Nonprofit News

Olive Crest Celebrates 50th Anniversary – More than 200,000 Children and Families Helped

Organization Served 200,000 Children and Families Since Founding

Olive Crest was founded in 1973 in Orange County California by Dr. Donald and Lois Verleur. It all began when the couple took in four teenaged girls. The Olive Tree in their front yard became the symbol for the organization they started. The name embodied their goal of a “peaceful family.”

That first home grew into something much larger, and now Olive Crest serves 4,000 children and families every day. Olive Crest expanded from Orange County into the Inland Empire and Desert Communities in 1978, Los Angeles in 1988, Las Vegas in 1996, Washington state in 1999, San Diego in 2000 and Santa Barbara in 2022.

“In the beginning, Lois and I began to see the problems of abuse and neglect of children in the community and the schools,” said Dr. Donald Verleur, Olive Crest co-founder along with wife Lois Verleur. “I came home one day and told Lois, ‘I think we can do a better job by providing homes for court-placed children.’ We started with one home for four girls and a vision. Thankfully, it developed very well. For all our life together, Lois and I have fought for hurting children. With the Lord’s guidance and our faith, Olive Crest has continued to fight the good fight and run the good race. It is because of the people who have come alongside the children and families we serve that Olive Crest has a great legacy. It is our hope and prayer that we may continue to reach out to help children and families in crisis for 50 more years. So be it!”

Olive Crest’s vision of a strong family for every child is supported by its dedication to the prevention of child abuse. This is accomplished with programs that strengthen, equip and restore children and families in crisis “One Life at a Time”®.

Unfortunately, the need for strong families and safe kids is great. There are 4-million reports of child abuse in the US each year involving 6.6-million children. 150 children die every month from abuse or neglect. One in seven children (14%) experience abuse or neglect every year. Some sixty percent of children lured into human trafficking come from the child welfare system.

Olive Crest takes these challenges head-on: with intervention, training, couseling, foster care, adoption and residental programs. More information on the various programs is available at

“Thank you for everything that you have ever done for me,” says Vanessa, a former Olive Crest teen. “I can truly say that this is one life you have saved. While being a part of Olive Crest, I learned a lot of very important lessons, but I would have to say that the most important lesson I learned is that if you do not love yourself, then no one else can love you. And how can you ever know what love is if you have never given yourself a chance to know what it is like, both from yourself and others? Another thing learned is that even though we are not home with our parents, it does not mean that we are bad people. So, as I leave my Olive Crest home and my second family, I would like to say again, ‘Thanks a million,’ and in this heart you will never be forgotten.”

David and Sharon Watring, along with their three biological children, Kortney, David Jr., and Breanna, became an Olive Crest family back in 2001 with the hopes of adopting one, maybe two children. In a matter of four short years, the Watring family had grown from three to nine children! The Watrings’ journey of adoption has remarkably led them to provide a “forever family” for six foster children. And, while adoption has brought the Watring family more responsibilities, more chores, and more laundry… adoption has undoubtedly brought them immesasurably more love.

The Olive Crest model of strengthening, equipping, and restoring children in crisis has proven to be extremely effective in stopping the cycle of abuse and neglect and empowering strong families to become healthy and productive in their communities.

As a result, the organization is leading the charge in redefining the way children in crisis are cared for and equipped. Olive Crest is proactive which exponentially increases its impact.

To celebrate 50 years of transforming lives, Olive Crest is hosting a gala event on February 25, 2023 at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel in Anaheim, California. Presented by Northgate Market, it will be a night of entertainment, celebration, and commemoration. Registration information can be found at

About Olive Crest

Since 1973, Olive Crest has transformed the lives of over 200,000 children and their families. Olive Crest works tirelessly to meet the individual needs of kids in crisis by providing safe homes, counseling, and education for both youth and parents. Many innovative programs reflect the conviction that strengthening the family is one of the most powerful ways to help heal children. With unwavering compassion, the Olive Crest family maintains a lifelong commitment to the youth and families even after they have graduated from the organization’s programs.

Olive Crest serves over 4,000 children and families each day throughout the Western United States. For information, call 800-550-CHILD (2445) or visit

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