Big Oak Ranch

Issue: 04 2022


01. A Note from Brodie

“Listen, my son. Accept my words, and you will live many years. I am teaching you the way of wisdom; I am guiding you on straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction; don’t let go. Guard it, for it is your life.” Proverbs 4:10-13

These verses speak to what takes place in our homes as we raise our children and through ASCEND as we lead our young adults. We are called to teach and guide, diligently and consistently serving as an agent of change as God produces lasting transformation that spans generations.

How we teach, guide and serve is a profound difference maker…and JOY is the prerequisite. 

Joy is not always a natural posture so before it is ever a feeling, it must be a focus obtained through a heartfelt gratitude for God’s love, mercy and grace! Gratitude for the opportunity to serve as part of the bigger picture for hurting children all across the country who need to know there is hope. A truly grateful heart for the children we get to raise at Big Oak, the ones you raise in your homes, and the eternal difference they too can have in the bigger picture. It is a mission that is surely not easy, but one that is truly worthy.

As James 1 tells us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” It’s in the valley floor that territory is gained, and knowing this, we can teach and guide our children, even there, with joy!

In the midst of the holiday season, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

May the Spirit of God fill you with joy that is not only heard, but seen and felt as He overflows into the children we raise.

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!

December Birthday List
January Birthday List
February Birthday List

03. Growing Oak


Growing Oaks Boy
Go Placement

Skylar, 16

  • Has lived at Big Oak Boys’ Ranch for 6 years
  • Lives in the Holle Home with houseparents Corey and Tracee Hudson
  • Attends a local church with his Ranch family where he serves on the media team
  • Is a freshman at Westbrook Christian School and is on the A Honor Roll
  • Is an active member of his youth group
  • Is learning to play the drums at Westbrook
  • Shows a strong work ethic through his chores around the Ranch
  • Loves God with his whole heart and intentionally seeks after Him
GO Digitial Boys Cooling

Learning to cook with Mom Snider

GO Digitial Clayton

Clayton was inducted into the National Beta Club! We are so proud of you!

GO Digitial Houston

Houston’s most recent catch!

GO Digitial Mom

Mom Duke’s glasses are a little big for Colton

GO Digitial Koby

Pop Lischinski helping Koby measure his big catch

Enjoying another trail ride

Nicholas and Christopher enjoying a trail ride with Big Oak Cattle

“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”


Items Needed for the Boys' Ranch

Griddles for Gas Stove

Large Programmable Crockpot

Bath Towel Sets

Large Electric Griddle

Men’s Body Wash 

Men’s Shampoo

Men’s Deodorant

Dishwasher Tabs



Paper Towels

Laundry Detergent

Please send donated items to:

Big Oak Boys’ Ranch

250 Jake Mintz Road

Gadsden, AL 35905

04. Growing Oak


Growing Oaks Girl
GO Placement Girl Keyara

Keyara, 16

  • Has lived at Big Oak Girls’ Ranch for 3 years
  • Lives in the Dye-Merrell Home with houseparents Trevor and Melissa Ellison
  • Attends Church of the Highlands with her family and serves on the production team
  • Is a junior at Westbrook Christian School and is on the A-B Honor Roll
  • Was elected SGA representative by her junior class
  • Plays for the varsity basketball team at Westbrook
  • Loves water sports and new adventures
  • Is an extremely hard worker and enjoys helping others
  • Plans to pursue athletic training and become a physical therapist 
GO Digitial

Nevaeh shows her sister how to pet the horses

GO Digitial 3 girls

Izzy, Anniston, and Jasmine after face painting at the Fall Festival

GO Digitial Pumpkin Painting

Cheyanne painting pumpkins with her family

GO Digitial Ava Hawaii

Ava and MaKayla enjoying Homecoming week

GO Digitial basketball

A great start to Westbrook basketball for Emush, Bella, and Alexis!

GO Digitial Decade Day

Nevaeh, Axlin, Skylar, and Keyara dressed up for Throwback Day

“How priceless your faithful love is, God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings”

PSALM 36:7

Items Needed for the Girls' Ranch

O’Cedar EasyWring Mop

Echo Dot


Paper Towels


Native deodorant

9’ Christmas Tree

Clear Christmas Tree Lights

Persil Laundry Detergent 

XL Stock Pot

Shark Self Cleaning Cordless Stick Vacuum

Febreze Plug-in Refills 

Gain Moonlight Breeze 

Easter Baskets

Swiffer Wet Jet Liquid Floor Cleaner

Swiffer Wet Jet Heavy Duty Mopping Pads

Please send donated items to:

Big Oak Girls’ Ranch

6000 Shelley Drive

Springville, AL 35146

05. Be a LEGEND


The Legends Classic is our largest fundraiser of the year, and is also one of the most fun events for our children and everyone attending. It features three events – an Auction, a Ball Drop and a Golf Tournament. Thank you SO much to everyone who participated in helping make this year our most successful event we have ever had – you helped us provide a Christian education and daily care for the children who call Big Oak home. You are a catalyst for real, meaningful change in the lives of children who need a chance.

Legends 2022 Digital Timbers


For years, we have dreamed of expanding our Legends event into other cities, and this year our dream came true! Our Inaugural Legends at The Ledges in Huntsville was a huge success. We were able to share the vision of Big Oak at our Ledges Dinner and the next day at our Ledges Golf Tournament. We reached our goal of covering the operating expenses of one of our new homes for one entire year – a $250,000 expense fully covered! What a blessing – thank you to everyone who participated. We are already excited about next year!


We are excited to announce that we are moving into Fairhope for our next Legends event. Please be on the lookout for upcoming details if you live in the area. 

For more information, please contact Rhonda Hindman at (205) 467-6226, or rhindman@bigoak.org.

Legends Save the Date Timbers

06. A Life Changed

Leavy's Story
in the words of his wife, Sara

A Life Changed Placement

Leavy, age 14

My name is Sara Riddlespur, I’m the wife of Leavy Riddlespur who grew up at Big Oak Boys’ Ranch from the age of 12 to 19. Before Leavy arrived at Big Oak, he endured so much. Coming to Big Oak was the best thing that could have ever happened to him. Leavy was able to receive the structure and love, the stability and the confidence that he would be cared for.

Leavy was incredibly blessed with houseparents whose impact is still felt in our lives today. They taught him so much more than he could have ever learned apart from Big Oak.  

They modeled patience, understanding, unconditional love, manners, discipline, work ethic and so much more. The influence of godly men in Leavy’s life during his childhood at Big Oak – it’s something I, personally, am so grateful for. It has shaped the husband I prayed for. The husband who leads our family from the examples he witnessed.

Leavy Senior

Leavy’s Senior Picture

Leavy and son

Leavy and son, JC

Leavy Sara and son

Leavy, Sara and JC Christmas 2021

Leavy with his Ranch brothers

Christmas gathering with Mom and Pop Perkins and many of Leavy’s Ranch brothers

Leavy and Sara with Shoars Family

Sara and Leavy with Mom and Pop Shoars and their family

I often reflect on the ways the Lord has blessed us. Through Big Oak, God gave Leavy the family he needed, the love he deserved and the knowledge to be able to tell you anything about the Bible (which is one of my favorite things about him). And now, the Lord has blessed Leavy and I through our son, JC, who is turning five at the end of this year. Many years ago, Leavy’s houseparents showed him the kind of love that should be given to children. As we raise JC, Leavy now shows that same, selfless love to him and it is changing another generation.

A Life Changes wedding on the beach

Leavy and Sara on their wedding daye

Through Big Oak, God gave Leavy the family he needed…”

Today, many people ask Leavy about his time at the Ranch, his experiences as a kid and how he refers to his houseparents. And every time, he smiles, takes a breath and says, “They are not my houseparents, they are my parents.” They are our son’s grandparents and my in-laws. Their parents are proud great grandparents. Leavy’s Ranch siblings are now my son’s aunts and uncles. It’s such a beautiful family connected by the goodness of God and the choosing of one another as family. It’s a perfect example of what family should look and feel like for children. They are some of the most selfless people I have ever known.

Thank you for supporting Big Oak Ranch, for helping raise Leavy, for shaping the family we have now. I truly stand in awe of Leavy and the husband and father he is, and I am so grateful. The children you support today will one day have families, spouses, children and grandchildren. And your selfless support and generous love will one day reach them as well – just as I am now experiencing the return of what you are investing.”


Leavy and family

Leavy with his wife, Sara, and son, JC

“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.”



Read Leavy’s full story & provide a memorable Christmas for our Big Oak Family!

07. Spotlights


Spiritual, professional and personal life preparation for the young adults of Big Oak Ranch.


Continuing our promises.

Through ASCEND, 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.

Scarlet ASCEND
Scarlet Stearns
Ascendant, Communications major at Samford University

“From a young age, I knew I wanted to go to a university to further my education. I wanted a great job and to have a successful career. I think I always had hopes of doing more than being a victim of the past. It’s a blessing to not have to do this alone, to have ASCEND walk with me. As I pursue this dream, ASCEND has given me the opportunity to learn life skills that have put me a step ahead of others my age. So many things I see my peers struggling with, I feel like I have known how to navigate because of ASCEND. I have realized that I want to pursue something higher than just me and I want to live a life that impacts people beyond just Scarlet, so I have launched a ministry that provides young women – specifically those who have grown up in children’s homes – with biblical encouragement for practical struggles.”

“When I started training in welding, it was hard. But ASCEND taught me not to give up, so I kept working and I ended up liking it! I realized I was good at it, I was good with my hands, and doing this could make me financially independent. So, I said ‘why not?’ and this is my career now. I’m even thinking of starting my own business.”

Jai’Shawn Cattling
ASCEND graduate, Welder
Big Oak Cattle

Big Oak Cattle is designed to provide a self-sustaining, naturally-raised, beef production system for feeding our Ranch families.

Even more, it is an opportunity to help rebuild our children’s confidence and their ability to trust. It teaches responsibility, accountability and the value of working for something greater than oneself.

Big Oak Cattle

Feeding our families. Rebuilding trust by working together.

We continue to build upon the strong foundation that P21 offers to our children as we parallel equine and cattle fundamentals through the Gospel. As such, we continue to see fear of what is big and seemingly scary transform into an awe of something beautiful. We see a spirit of respect wrapped in trust and relationship unfolding in our children. 

As knowledge of barn rules, safe use of equipment and appropriate care of the horses increase, an appreciation for wise choices manifests in other areas of our children’s lives. 

As riding fundamentals are strengthened so they can rise to the challenges of trail riding obstacles, so are the practical teachings on seeking a firm spiritual foundation that will enable our children to withstand the storms of life. Through every trail ride, our children learn to avoid the paralyzing what ifs or the temptation to run away from the obstacle, and instead, trust the relationship built with the horse, persevere with boldness and overcome. Our children take the courageous step of self-assessment, identifying the areas in their lives where they need to apply this teaching to their relationship with Christ and/or the relationship developing with their houseparents.

And, as we continue to celebrate all they are accomplishing through this special aspect of Big Oak ministry, our children can see the results of what they have invested in. In the midst of showing the fruit of their work in P21, they learn the importance of bearing good fruit in how they think, act and speak. They see that just as their journey through P21 tells a transformative story, so does their journey to healing at Big Oak.

In the continued expansion efforts to bring Big Oak Cattle to the Girls’ Ranch and in building upon our teachings at the Boys’ Ranch, we see incredible opportunity for our children to take this invaluable guidance of P21 into Big Oak Cattle as they contribute to feeding our families and therefore learning to use what God has done in their lives for the good of something greater than themselves.

Drew and Sissy

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.

Support a Home

Invest in a family.

Gur2 scaled

As we scale our impact so we can serve more children, two new homes have been added to the Girls’ Ranch with another home for girls soon to follow. An additional home is also under construction at the Boys’ Ranch. These four new homes further position us to serve children in need.

The cost of operating one of our homes is $250,000 per year.

The construction of each home at Big Oak is fully funded before breaking ground, and you have the opportunity to partner with us in sustaining the annual operations of our homes.

Your investment helps cover the daily operational needs for a home for six to eight children. This includes equipping each home with full-time houseparents, home and vehicle maintenance, utilities, fuel, landscaping, furniture, appliances as well as property, auto and liability insurance. It also provides for family expenses such as meals, outings, vacations and much more.

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

Volunteer Resource Families

“We are completely called as believers to do what we are doing as a Resource Family. We are fulfilling exactly what He asks of us – to bridge gaps, to love on, to pour into, to fill the role of being another layer of relationship and consistent love to children who need it. I believe that the more people each child has who pours into them, the greater they are equipped to continue forward on the straight and narrow path.

We have been a Resource Family for Miguel for two years now. Together we love to go fishing, go to the lake, enjoy sports, celebrate his birthday and other holidays. Over the past two years, Miguel has completely come out of his shell. My son, Reid, and Miguel are four days apart in age and the best of friends. On the very first weekend he was with us, I was blown away from the instant connection and friendship they had. As I sat in the front seat driving back to the Boys’ Ranch, Reid and Miguel sat in the back talking on and on without any quiet moments – they are still this inseparable.

We recently got our family pictures for this year made, and it was our joy to include Miguel in them. He is genuinely a part of our family and we cherish our time with him. This is such a special relationship we can all enjoy together, as a family.” – Katy

Colt & Katy Langley
Volunteer Resource Parents

Each month, our Houseparents get one weekend away beginning on Friday and ending on Sunday evening, to regroup and recharge so they can best serve our children. During this time, we pair each child with a family. This is called the child’s Resource Family.

If you would like more information about becoming a Resource Family, please call Robin O’Leary at 205-467-6226, ext 1226, or roleary@bigoak.org.

Corporate Matching Gifts

Corporate Matching Gifts

Many companies support their employees’ charitable giving by matching their donations. And yet, a recent story on CBS News says that as much as $7 billion goes unused each year.

If you give to Big Oak Ranch, check to see if your employer has a matching gift program by contacting your HR department. HR can tell you what steps will need to be taken to apply for the matching gift. The request might require Big Oak Ranch’s tax ID number which is 23-7413017.

Please join us by checking on corporate matching gift opportunities with your employer as your gifts could have double or triple the impact as we work together to relieve the suffering of abused, neglected and abandoned children.

If you have any questions, please contact Robert Duke atrobert.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.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Isaiah 26:3

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Jai Welding