Big Oak Ranch is a Christian home for children needing a chance.

Our mission grew from a very simple belief that if you surround kids with the right kind of environment, they have a better chance. It’s been our core belief from the beginning, and we have helped hundreds of young men and women find a way in our world as productive members of society.

We make four promises to every child that comes to the Ranch: 1) We love you (love and emotional support), 2) We will never lie to you (truth and honesty), 3) We will stick with you until you’re grown (security), and 4) There are boundaries; don’t cross them (discipline). From that foundation, we raise every child to know God’s love.

History Timeline

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The Roots
The Big Oak ministry grew out of the desire to give hurting children a chance. John Croyle, Founder of Big Oak Ranch, played football at the University of Alabama under the legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Faced with one of the most important decisions of his life — whether to play professional football or to start a children’s home — John followed the Lord’s leadership and established Big Oak Boys’ Ranch in 1974. Big Oak Ranch, Inc. was incorporated in the State of Alabama as a 501(c)(3) Corporation in that same year.
The Oak Grows
The vision to start the Girls’ Ranch evolved from a court case involving “Shelley,” a 12-year old girl who had been physically and sexually abused by her father. Big Oak pleaded with the judge to let Shelley live at the Boys’ Ranch, but the judge refused and placed Shelley back with her parents. Shelley was beaten to death by her parents three months later. The Girls’ Ranch was built in 1988 in Shelley’s memory.
Spreading Our Limbs
Since 1974, Big Oak Ranch has been called to meet the needs of over 2000 children by giving them a solid, Christian home and a chance to fulfill God’s plan for their lives. Yet the “cornerstone,” and even the name of Big Oak Ranch, has remained fundamentally rooted in Isaiah 61:3, “And they shall be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that He may be glorified.”
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