Dakota Woodlands began assisting families on November 25, 1981. It was originally located in West St. Paul, and moved…More to Eagan in June of 1995. Dakota County interviews the women before they can live at Dakota Woodlands. Although men typically do not reside at this location, sometimes they live at Dakota Woodlands with their wife and family (if they have children).
Once a woman resides at Dakota Woodlands, she is given a room that has been decorated with matching linens, drapes, rugs, a rocking chair and a TV. There are different size rooms at Dakota Woodlands, some people have bigger families and receive a bigger room. The resident will share a bathroom with an adjoining room, similar to a dormitory.
Dakota Woodlands offers its residents a computer room, which is open 24hrs per day, child care (open Mon-Fri, 9am - 8pm), a playroom, lounges to visit with guests, a commercial grade stove and oven, barbeque grills, a playground, bikes and picnic tables.
Residents take turns cooking and cleaning, unless there are volunteers. Residents have a punch card in which they get "punches" for all the tasks they've completed. Once their card is full, they can turn their card or cards in for items to buy.
While at this location, they learn how to be a responsible renter, take healthy cooking classes, and learn techniques for stress management.
The average woman's stay is 61 days, however, there is no deadline. Dakota Woodlands offers lots of services to its residents, including tutoring for those women working on getting their GED. Dakota Woodlands pays for their GED, as well.
Child residents can also receive tutoring four days a week. The families decide if it is something they want their child participating in. Children receive "punches" on their punch card too for the homework help/tutoring.
Dakota Woodlands can house up to 22 families at a time, and it has about 110 families total each year. Most families move on to permanent living once they've left Dakota Woodlands. Once a woman has left, Dakota Woodlands staff members follow up with them. The women have a support network for up to two years.
Volunteers have several different areas inside Dakota Woodlands that they can work in. There is a room inside Dakota Woodlands stocked with donated clothes, coats, mittens, shoes, etc. Or a volunteer may feel more comfortable working with children for the day. Whichever it is, Dakota Woodlands Volunteer Coordinator, Patty, would love to help you decide what would be the best fit for you!