August 2018 Newsletter

Aug 10, 2018 | Uncategorized

Dear Friends of The Sunny Center,

Our summer vista. 

We are aware that this year is quickly unfolding and September is around the corner. When we look back at 2018 so far, we are pleased that we have accomplished far more than we had ever expected. For example, this year, we have already had four exoneree guests – one of whom was our first female exoneree – from three countries, and we are expecting at least four more in the final remaining months of 2018. And keep an eye out for the newsletter next month, as we will have a special announcement!

Of course, we are well aware that none of this would be possible were it not for your ongoing support. We are so grateful that you believe in the Sunny Center and its mission and are willing to give generously to make sure we can continue to offer a healing sanctuary to those who need it most.

Time is passing. So, all we have is the moment, right now. This very second. And we should all make the most of the present, supporting the causes we believe in and the people we know have suffered.
Thank you, our good, kind readers and friends. 


OUR EXONEREE GUESTS AND VISITORS

Our exoneree guest Robert enjoying an Irish summer delight.
 

We have enjoyed an amazing summer, which has been busy with guests and visitors arriving at our Connemara cottage. We said goodbye to Robert, who left our home but not our hearts after a restorative stay that included sampling his first 99 Flake ice cream!

We also welcomed an exoneree from Taiwan, who arrived with a translator and seemed to adjust very quickly to his Irish welcoming. Our local friends have decided to call him Liam. Through the translator, he has told us that he has found peace here. Even though Liam doesn’t speak the same language, we found connection nonetheless. One day he went up the mountain with Peter and our helper Mike to work on the water system and there was no language barrier. It was simply three men at work. There was great bonding and it turned out to be a very successful day.

We also had a photographer come from France to take portrait photos of Peter and Sunny as part of an initiative to take as many photos as possible of people wrongly convicted, sentenced to death and later exonerated. This collection of portraits will exhibited in Brussels at the EU headquarter in February of 2019. All the photos were taken of the subject against a black background making eye contact with the viewer.


OUR VOLUNTEERS 

Tress and her donkey friend.  

We said “Slán” to our volunteer Tress who helped us out taking care of the goats, walking the dogs, and watering our many plants, among other things. She has been an invaluable volunteer and is planning to return for a fourth time later this year!


OUR FURRY AND FEATHERED FRIENDS

Morning procession.
 
We may have the most photogenic herd of goats. We have found that whenever we post photos or videos of them, they practically go viral! Although, the donkeys Rodge and Paudge are also pretty popular. Come to think of it, all our furry and feathered friends seem to have a following! All are well and have been enjoying the sun and warmth of summer. 

OUR ACTIVISM 

Front row, left to right, Marla, Peter and Sunny, along with students at Oxford.

This past month, we went to Dublin to meet up with our old friend Steve Earle, the renowned musician and mutual friend who first nudged us to meet 20 years ago. Then we journeyed to Oxford, England where we met up with Marla Mitchell-Cichon, who teaches law at Cooley Law School and arranged for our visit to Oxford University to talk about our experiences and the Sunny Center with students there. We were very well received and Marla and the Sunny Center hope to collaborate in the future in a number of productive ways. 


Sunny smiles on Sunny and Peter.

Last month we asked our newsletter readers, “What does justice mean to you?” and our favorite answer was from Marylla who said, “John Paul II said, ‘There is no peace without justice.’  This month we are wondering, “When do you feel most free?” Please send us your thoughts about this to thesunnycenterfoundation@gmail.com and we will share in next month’s newsletter. We love hearing from you!
 
But even if you don’t have a response to this month’s question, we do hope you will stay in touch in other ways –reading this newsletter, following us on Facebook and Twitter, checking out our website and sending us emails. We want you to feel part of the Sunny Center family, too. One other very direct way to feel part of the Sunny Center is by making a donation, large, small or in between. We are so grateful! 
 
So in these waning days of summer, enjoy the present. Every. Single. Moment.
 
Peace and Love, 
 
Sunny and Peter 

Wishing You a Summer of Healing, Hope and Joy

While the start of summer certainly feels much calmer and more certain than it did last year, plenty of activity is going on at The Sunny Center!

More Than 2,700 Exonerees Need Your Help

The need for resources and change within the system is immense. But together, we can start making a difference right away!

You Can Make A Difference for Exonerees Right Now

We are happy and hopeful that we can soon return to working in person with fellow Exonerees. But you can help us right now, even from far away.

You Are Beautiful

It doesn’t matter what shape you are or what size you are. It matters how you feel inside. You are who you are. That’s you. The beauty comes from the energy that you radiate from within.

Exoneree Terry Wanzer, In His Own Words

Terry Wanzer was exonerated in 1996. But it took more than 24 years for the state of Georgia to clear his record. Read Terry’s story.

Celebrating Spring With Our Furry & Feathered Friends

With spring well underway, we thought it a great time to update you on how all of our friends at the Healing Center are doing!

Our Activism: Moving the Needle for Exonerees

March was another great month for activism. We got the word out about the struggle that Exonerees face after being freed, and raised awareness of the need for housing, counseling, medical care, and more – all the things that humans have a right to, and that have been denied to Exonerees for so long.

Watch: Dealing With Grief

It seems these days there is more and more to grieve about: the loss of our normal way of life, the inability to gather together. And sometimes we have to grieve over the emotions that we have to put aside until another time.

One Year On, A Silver Lining During the Time of Covid

Finding a connection even during social distancing. Connection is at the heart of what we do at The Sunny Center. And the pandemic, while making it harder to connect for everyone, made things especially hard for Exonerees. Whether they were recently released or have...

Exoneree David Stonecypher, In His Own Words

David Stonecypher was exonerated in 2019 after more than a decade behind bars in the Philippines. Like many Exonerees, he is facing the challenge of building a new life in a world that has changed dramatically while he was struggling to prove his innocence.

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