The Wings of Change Team is dedicated to offering peer support with compassion and wisdom. We take great pleasure in providing a secure and welcoming space for public safety personnel, frontline workers, and families seeking non-judgmental, lived-experience support.
Founder and Co-Director
BHSc, ACP (Ret.)
Natalie Harris serves as a Community Outreach Coordinator for the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society and is a former City of Barrie City Councillor. Her journey into the realm of politics was inspired by her pivotal role in the royal assent of Ontario’s PTSD Bill (Bill 163) and Canada’s PTSD Bill (Bill C-211).
A retired Advanced Care Paramedic, Natalie earned the Ontario Paramedic Association’s Exemplary Service Award in 2018. She holds a Bachelor's in Health Sciences from Victoria University, receiving the Outstanding Achievement Award in 2010.
In addition to her impactful career, Natalie is an esteemed educator, collaborating with institutions such as Georgian College and the Sunnybrook Centre for Prehospital Medicine.
A prolific writer, she has authored several books, including "Save-My-Life School: A first responder’s mental health journey," featuring a foreword by six-time Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes. Natalie is also a Huffington Post blogger.
During her tenure as a City Councillor, Natalie played a significant role in the creation of the Cornerstone to Recovery Women's Addiction Recovery Centre - The Garden, highlighting her commitment to addressing addiction issues in the community.
In 2016, Natalie founded the peer support group, Wings of Change, hosting meetings across Canada. Natalie is the visionary behind Addiction Get-Well Cards and has been a speaker at numerous national events, openly sharing her personal battles with addiction and PTSD.
Her contributions to mental wellness have been recognized with induction into the Canadian Women of Impact Gallery. Natalie is a recipient of the John Graves Simcoe Medal of Honour, recognized as one of Barrie’s Leading Women. She was honored with the Tema Conter Memorial Resiliency Award in 2017 and received the One Woman - Fearless Woman Award in 2018. Despite these accolades, Natalie considers her proudest accomplishments to be her role as a mother to Caroline and Adam and a Grammy to Beckham.
Peer Support Educator and Specialist, Peer and Trauma Support Systems (PATSS), ACP (Ret.)
Robin is a former Advanced Care Paramedic and Acting Superintendent with 18 years’ experience in the field of Paramedicine. After receiving a work-related diagnosis of PTSD, Robin was struggling to find support resources locally. This led her to open the first Ottawa chapter of Wings of Change in 2017.
Robin received her certificate in Peer and Trauma Support Systems (P.A.T.S.S.) through the Mood Disorders Society of Canada in 2018 and is a valuable member of the PATSS team of peer support trainers for Mood Disorders Society of Canada. Robin also continues to work with several peer support organizations in Ottawa and across Canada.
The support Robin received through Wings of Change has been an integral part of her healing journey. As a strong advocate for First Responder mental health, Robin strives to share the positive benefits of peer support with all front-line professionals who are on their journey back to wellness.
Co-Director and Founder of Wings of Change Families Peer Support
Peer Support Specialist, Peer and Trauma Support Systems (PATSS)
Tonia is the wife of a firefighter and mother of two daughters. In 2014 her husband Bob was diagnosed with cumulative PTSD. As Tonia learned more about PTSD through their family's journey, she became frustrated with her lack of knowledge and felt that she should have been the first line of defense. It was at this time that the Ferguson family made a pact to help provide support and education to others once Bob was stable. Tonia knows firsthand how critical peer support was to her family, and that their success came from knowing they were never alone.
In 2017, Tonia assisted in organizing a mental health evening for local first responders and their families. She was part of a team that started the Wings of Change North Durham Chapter, where she provided administrative support for the group. Tonia was the lead on extending the WOC program to include family peer support, which was launched in January 2020. In March of 2022, she obtained her Peer & Trauma Support System (P.A.T.S.S.) certificate through the Mood Disorders of Canada. Currently, she is a Family Peer Support facilitator and a member of the P.A.T.S.S. team.
Tonia is passionate about giving back and sharing her family’s story with others. She has become an advocate for helping first responder families dealing with PTSD and Operational stress.
Debi Mohns Joyce
Debi has always wanted to help others. She learned this from watching her father growing up. Help others but don't ask for help. It was important to pay it forward. On her father's encouragement, she became a nurse.
However, years of being "at the bedside", trying to ignore and self-medicate her symptoms, she finally broke. She couldn't just move on - suck it up - let it roll off her back, anymore. Her attempts to help herself were failing. The years of witnessing others traumas would start to emerge.
While in residential treatment and misdiagnosed, she witnessed another traumatic event and initiated the emergency response. The symptoms became magnified. She was no longer self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. Debi could see things clearer, now. The 30+ years of helping her patients and their loved ones, 10 of which she worked in Emergency, this had a massive impact on her. She had PTSD.
Debi admitted herself into another treatment facility and this is where she found Wings of Change. Wings meetings became a pivotal part of her recovery. She was given the role of facilitator and ensured the meeting was left in good hands. Debi continues to be an active participant in our meetings.
Debi has always wanted to help people. She has been a member of a 12 Step program for over 27 years; giving back to others what was given to her.
Together, we can heal our wounds.
Peer Support Advisor
Sylvio (Syd) Gravel
Staff Sergeant (Ret'd), M.O.M., O.O.O.
Syd Gravel, with thirty-one years of experience with the Ottawa Police Service is a founding father of Robin’s Blue Circle established in 1988, co-founder of Badge of Life Canada, and First Canadian Director of the Global Mental Health Peer Network, and now sits as a senior mentor with each of these groups.
He is the founder of the Peer and Trauma Support Systems with the Mood Disorders Society of Canada and presently co-leads and co-facilitates their work.
Syd was inducted as a Member of the Order of Merit in Canada, and was also awarded the Exemplary Medal and Bar and the Order of Ottawa.
He has been consulted on peer support systems not only in Canada, but the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Israel, Kenya, Zimbabwe and the Cameroon and co-developed a variety of training curriculum not only in Canada but the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.
He has authored “56 Seconds” and “How to Survive PTSD and Build Peer Support.” and co-authored “Walk the Talk and “Slay the Toxic Dragon – Police Leadership Impacting Member Wellness”.
Syd presently sits additionally on the Board of Community Living Renfrew, Ontario and as a volunteer retired peer with the OPS.
Syd is an open heart surgery survivor (2019) and is still a competitve powerlifter. In 2022 took the Gold Medal at the Police-Fire Can-Am Games. He performs strongman events for fundraising for hospitals with his spouse Judy, who holds several National and Provincial Powerlifting records. He is married for over 46 years and has three grandchildren.