In 2009 my husband Jeff and I found ourselves lost in the chaos of grief after the unexpected death of our daughter Angelica during her delivery. We felt alone and without any idea how to deal with what we were feeling. No one should ever feel alone. I received a call from a trusted friend who guided us to a support group and on to the bereavement centre in the community where we were living at the time. The people we met there became our lifeline to coping with and navigating through the long road of grief that was set before us. When we moved back to Newmarket, the community I grew up in, we realized that although there were many valuable grief support resources, there was no one central place where people can go to reach out for help. In a time of crisis after the death of a loved one and at any point in the journey that follows, one phone call is all it should take to find help and hope. Oasis will warmly respond to that phone call.
Oasis is the dream of Founder and Chair, Michelle Nye.
To help all members of the York Region community navigate their grief journey by providing a central network of safe and valuable resources and support.
To uncover and honour grief as a normal and healthy process that is vital to living with purpose and meaning after a loved one has died.
Michelle is a teacher, musician, mother of three children and founding member of Oasis. After receiving tremendous support following the death of her second daughter, Angelica, Michelle has been blessed to accompany others along their journeys down similar paths as a support group facilitator and birth and bereavement doula. She lives in Newmarket with her husband Jeff and her children Holly and Thijs.
Tony Van Bynen served three consecutive term as Mayor of the Town of Newmarket and has served as an elected representative for the Town for the past 18 years. Prior to his work in public service, Mayor Van Bynen worked in the banking industry at RBC for more than thirty years. In addition to his involvement on the Southlake Regional Health Centre Board, Community Awareness Committee as well as a member of the Hospice Cabinet fundraising Committee, Mayor Van Bynen was a founding director of the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce and Smart Commute Central York, as well as a founding member of the Belinda’s Place Women’s Shelter.
Lisa is Director of Change Enablement and Organizational Effectiveness at RBC. For over 21 years in the financial industry, Lisa has supported employees, clients, and leadership teams through various degrees of change. She has a BA in English and Psychology and is a Prosci Certified Change Management Professional. Lisa was born and raised in Newmarket and has chosen to establish her own family in northern York Region. Having experienced the losses of many loved ones, Lisa understands that each individual experiences grief differently and is pleased to be engaged in an organization that aims to bring people and the services they need to navigate their grief together.
Sean has been a Class 1 Ontario Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer for the past 29 years. Originally born and licensed in Ottawa Sean met his wife Louise (nee Playter) also a Class 1 Licensed Funeral Director while studying Funeral Service Education in Toronto and subsequently married in 1989. Sean then moved to Newmarket and began working for his father in law who owned a Funeral Home and spent the next 24 years serving the Newmarket and surrounding areas before joining Thompson Funeral Home in Aurora. Currently Sean is part of a management team and location manager for Dignity Memorial, a division of Service Corporation International (Canada) ULC which operates 14 Funeral Homes within the GTA and is the Managing Director for Thompson Funeral Home in Aurora. Sean is the Vice Chair of the Aurora Chamber of Commerce and formerly a professional advisor to Bereaved Families of York Region. Sean and Louise have raised two children Liam 21 and Shannon 19 in Newmarket and now resides in Baldwin Ontario.
Christine Stewart has been working in the social services sector in Northern York Region for the past 25 years. Christine studied Linguistics specialized honours and theatre at York University, holds an honours diploma in Social Services from Seneca College and studied American Sign Language at Bob Rumble Centre for the Deaf and The Canadian Hearing Society. Christine is a passionate advocate for community engagement, registered Social Service Worker, volunteer infertility support group counsellor and former television host. Christine brings a broad range of experience to the team from support group facilitation, fundraising, community engagement, poverty and homeless advocacy, mental health and developmental service programming, food security supports and counselling for youth at risk. As a professional speaker, consultant, mother and wife, Christine hopes to share her professional and personal experiences with grief to support the growth and development of Oasis.
Christine is a previous 20 year employee with RBC and a founding member of Oasis. Through RBC she rolled out national programs that supported service delivery changes, she worked 3 years on the national finance team and lead national training and enablement team. Currently she is self employed, Chair of a local Electoral District Association, a board member with the East Gwillimbury Friends of the Library, a board member on the North Union CRCC and a former member of the East Gwillimbury Environmental Advisory Committee. She was educated at Western University and is a long time resident of York Region. Having experienced loss herself and having helped families work through the estate settlement process in her time with the bank, she is excited to help establish the safe place to go when everyone and anyone needs assistance to walk down a very difficult life path.
Pat has more than 25 years municipal experience in recreation and administration. She has also had significant involvement over many decades with not-for-profits including community fundraising endeavours. Pat is a very focused and passionate person. She strives to meet multiple demands to ensure the job gets done.
Jennifer is the founder of Sault Spring, a volunteer-based marketing agency for social and environmental enterprises. For the past 20 years Jennifer has worked for global Fortune 500 organizations and is currently the Head of Marketing for Walmart Canada Bank. Jennifer’s passion is caring for the people around her and the planet we live on. She is an active campaigner for the David Suzuki Blue Dot Movement and a member of the Aurora Environmental Advisory Committee. Through Sault Spring, Jennifer’s hope is to combine this passion with her marketing expertise and help her clients achieve their goals.