Big Oak Ranch

Issue: 01 2023

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01. A Note from Brodie

Five decades of raising children has taught us that success is not attached to what we start doing, it’s attached to what we stop doing. It’s the reason we have adopted the mantra of Keep Planting.

Keep Planting, though, is more than a mantra, it’s the heart of our ministry. We get to, we have to plant even though we might not see immediate fruits.

Our kids are incredible teachers of resiliency and, in that light, we choose to plant on their behalf with the same resiliency. Our children have been hurt, they have been buried more times than they should have to count. Yet, they have taught us that one can look at their life as buried or planted. At the start, both look the same, but every seed must be buried first so that it is planted and can begin to rise.

Our role from the front lines is to help the seed rise by putting our promises of love, honesty, perseverance and discipline into action. We have been called to be the hands and feet of Jesus because the goal is worthy and the prize eternal. Our promises put into action exist as salt and light that point our children to a different way. Our perspective is to keep planting and to watch in hopeful anticipation as God gives the increase and our children begin to rise.

And, as you keep planting throughout your city, state, and the country sharing about the mission of Big Oak, you provide our children opportunities to rise. You allow us to speak over them with our words and daily life within our homes, consistently showing them that they matter, that they have a place in this world.

When the chance they receive meets fertile soil, miracles happen.

Keep Planting!

Brodie Croyle

Brodie Croyle
President & CEO

Brodie, Kelli, Sawyer & Luke Croyle

Brodie, Kelli, Sawyer & Luke Croyle

02. Birthdays

We are intentional to celebrate the lives and joy of the moment. Join us in celebrating our children’s birthdays!


03. Growing Oak



Aiden, 13


  • Has lived at Big Oak Boys’ Ranch for 6 years
  • Lives in the Bryant Home with houseparents Eric and Renee Morrison
  • Attends a local church with his Ranch Family
  • Is in the 6th grade at Westbrook Christian School
  • Is looking forward to playing baseball for Westbrook next year
  • One of his favorite things to do is skateboarding
  • Is a people person
  • Enjoys fishing, riding bikes, shooting hoops and other outdoor activities with his friends
Happy 10th birthday Caden!

Happy 10th birthday Caden!

Josh and Chad learning new chords in music class

Josh and Chad learning new chords in music class

Nicholas, Victor, Francisco & Slaydin at Big Oak Cattle

Nicholas, Victor, Francisco & Slaydin at Big Oak Cattle

Leo, Clayton & Koby had a great day fishing

Leo, Clayton & Koby had a great day fishing

Kaige bought his first car!

Kaige bought his first car!

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”

1 John 3:1

Items Needed for the Boys' Ranch

Flower Seeds


Wet Erase Markers

Clorox Toilet Wand & Refills




Clorox 2 Stain Remover

Scrub Daddy Sponges

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers

Liquid Fabric Softener

Large Rubbermaid Storage Bins w/Lids

Please send donated items to:

Big Oak Boys’ Ranch

250 Jake Mintz Road

Gadsden, AL 35905

04. Growing Oak



Chamma, 13


  • Has lived at Big Oak Girls’ Ranch for 5 years
  • Lives in the Thompson Home with houseparents Jeremy & Jessica Master
  • Attends The Healing Place Church of St. Clair
  • Always does her chores and keeps her room clean without being prompted
  • Loves to decorate and is wonderful at setting a scene in a room
  • Loves to be in the kitchen, and is the go-to helper with all things cooking – even takes time to add garnishes and drizzling sauces so the plates are beautiful!
  • Loves to give and receive gifts, appreciates surprises and receives with gratitude 
  • Is hoping to try out for tennis and cheer next year
  • Enjoys music, clothes, shoes, makeup and chatting with friends
  • Her laughter and smile are contagious!
Axlin had a great time ice skating

Axlin had a great time ice skating

Keyara purchased her first car!

Keyara purchased her first car!

Hayden ready for a trail ride

Hayden ready for a trail ride

Happy 15th birthday Briana!

Happy 15th birthday Briana!

Kaylee and Makenzie making homemade pizza. Yum!

Kaylee and Makenzie making homemade pizza. Yum!

Emma enjoying snacks at the Boutique

Emma enjoying snacks at the Boutique

“They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God.”

PSALM 92:13

Items Needed for the Girls' Ranch

Bona Spray Mop

Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum

Outdoor String Lights

Native Deodorant

Echo Dot

Hobby Lobby Gift Card

Alarm Clocks

Persil Liquid Detergent 

Sponge Mop

Over the Door Shoe Organizer

Laundry Detergent Pods

13-Gallon Drawstring Garbage Bags

Bounty or Sam’s Paper Towels

Hair Dryers

Large Shampoo/Conditioner

Razors & Shaving Gel

Swiffer Wet Jet Heavy Duty Mopping Pads

Vacuum Cleaners

Acne Products

Measuring Cups/Spoons


Please send donated items to:

Big Oak Girls’ Ranch

6000 Shelley Drive

Springville, AL 35146

06. A Life Changed

Hallie's Story

Hallie, age 11

Hallie, age 11

Certain things stand out to me when I think about my childhood. I remember drugs being in my parents’ home. I remember missing a lot of school. My family seemed to be in court a lot. I didn’t really see my dad much. I remember a phone call my mom had one day. At the time, I wasn’t sure who she was talking to or who she was talking about, but I remember her saying, “I can’t deal with them anymore.” It wasn’t long before my brother and I were taken to an extended family member, and we never lived with our parents again.

This path eventually brought me to Big Oak Ranch.   

During my first week at the Ranch, I met with Mr. John and Mrs. Mary. At first, I thought Mr. John was scary, but I soon realized he was just really tall and had a deep voice. He told me the Four Promises, and I still remember them to this day. I also remember thinking, “That is what everybody says.” But the longer I was there, I realized these people really stick with and keep those Four Promises.


A Life Changed


I saw something different in my houseparents. They didn’t fight like the other adults in my life. Mom would get us all together in a circle and pray with us. They made us have study time and kept up with our grades. I got good grades at Westbrook, and I had never done that before. We had fun family outings and would go hiking and swimming at the lake. We played games and worked at the barn. All of these times together were so much fun!

But I had a bad attitude. At the time, at that younger age, I couldn’t see the good. This affected my time at the Ranch, and looking back I regret that so much. When I lived at the Ranch, I thought they were just there to do whatever children needed for that particular day and time. After I left, I didn’t think anyone at Big Oak still cared about me.

Hallie at the Luker Home Christmas gathering with Mom & Dad Thomas and her family

Hallie at the Luker Home Christmas gathering with Mom & Dad Thomas and her family

Hallie with Casey and their son, Bryce, at the Pumpkin Patch

Hallie with Casey and their son, Bryce, at the Pumpkin Patch

Hallie in the 7th Grade at Westbrook

Hallie in the 7th Grade at Westbrook

Mom Thomas with Hallie’s son, Cooper

Mom Thomas with Hallie’s son, Cooper

“Everybody who serves at Big Oak is making a difference…”

In 2019, I married my best friend, Casey. We have two wonderful boys – Cooper and Bryce. We love to camp just like my Ranch family used to do. We take the boys on trips, ride our razor and play at the park. Bryce already likes to help his daddy fix things. He watches Casey hunt and follows him around. He is Casey’s little shadow, and I am sure Cooper will be the same way.

Five years ago, I was able to reconnect with my houseparents, and their actions showed that they did still love and care about me. Now my husband and I love to visit our family at the Ranch. It’s always so much fun, and we laugh and joke a lot.

My houseparents are “Mom” and “Dad.” They are Bryce and Cooper’s grandparents. They text me, asking about the boys and how our week is going and continue to be a part of our lives. We spend holidays with them, and their door is always open for me and my family.

Everybody who serves at Big Oak is making a difference and helping change children’s lives, even when they are hard to deal with like I was. I see younger girls, living with my houseparents, and it makes me happy. They are my house sisters, and I know they are safe, they are getting what they need, and they are loved – just like me!


Hallie and Casey

Hallie and Casey on their wedding day

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”


07. Spotlights

Planting Oaks

As an extension of Big Oak Ranch, Planting Oaks resources and equips like-minded ministries as they establish Christian homes for abused, neglected and abandoned children.

Family legacies … producing long-term homes for children


LIVING STONEClay and Sarah Richardson are the founders of Living Stone Farm in Gaylesville, AL. The farm sits on property owned by the family for over 100 years. During 2020, Clay and Sarah moved back into the main homestead with Sarah’s mother and realized they wanted to pursue a dream Sarah’s father had for this land to serve children in need. In the fall of 2022, Living Stone completed renovation on their first official home for children – the beginnings of a long-term foster care community. Their first set of houseparents have now joined them and are actively caring for children. In addition, Clay and Sarah have opened their home for foster care. They hope to expand their operations to include additional homes in the future.

Living Stone

TRUE SOURCE FARMSOperated by Jon and Laurie Rakowski, True Source Farms provides long-term foster care for teens in Wisconsin. Jon and Laurie have four biological children and three foster children, ranging in age from 2-20. True Source Farms, which sits on property that Jon’s family has owned for over 10 decades, currently operates one home. The heartbeat of the Farm is to provide a safe place where kids from difficult circumstances can learn, grow and belong. Recently a generous donation allowed the Farm to purchase a 15-passenger van so everyone can ride together as a family – a meaningful, milestone donation for their newly established ministry!

True Source Farms

Home Dedications at Big Oak Girls’ Ranch


At the end of last year, with overwhelming gratitude, we dedicated two of our newest homes – the Mark & Liz Vorsatz Home and the Neugent-Mouron Home! These two new homes at Big Oak Girls’ Ranch will serve as a beacon of hope and belonging for generations to come, and the dedication ceremony was a special opportunity to celebrate the plans and purpose that will be fulfilled in the lives of so many children.

House Dedication

“We have admired the mission of Big Oak Ranch for many years. Knowing John Croyle since his college days, we’ve followed the growth of the Ranch and have seen it bless so many children. We wanted to give this home as a way to thank God for the blessings we have received, both in our individual lives and through our loved ones around us. To express our gratitude, we dedicate the Neugent-Mouron Home to our parents and children. We pray that the girls in this home will feel God’s love, that they would live full and meaningful lives guided by the words of Jeremiah 29:11, ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” 

Mike and Kathy Mouron

Neugent Mouron Home

“We are extremely blessed and know how lucky we are. God has given us many opportunities and we embrace the philosophy of ‘pay it forward.’ It is our honor that we are in a position that we can further the goals and objectives of Big Oak Ranch.”

Mark and Liz Vorsatz

Vorsatz Home

08. Ways to Help

There are many ways you can have an impact on the lives changed at Big Oak. Please choose the option that works best for you, and know that we appreciate your support – no matter how or where you choose to give.

Daily Prayer

Daily prayer is a true source of power, with the ability to effect positive changes in our children’s lives. We humbly ask for you to pray daily for our staff and children.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

1 John 5:14

Critical Support for Daily Necessities

Critical Support for Daily Necessities

Every gift matters. Gifts of $25, $50, $100 on a monthly basis help sustain our mission and allow us to increase awareness so that more children can be served! You can write a check each month or set up an automatic payment through your bank.

Memorial & Honorarium Program

Memorial & Honorarium Program

The Memorial Program allows you to honor a deceased loved one. The Honorarium Program allows you to celebrate special friends or relatives on occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries or holidays. In each case, we will send an appropriate letter acknowledging your gift.

If you have questions about our Memorial/Honorarium Program, please call the Business Office at (256) 892-0773, ext. 1313, or email Mary Hutto at mhutto@bigoak.org.

In Kind Donations

In-Kind Donations

As a professional, you can provide tremendous help to our children through in-kind donations of your skills and expertise. Donations of in-kind services by doctors, dentists, lawyers and other professionals are tax-deductible, but more importantly, they make a huge difference in the quality of our children’s lives.

If you are a professional who would like to donate your services, contact:

Robin O’Leary at (205) 467-6226, ext 1226, or roleary@bigoak.org.

Resource Parenting

Resource Parenting

Resource Parents are a critical part of this ministry – supporting our houseparents and offering our children extended family. One weekend each month (Friday – Sunday), each child has the opportunity to join their Resource Family – to simply be a part of their lives. 

The relationships built and enjoyed through this valuable part of our mission are life-changing for our children and our resource families.

Corporate Matching Gifts

Corporate Matching Gifts

Please join us by checking if your employer has a matching gift program. If so, your HR Department can tell you what steps need to be taken to apply for the matching gift. Your gifts could have double or triple the impact as we work together to relieve the suffering of children. The request might require Big Oak Ranch’s tax ID number, which is 23-7413017. If you have any questions, please contact Robert Duke at robert.duke@bigoak.org.

Heritage Giving

Heritage Giving

For gifts of personal or real property, trusts, life insurance, marketable securities or estates, phone the Business Office at (256) 892-0773, ext. 1317, or email robert.duke@bigoak.org.

Big Oak Cattle

Big Oak Cattle

Big Oak Cattle is a self-sustaining production system for naturally raised beef that feeds the families of Big Oak. But its true mission is to help our boys and girls rebuild trust and learn responsibility and life skills by working together caring for our animals.



ASCEND is one way we keep our core promise, “We’ll stick with you until you are grown.” Through this ministry, we provide life skills training for our 18-22 year olds. We support each young person’s goals, whether it’s through a fully paid college education or skilled trade certification. We also provide the spiritual, professional and personal life preparation that helps each young man and woman walk the path of their unique, God-given purpose.

Big 12 Club Membership

Sponsor a child. Invest in their future.

Big 12 Club Membership

You can have a tremendous impact on the life of one of our children by participating in the Big 12 Club. Members of the Big 12 Club make an annual pledge of $12,000 to cover the cost of raising one of our children for one full year and ensure that our children have the essentials they need.

“… I have called you by name; you are mine.”

Isaiah 43:1