Nayler keeps the memory of his deceased son alive through community action

“My husband Tom and I wanted to use Ryan’s lived experience to make a difference. We wanted what he went through to be used for good,’ says Barrie woman behind Ryan’s Hope

Positive thinking is a driving and transformative force for Christine Nayler, who turned the grief of losing her son to drug poisoning into purpose by creating Ryan’s Hope.

Christine’s days begin with meditation, recitation of the mantra “be the change you want to see in the world”, then reading a daily quote or affirmation.

Every morning, she sets herself the goal of completing at least three-quarters of her to-do list, which always includes making a positive connection with at least one person each day and trying to raise funds to support its mission to provide for the needs of others. .

It all started with his desire to create an organization in memory of Ryan to honor who he was as a person and to help people struggling with the same issues he was living with.

“My husband Tom and I wanted to use Ryan’s lived experience to make a difference,” she says. BarrieToday. “We wanted what he went through to be used for good.”

What the organization would look like was unclear at the time, only the certainty that if Christine and Tom didn’t find a way to turn their pain into purpose, they say their grief would engulf them.

The insightful moment was when they became aware of a lack of breakfast in the community due to COVID-19. Both early risers and former breakfast team volunteers for the Barrie Out of the Cold program, they thought it might be doable for them to step up for the cause. That’s when the Breakfast-To-Go program began.

“We bought a box of Tim Hortons coffee, fruit and yogurt and showed up at the warm-up centre,” says Christine.

They served five people the first day, 10 the next day, and then more and more. With the help of local churches and community volunteers, they have been serving breakfast every day since.

“Having a reason to stand up and knowing people who depend on us has helped our healing,” she says.

Christine recounts priceless moments, like when Ryan’s friends, whom she never knew, showed up at breakfast, shared funny or sweet stories about him, and told him what he meant to him. them.

Last week, one of his regular breakfast guests shared how Christine and Tom’s care had been so important to him and helped him get back on track.

“He said knowing that every morning there was someone with a smile and a cup of coffee was a great start to his day,” she said.

Christine noted that Ryan’s Hope is not quite an organization, but rather a community.

“For some, we are like their family and we celebrate regular days and holidays together. Last week, on my birthday, I heard a song serenade over breakfast by our friends,” she said.

Getting to know people she otherwise wouldn’t have met, forming connections and friendships with them, and seeing their skills and confidence grow are the most rewarding things for Christine.

“Our peer support volunteers all started as guests of our Breakfast-To-Go program and now they are an important part of our street outreach team using their own life experience to help others,” says- she.

To balance the heaviest part of her helping routine, Christine says she spends at least 30 minutes a day in nature and time with her grandchildren.

“I end each day with a moment of gratitude,” she says.

Ryan’s Hope advocates and supports people living with mental illness, addictions and homelessness.

For more information on the group, visit

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