"What's your success rate?" That's a great question. - Al Oliver

I am often asked, “What’s your success rate?” It’s a very reasonable question, but one that’s difficult to answer. How should we measure success in this ministry? How many days or years of sobriety does a person need to be considered a success? How many years at a new job? Does one of our graduates need to be awarded full custody of their children to be considered a success? What if they were just granted supervised visitation after months of little to no contact?

You can see the difficulty we have in offering a rate of success, and instead of evaluating success as a statistic, we focus on stories.

Over the past two years, Douglas is one man whose story we have shared with you. After spending the majority of his life in prison, many would consider Douglas a lost cause. After all, what could he do to support himself and stand on his own two feet? He missed the boom of the computer and internet age. He had nothing to put on a resumé — not even an address. His parents had died and he had no contact with his children.

How would he ever become a success story?

In 2 Corinthians, Paul tells us God made us brand new creations. In Revelation 21:5, the resurrected, victorious and reigning Lord Jesus makes this astonishing, universal declaration: “Behold! I am making all things new!”

Douglas came to Visalia Rescue Mission and entered our Life Change Academy on October 10, 2014. Now, he’s on staff with us. As you consider your participation in this ministry, especially at the end of the year, consider the hundreds of men and women who cannot change their own life, who are desperate for God, and who need Visalia Rescue Mission. And they need you.

As we look to the new year, we are excited to share a tremendous opportunity to expand this ministry: Complete the second floor of our Community Center, which will serve as our Learning and Administrative Center. This facility opened in 2012, complete with classroom space, offices, and a 4,200 sq. ft. multi-purpose room. With your support, we can finally complete and use the second floor.

The goal of this Capital Campaign is $350,000:

  • $50,000.00 for electrical and lighting
  • $100,000.00 for HVAC, climate control and fire suppression
  • $100,000.00 for flooring, insulation, wallboard, ceilings, finish carpentry
  • $100,000.00 for a building code-required mechanical elevator per the city permit

By achieving this goal, men and women like Douglas will have a much greater chance to be successful. In Douglas’ case, he began taking classes at College of the Sequoias and is on his way to be a certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor. For the first time in his life, he will have job experience and education for a resumé. He has been made new.

In addition to this exciting Capital Campaign, every year we serve over 100,000 meals, provide shelter for men, women, and children 365 days a year, and provide hundreds of hours in counseling and classes. While these services and resources are provided free to our guests and residents, the operational cost to us as an organization is great.



  • $1.92 per meal
  • $11 per shelter night
  • $18.32 per day in our Life Change Academy.

Throughout this 35th anniversary year, we have honored our pledge to be as effective and efficient as possible with your giving. With your help, we can have a successful Capital Campaign, see our general operation needs met, and most importantly, see more men and women living restored lives as new creations.

So on behalf of Douglas and hundreds of graduates and guests you have helped, thank you.

Warmest Holiday Blessings to all our friends and partners in this NEW ministry,

Al Oliver - Executive Director

Ryan Stillwater

Ryan is a longtime Visalian — a graduate of Redwood High School and Fresno Pacific University with a bachelors degree in Christian Ministries. Intrigued by the partnership between the Visalia Rescue Mission and the City of Visalia, Ryan began putting his vision on paper as VRM's Oval Venue Coordinator in August 2013, and has sparked the interest of many throughout the community. Ryan and his wife Amy (a Mt. Whitney High School graduate) have been married for seven years and have three amazing kids — ages 6, 4, and 4.