Big Oak Ranch has changed over 2,000 children’s lives with a little help from their friends


Big Oak Ranch
Big Oak Ranch brings smiles to kids’ faces. Photo via Big Oak Ranch

Everyone involved with Big Oak Ranch knows just how important it is for children to have support in a loving home. Over the last 47 years, they’ve changed the lives of 2,000 children—and they aren’t stopping anytime soon. Thanks to contributions from RealtySouth’s 150 Top Producers, they’re able to make an even bigger impact than before.

Big Oak Ranch gives children a loving home

Raising a child takes a village, and everyone involved in Big Oak Ranch shows just how true this is. From a small farmhouse for five boys to 23 homes that serve 182 children on a daily basis, Big Oak Ranch’s impact keeps growing. It all began with one man who saw how much a loving environment could change a child’s life.

In 1974, John Croyle met a little boy whose mother was a prostitute. John was working at a summer camp at the time, and he told the little boy how he could become a Christian. The next year, the boy returned and shared that Jesus had changed his life. John knew that he was called to continue spreading love to young children, and Big Oak Ranch was born.

Children come from backgrounds of abuse and neglect and find themselves in Christian homes that provide them with the hope and love they need to thrive. Each home on the Boys’ Ranch and Girls’ Ranch consists of two dedicated houseparents who invest in their children and provide a God-centered environment. From helping with homework to taking family vacations, the houseparents truly do it all.

“It’s not an instant gratification job. You might not ever get to see the fruit of what you pour into every single day. And you have to be okay with that. We say a lot that ‘the small thing repeated is not a small thing.'”

Brodie Croyle, Executive Director, Big Oak Ranch

Building on a 47-year legacy of love and hope

Big Oak Ranch Family
The families at the Ranch are full of love. Photo via Big Oak Ranch

Over 2,000 children have called Big Oak Ranch home over the last 47 years. Even after moving out, they keep in touch through “Branches”, a part of Big Oak’s ministry that connects former residents.

In 2021, Big Oak Ranch grew even more with plans to expand to serve more children. But, no matter how much they grow, their mission of providing homes of love, security and safety to children never falters.

“That’s what’s so incredible about Big Oak. It’s a place where you can truly share family.”

Kelli Croyle

Plus, the impact at Big Oak doesn’t stop with each child they serve, either. Through the experience of living in a love-filled home, these children are able to break the cycles of pain they may have been born into, leading to a brighter future for each child.

RealtySouth’s contributions help make Big Oak Ranch’s mission possible

Realtysouth Top Producers
RealtySouth’s Top Producers make this gift possible. Photo via RealtySouth

With a cause as important as Big Oak Ranch’s, they need to receive support to make it all happen. That’s where RealtySouth comes in.

Every year, RealtySouth’s 150 Top Producers celebrate their accomplishments by voting to give back to a charity of their choice. This year, Big Oak Ranch was the overwhelming winner. The nonprofit isn’t federally funded, so donations like this one help the Ranch grow and serve more children.

According to Brodie Croyle, it takes $12K a year to raise each child. We don’t need to do the math to see how sizable contributions can make a big difference.

RealtySouth didn’t just give a one-time donation though—they’re members of the “Big 12 Club” that makes an annual pledge of $12K to sponsor one child for a whole year.

What do RealtySouth’s donations support? Everything the children at Big Oak Ranch need to thrive—food, clothing, shelter, tuition to a private Christian school and more.

Here’s why 3 top RealtySouth producers support Big Oak Ranch

Top Realtysouth Producers
This team of RealtySouth agents is dedicated to their clients. Photo via Mary Fehr for The Bama Buzz

I was curious about how top RealtySouth producers find ways to give back to the community while finding success in real estate, so I reached out to three top agents in Birmingham.

Meet Robin Owings, Jason Dailey and Mercy Lozinski.

Each agent has a unique background and history with RealtySouth, but they all share a similar passion for treating their clients well and giving back to deserving organizations.

Realtysouth Producers
These agents are happy to support Big Oak Ranch Photo via Mary Fehr for The Bama Buzz

What is your personal involvement with Big Oak Ranch?

Robin: In the past, my husband and I were supporters of Big Oak Ranch. I love that I work for a company that gives back to the community. It just feels good to be a small part that contributes to an organization that wants to help kids, especially in a Christian environment.

Jason: I got introduced to the charity years ago, while I was in the corporate world. I was at a conference and John (founder of Big Oak Ranch) came and spoke. He is able to strike you even if you can’t personally relate. We all have our trials and tribulations but hearing about young children really got to me.

What does it take to become a top real estate agent?

Mercy: Being an agent that looks out for your people. Being a top agent, you’re also in the position to truly represent your client, not yourself. I think people know when they legitimately have someone looking out for them.

Robin: I think it’s having a strong work ethic and being authentic. I feel like if your clients know that they can trust you and you’re not in it just for the sale, then you’re going to have a client for life.

Whether you’re choosing to put your house on the market or want to work for a team that’s dedicated to giving back, RealtySouth will be the perfect place for you.

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Cecilia Wood
Cecilia Wood
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