends

Love and Five Friends

Dakota Memorial School teachers and staff have specialized training in teaching children who have experienced significant trauma. I am always amazed at the ability of these wonderful people to teach very rigorous curriculums, the same requirements as any accredited school district, to students who have been largely labeled as “unteachable.”…

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Under-recognized like Silas

Under-recognized like Silas

One of the things I love about working at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is the daily devotions shared by Chaplain Rick Jones. Chaplain Rick works with our kids and our staff and knows so well the challenges and weight carried by each. His devotions beautifully connect the work of the Ranch to Scripture.…

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Bart is quite a guy.

Bart is quite a guy.

Sometimes people don’t believe me when I explain that everyone at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is part of the children’s healing. It is obvious that the doctors and therapists and nurses and residential treatment specialists and teachers and everyone who works directly with the kids make an impact. But, it goes so much deeper than that.…

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Accented Healing

Accented Healing

When a child leaves the Ranch, it has become a tradition for the Case Manager to write a short paragraph about the child’s healing to share with all staff. It is great to have everyone celebrate these kids, and sharing these successes can be very helpful in making it through a tough day – this isn’t easy work.…

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When kicking is progress

When kicking is progress

Yesterday I was walking through one of our school buildings. Coming toward me was one of our middle school children. He is about as cute a kid as you can imagine. Lots of curly hair. Bright smile. Loves his stocking caps.…

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From the child's perspective

From the child's perspective

When children come into our care we get lots of medical and school and other official information about them. Knowing their history helps us know how to approach and treat each child.…

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Surrounded by kind people

Surrounded by kind people

He faced his emotions and learned that he is surrounded by kind people… like Tammy and Jordan and Marcia and Shayla and his mom and all those who showed love and compassion when he most needed it.…

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