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Community Builders Awards: Ryan’s Hope carries on Ryan’s dream to help those struggling with mental health and addiction

Ryan’s Hope, the recipient of this year’s Legacy Award, was created by Ryan Nayler’s parents in honour of their son’s legacy

Ryan Nayler passed away in November 2020, at the age of 34, from a toxic drug poisoning here in Barrie.

Throughout the last few years of his life, when he was struggling with his mental health and addiction the most, Ryan was also doing all he could to help others. He became an advocate for police accountability, increased mental health funding, harm reduction and decriminalizing drug use in an effort to decrease stigma and increase funding and support for those facing these issues.

In honour of Ryan, his parents, Christine and Tom, started a non-profit organization, Ryan’s Hope, dedicated to advocate for and support people living with mental illness, substance abuse issues and those facing homelessness.

They provide grocery support and household supplies to those who are housed, welcome kits as people become housed and supplies for those living in encampments.

They also serve a free, nutritious breakfast seven days a week in downtown Barrie, go out in the evening during the winter to distribute warm clothes to those sleeping outside and provide peer support to connect those in need with support services, collaborating directly with social service agencies who can provide further support for those in need.

While losing a child tragically would paralyze most, Christine and Tom turned their grief into supporting Ryan’s dream: To help the vulnerable people struggling in our community.

The Legacy Award honours an individual posthumously who has created lasting change and measurable difference in our community through commitment and perseverance. This award pays tribute to the individual’s leadership, vision and ongoing legacy.

Thank you to the friends and family of Ryan Nayler who put together a nomination package in honour of his legacy.

This award is proudly sponsored by Georgian International.

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Riley Barsanti, Community Cares team

About the Author: Riley Barsanti, Community Cares team

Riley is a Communications Specialist and member of the Village Media Cares Team, whose mission is to create meaningful, long-lasting and positive change in the communities we serve.
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