Guiding our young people into successful adulthood.

Most parents know how difficult it can be for young people to transition from high school to college or career training successfully. There are so many challenges — social, academic, spiritual, financial, and emotional. It can be a make-or-break time for many young people.

Resources to equip young people during this crucial period, even for those who haven’t come from broken homes or painful pasts, are vital. It’s a widespread need that affects young adults from all walks of life.



A Dedicated Space for ASCENDants

ASCENDants are now able to live in community both socially and physically thanks to the grand opening of ASCEND in Birmingham. This 2.32 acre and 45,770 square feet of living and learning space was meticulously planned to provide enough independence for students but not without the support of fellow ASCENDants as well as on-site guides. We want our ASCENDants to experience COMMUNITY and a culture of GROWTH, PERSEVERANCE, ACHIEVEMENT, and TRUST in God’s perfect plan for their lives. Through the generosity of our faithful supporters, the building of ASCEND has been completely funded. Our goal moving forward is to secure the support needed to operate the program for up to 48 Ascendants.

“We’ll stick with you until you are grown.”

At Big Oak Ranch, significant opportunities are provided for every child to develop habits and character that mold them for successful adult life. We must help them take ownership of these habits independently as they rise into adulthood. We make a promise to every one of our children that we will “stick with you until you are grown.”

One way we keep this promise is through ASCEND.

Through this support branch, we help guide each young person to their goals, whether they want to attend college or learn a skilled trade. We provide housing at ASCEND and higher education opportunities as well as practical life skills training with unwavering spiritual, personal, and professional guidance.

We also hold them accountable. When our young people enter ASCEND, they agree to meet established milestones and criteria along the way. They will have to do this throughout their lives, so we teach them this all-important skill now.

We show them the way from childhood to adulthood.

Children are introduced to ASCEND in the spring of their ninth-grade year, and opportunities leading up to adulthood are outlined for them to work toward milestones. While in ASCEND, they learn to live as responsible adults, to work, to finish their education, to deepen their relationship with Christ, to serve something greater than themselves, and to grow into the godly men and women they were created to be.

We teach the essential life skills that every young adult needs, and each ASCENDant earns greater accountability and responsibility along the way. We provide the spiritual, professional, and personal life preparation that helps each young man and woman walk the path of their unique, God-given purpose. Through ASCEND, our children learn to fully transform the dependent habits learned on the Ranch into the independent habits necessary for adult life.

ASCEND effectively prepares our young adults, ages 18-24, by guiding them through the following pathways, helping them take ownership along the way:
ASCEND Pathways Map

The ASCEND 4:11 Curriculum

ASCEND presents basic, but essential, life skills education that is not frequently taught in the classroom. Our 4:11 curriculum sits along their higher education and includes how to:

  • Find, prepare for, secure and maintain a job
  • Communicate professionally and effectively through interview training and resume building
  • Practice proper social and professional etiquette
  • Build and maintain successful relationships, both personally and professionally
  • Set goals, prioritize, apply time management skills, and execute plans
  • Understand financial responsibility through creating a budget while saving and investing wisely
  • Find, and be an active member in, a church family
  • Identify and apply both spiritual gifting and personality identification through specific teachings and assessments
Jesi Andres-Juan, May 2022

“ASCEND has given me the opportunity to learn life skills that have put me a step ahead of others my age. It has taught me the importance of creating personal habits that lead to exponential growth.”

– Scarlet, ASCEND Graduate


We provide a compass for each ASCENDant to walk their path to purpose.

ASCEND is designed to support each young adult’s unique goals and help them create a plan to achieve them.

To foster responsibility and accountability — two traits essential for success in every pursuit — each young man or woman in ASCEND voluntarily agrees to a range of expectations designed to instill personal growth and real-world application of the curriculum as they commit to:

  • Remain active in their church.
  • Participate in a small group each week.
  • Volunteer in ASCEND service projects monthly.
  • Work a minimum of 15 hours a week for a local employer.
  • Carry a full-time college or trade school course load.
  • Participate in regular meetings with ASCEND guides to discuss spiritual, professional, and personal development.
  • Pay rent each month. Completing one year of ASCEND allows the ASCENDant to regain their initial investment into the journey. Completing the two-year or four-year curriculum allows the ASCENDant to earn not only their initial investment, but also accumulated rent payments over that time — a return they are able to put toward establishing their adult life.

ASCEND Success Stories

Children who come from painful pasts do not have to repeat the cycles. They can grow into thriving, godly adults equipped to lead strong families, contribute to their communities and develop a strong work ethic that shapes society in a positive way. Here are the stories of some of our ASCENDants, in their own words.

You can equip our young adults to break the cycle of abuse and neglect by coming along on their journey. Let’s help them realize a future filled with promise.

The average annual cost per ASCENDant is $25,000-30,000, depending on the ASCENDant’s education program. We invite you to partner with us in molding our young people into adults ready and equipped for a life of meaningful impact. Your support funds their higher education/skilled trade certification, academic tools and books, apartment and utilities, life skills curriculum, mentorship, and more.

Become an ASCEND partner today.

Join us in guiding young people who have suffered so much as we prepare them to be bold, persevering men and women.

ASCEND is a compass for Big Oak’s young adults, ages 18-24 years old, providing direction through spiritual, professional and personal life preparation training as they seek to walk the path of their God-given purpose.