Dear Friends,

One thing that has remained startlingly consistent throughout my life and work at The Ranches is the supreme dislike harbored by young people – young people who have been deemed “at-risk” – towards their own needs. They see their own needs as glaring reminders of their own weakness and lack of control in their lives. Needs just become signs of their own weakness. Unfortunately, kids tend to take out their frustrations on those who attempt to care about them and meet their needs. And can you blame them? Most come from an environment where their needs often went unmet and their childhood is seen, by them and by us, as anything but normal.

And this presents the first challenge for us in the life of a child. Since the kids hate the needs that represent signs of weakness to them, the first thing that we must do is meet a need that they don’t always recognize as a need; someone to listen to them and help them process all that has happened in their young lives.

Once we establish that we can be trusted with the overwhelming details of their past, we can start to establish a foundation for meeting their need for consistency and predictability. Routines and a schedule help to meet those needs and a “how was your day?” can be one routine that is both surprising and comforting to kids when they come to The Ranches.

Once we have a predictable and consistent routine established, we can move towards helping kids to prepare for the rest of their lives. While little things like a driver’s license and a resume are helpful, we have found that a positive work ethic is the single most helpful offering we can help a child to attain. Despite their discomfort with allowing someone to meet their needs, we have found that we can just meet them despite their hesitation. When we do, we tend to see hope return to their thought process and we can even start to see it in their eyes.

This Christmas, you can help us in helping to meet the needs of the kids at The Ranches. While your gift will go towards helping meet the needs of the kids, the impact will be lifelong and priceless. Your gift will go from meeting a need to rekindling hope in kids who’ve lost theirs along the way.

Sincerely,

Heath Kull – President
HeathK@theranches.org

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