There is something to be said from hearing a story from its source, and better than that, hearing it filled with emotion and a genuine humility for what life has handed out.
That’s what more than 100 guests heard when they attended Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch’s Heading Home event August 7, at the Fargo Holiday Inn.
Darrin Berndt and Juanita Hoeger, both former residents in residential treatment programs at the Ranch, spoke to guests of challenges and overcoming obstacles, working through their issues, and how they continue to persevere.
Berndt, 45, is from Washington state, and was a resident on the Minot campus in the mid-80s. His issues of anger and rage started at a young age while he was coping–in secret most times, with bullying. Berndt was extremely small for his age, which kids and sadly, some adults, pounced on. His anger eventually ended him in a psychiatric hospital and later, at the Ranch, where he made what he calls his first “real friends.” Berndt now works with a company, which contracts with the Department of Defense.
Hoeger, 20, was a resident in the Fargo programs only a few short years ago. An abusive situation led her to cutting, a form of self-harm. While at the Ranch, Hoeger discovered the kind of love that never changes–that of her Lord, Jesus Christ. The Spiritual Life program at the Ranch and its leader, Jay Schaefer, made a great difference in her life. After being at the Ranch, Hoeger attended missionary school, has been to Africa twice, and will return there in 2015.
The evening brought in more than $77,000. The funds raised will help the Ranch to add a Chapel, gymnasium and nutrition center to its Fargo campus, located at 7151 15 St. S.