Jim Riley Outreach (JRO) began in 1986 with the dream of providing awareness about drugs and alcohol to schools. Jim gained his platform through his football career at the University of Oklahoma and in being a member of the 1972 undefeated Miami Dolphins. Jim, successfully leaving alcoholism behind, shared his story with students in classrooms and assemblies. At this time, Dr. Win Holland, who helped Jim in his recovery, influenced him to continue reaching out to others who suffered from addictions, and trained him in how to conduct interventions. The speaking soon grew to churches, businesses, colleges and universities throughout several states. After his talks, many began reaching out to Jim with problems going on with their friends and at home. The outreach, seeing the need to help further, grew to include one on one mentoring services as well as a men’s and women’s support groups.
In 1989, the Riley’s son, Blake, was involved in an accident while driving back to college from a football game early one morning. Of the four passengers, Blake was the only one who did not survive. He was 20 years old, and a sophomore. His death forever changed the family, and aspects of the ministry have since been named in his honor.
Robin, Jim’s wife, started officially working full time in the Outreach in 1990 after completing years of training at Scope Ministries International and becoming a Certified Biblical Counselor. In addition to the women’s support group for addictions, Robin began a women’s lunch group for those who had lost a child.
At the end of 2003, the need for extending treatment through a sober living home became apparent. A two-bedroom apartment was rented, and Joe Pellow, an individual that Jim had mentored, moved into it and began mentoring two men. The motto, “One life at a time!” was born as we knew that the individualized approach was important. Since that time, Joe bought his own homes and now has two beautiful 5-bedroom homes which can support 18 men. Joe has proven to be a valuable coach and continues to hold an 84% success rate of recovery. In 2018, Joe formed his own nonprofit, Pellow Outreach, Inc. and he continues to run the mentoring homes through that entity.
In April of 2008, the need for a women’s home developed, and The Parker House was born. Named after Mr. and Mrs. Parker, who generously chose our women’s house to become the recipient of the Parker Estate. These funds and furnishings have allowed the Parker House to be self-supporting until October of 2016. A member of the women’s support group, Sandra Pickard, became the mentor at the Parker House, and remained there until it’s closing in 2018.
In 2014 expansion came again as the Riley’s daughter, Marcie Bazor, started a new program of JRO: Blake’s House. Prompted by her work as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) and the adoption of their oldest daughter, she felt led to open a mentoring home for homeless young women and those aging out of care. It connected with JRO’s overall vision as there is a strong correlation between youth aging out of care due to a parent’s addiction. This home started the expansion to Texas and continues to change the lives of many young women.
In 2018, JRO underwent another major change as the much of the staff retired, The Parker House closed, and the Pellow Houses transitioned to Pellow Outreach. The JRO offices moved to Texas and Marcie became president of the board. In 2019, in response to a felt community need, the plans to open a home for young men began. Bill Boney stepped in to lead that charge helped to launch His House in the fall of 2020.
At JRO, we are thankful for all the spaces that God has allowed us to operate over the years, and we are especially proud of the work happening through our mentoring homes. We love seeing the lives of men and women be transformed. They come to us broken and hurting, and leave restored, with a hope for their future. They have become healthy men and women of character. Our hope is that these changed individuals go on to change their families and foster lasting generational change.