Giving Tuesday November Newsletter 2018

Nov 27, 2018 | Uncategorized

Dear Friends of The Sunny Center​,

L to R, dear friend and supporter Justin Brooks, head of California Innocence Project, Peter and Sunny.

One of our newest and most welcome traditions that embodies all that is good in the world is the idea of Giving Tuesday. The concept may have originated in the US, but Giving Tuesday has become a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and the spirit of giving. It is an observance buoyed by the upcoming holiday season and end-of-year giving.  We are, therefore, reaching out to all our friends and supporters in the US and around the world to connect on the Giving Tuesday! And we would invite you all to remember us on this most generous day of all days. Thank you! Please consider this Giving Tuesday with the gift that keeps on giving – a recurring donation! Any amount will allow us to know we have a steady monthly income so we can spend more of our time helping exonerees in the United States and around the world. Even a monthly donation of as little as $5 per month will help us do the work we do. 


Peter and Ina share smiles.
Our door is always open to exoneree guests, although sometimes there are wrinkles in planned visits when exonerees experience difficulties obtaining passports or are unable to secure a visa to visit the Sunny Center. It is an issue we are working hard to overcome as we want every exoneree who wishes to cross our threshold to have that opportunity.
We also are looking forward to welcoming back our former guest Ina for a second visit, this time with her partner so he can get better understanding of the experience of being an exonoree. 


Peter and his granddaughter Síobhra, who became a Sunny Center volunteer last month.

We have been very fortunate as our volunteer Ryan has been taking great care of our many animals, and our volunteer Paidraig has been taking us to the airport. Angela, our house sitter, always gets big welcome from the dogs and cats!
And, this past month, we also had a volunteer who happens to be a family relation! Peter’s granddaughter, Síobhra, spent some of her October holidays helping us out at the Sunny Center.
For anyone interested in volunteering at the Sunny Center, please apply here at this link



Our Furry Friends waiting for the next guest!
We have been busy getting our feathered and furry friends ready for the winter months ahead. The days are shorter and the nights are cooler, but we stay warm together.


On November 3, we officially launched the “Exonerees for Exonerees” Community in Tampa, Florida. We are proud, honoured and delighted to be able to announce to the world that the Sunny Center now hosts the world’s first and only dedicated community of its kind for people who have been released after Wrongful Conviction.  “This is not just housing – it is Home!” says Sunny. “We wanted to provide safe, secure and sustainable living that would be affordable and be part of a community of exonerees as well as the larger community. And here it is! White picket fences and all.” 

At the Exonerees for Exonerees inauguration, Sunny was in attendance along with Dorothy, our Exoneree Support Coordinator, as well as the new exoneree residents, a representative from the State Attorney’s office, and other supporters and friends. One exoneree, who has been out for 40 years, said, “This is the first time anyone has done anything for me.”
Applications are now being accepted through the website Please specify you are applying for the Exonerees for Exonerees community residence in Florida. 

L to R, Mark Godsey, who oversees development of the European Innocence Network, Carry Knoops-Hamburger, chairman of EIN admissions, and exonerees Ina Post, Dean Gillespie, Peter and Sunny at the 3rd Annual European Innocence Network conference in Barcelona.
L to R, Guadelupe Blanco, organizer of the conference, Dean’s partner Pam and Peter at the EIN conference. 


Edward Mathews at the EIN conference in Barcelona.
On November 9th, the third annual European Innocence Network conference took place in Barcelona, in the region of Spain called Catalonia, which has always stood for freedom and independence. Membership continues to grow and there were 12 countries represented at this year’s conference, including Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Britain, Holland, Spain, Italy, Macedonia, Croatia, Poland, Israel and Switzerland.  It is extremely hopeful to see so many countries dedicated to addressing this human rights and social justice issue. 
Peter now has a very special role within the European Innocence Network community.
During our stay in Barcelona, we celebrated Peter’s 80th birthday and the membership declared Peter the “Godfather” of the European Innocence Network. Cheers!
Sunny and Peter both continue to promote worldwide understanding of the issue of wrongful convictions. Sunny was interviewed for “The Conversation” podcast, which will air on BBC World Service this coming Monday evening, the 26th. And Sunny skyped in, while Peter appeared in person, at a workshop of the National University of Ireland, Galway Innocence Clinic on October 23rd , taught by our coordinator, Anne Driscoll. The students are still commenting about the impact of their visit.


Evening sky from our kitchen window . 

On October 18th, we observed the fourth anniversary of the founding of the Sunny Center Foundation. We have seen our work grow from our first exoneree guest to establishing a permanent community for exonerees .  And we continue to expand the number of people we help to support and heal
Last month we asked our readers, “How can we live in a more just world?” We got this response back from a judge who presented at the European Innocence Network:

Dear all, 
Last Friday, in Barcelona, I heard for the second time (the first one was in Rome) your horrifying stories. In Barcelona I did not have the occasion to express to all of you my deep emotional involvement and shock for something that kidnapped your life for an unbearable long time. The only thought that makes me more at peace is that in my life – as a human being – and in my work – as a judge – having your stories always in my mind will make me a better person.

Thank you

Giuseppe Gennari
This month, on this occasion of Giving Tuesday, we ask our readers, “How can you give back?
If you are so inclined and would like to give back by giving to the Sunny Center, we will happily and gratefully receive your donation. Make it a recurring one! And we do promise to put it to the very best of purposes, helping those who have been harmed by the most grievous injustice of a wrongful conviction.
Happy Giving Tuesday!
And stay in touch. We love hearing from you. 

Peace and Love, 
Sunny and Peter 

It Takes A Community to Help Exonerees Heal

What an amazing summer this has been. We’ve been at home, raising a litter of kittens in our polytunnel and collecting eggs from our hens. And at the same time we have been able to reach out into the world and continue helping Exonerees.

Have you seen Sunny on YouTube?

Yoga and meditation are so central to our life and work at The Sunny Center. We meditate each morning to help us approach the day with a calm, clear mind (and some extra energy)!

Exonerees are succeeding, thanks to you!

Helping people exonerated of crimes they did not commit, setting them back on the path to a fulfilling life, is a monumental task that we depend on the dedication of volunteers, both near and far, to achieve.

For Exonerees, life’s little legal challenges can be huge

Exonerees face many challenges as they rebuild their lives after a wrongful conviction. One of the things that takes a backseat, as they struggle to access essentials like a place to live, medical care, and work, is thinking about how they will be cared for if they get sick.

Sometimes, it takes a (small) army

Terry Wanzer fought for more than 20 years to have his record cleared, even though he was exonerated in 1996. Our friend and volunteer Carrie is working to stop injustices like this.

How to Avoid Toxicity

At a time when it seems so many people in the world are expressing so much anger and hatred, how do you maintain your balance? Watch my latest video and share with us on social media!

About Our Wish List Program

One of our most impactful programs that arose during, and because of, the Covid-19 pandemic is the Wish List program. Through this, people who want to help an Exoneree directly can do so.

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.

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