September 2020 Newsletter: Gratitude Comes From the Heart

Sep 22, 2020 | Newsletter

Dear Friends of The Sunny Center,

A shady place to relax and be grateful at the Tampa Living Center.

“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.” – Amy Collette

In this tumultuous year, we have found so many reasons to be grateful. We are grateful for our health and energy that allows us to keep making the Sunny Healing Center a wonderful place for exonerees to visit once the pandemic eases. We are grateful for the volunteers who are helping us here and in other countries. And we are so grateful to you, for supporting us in our mission to help those exonerated of crimes they did not commit to start rebuilding their lives.

This month, we have a moving message from Exoneree and Sunny Living Center resident Danny.

And our outreach and activism continue remotely, even as we isolate during the Covid crisis.


Around the Healing Center

Our poly tunnel is being installed as we write this! We are so grateful to our Canadian friends who donated funds for us to purchase a new poly tunnel. This will enable us to grow vegetables through the winter. THANK YOU CANADIAN SUPPORTERS!! Thank you Linda Rosier for initiating the fundraiser for The Sunny Center!

We also received a box of books and healing stones from our friends Carrie and Todd in Tennessee! We are hoping that one day soon Carrie and Todd will be able to offer their beautiful farm for healing retreats. Sunny is now able to reach every spot on the property thanks to the golf cart, which we received in August. It’s a used cart that was directly donated to us, but as far as we’re concerned it’s a luxury spaceship that helps Sunny and Peter take care of the many outdoor tasks required to get the Center ready for winter and Exoneree guests in the future.

Now Sunny is able to use the golf cart to go up into the fields to feed carrots to the horses! And she can go down the road to feed apples to the donkeys.


Life at the Tampa Living Center

We want to congratulate Clemente for taking a big step and moving out of the Living Center to live with his girlfriend and his dog. Best of luck Clemente in your new home! We feel this is a success and you, our supporters, should feel very proud to have been part of it.

During the six months that Paul has been a resident at the Sunny Living Center, there has been much improvement.

Paul has done a lot of fixing and improvements of the grounds. Thank you, Paul!

Robert, our newest resident, has been settling in nicely. These days, government offices are not open so it has been challenging to help Robert through all the bureaucratic hoops one must jump through in order to begin a new life. We are very pleased to be able to work with the state attorney’s office in order to provide housing for wrongly convicted people when they are released. They have been working very closely with us and Robert’s attorneys to make his transition go as smoothly as possible.


Danny is now home from the hospital and rehab. He’s trying to learn how to manage as he slowly recovers from his ordeal. Fortunately, he has his Exoneree brothers and our outreach coordinator, Dorothy, to give him a hand. It is still very difficult for him to get around and he requires some special equipment. But he is strong of will, of heart and of faith, and is making good progress.

And a special thanks to Jon Eldan of the Innocence Network for helping to arrange dental appointments for Exonerees! It’s always easier to smile when one has a lovely set of teeth to show! And a lot nicer to eat as well!


Exoneree Profile: Danny

My name is Danny, and I reside at The Sunny Living Center. I’ve been here since September of last year. This was working good for me, allowing me to attend meetings regularly, as well as being part of three Innocence Project functions.

However, in May, I had to be rushed to the hospital, severely ill. I had an infection all the way down my spine. I was unconscious for more than a month. I had three strokes, two blocks, transfusions, and a procedure on my lungs. I am recovering now, but it is a slow process.

I’m writing to ask if someone will help me get a hospital-style bed that rises up, so I can get out of it more safely. Thank you.


Our Volunteers & Supporters

Our regular supporter, Margaret, who volunteers to do our shopping weekly, has been bringing her son, Marcus, to give our dog Barney a good walk. Here is Barney showing his gratitude to Marcus. Thank you, Marcus! Woof woof hooray!

Caitriona, one of our lovely Irish volunteers, spent the day with Sunny helping to sort out the clothes for the changing seasons, from summer to winter. And she helped prepare the guest rooms in the hopes that we might have guests coming to the Healing Center again. Thank you, Caitriona!

A new volunteer in the U.S., Joseph, is a sophomore in college and is studying law. Joseph is helping us to compile a list of organizations and attorneys that work with Exonerees to help to free them so that we can reach out to help their clients. Thank you, Joseph!


Our Activism

This month, Sunny recorded an interview which will be shown at the Ministry of Justice in the U.K. in a few weeks. We frequently share our story with organizations working to help those incarcerated, but we don’t often get the opportunity to speak directly to those in major government organizations who have such a direct effect on the lives of those who must navigate the justice system.

Using Zoom when possible, other times regular phone calls, Sunny and Peter have endeavored to stay in touch and do healing work with our Exoneree family.


Our Furry & Feathered Friends

Claire says she would love another carrot please!


Last month we were invaded by cows! And there was even a bull among them. This month we have fenced in the entire property. Now the horses will have plenty of grass to eat for the winter, and we won’t have to be constantly repairing the stone walls where the cows have knocked it down.

Milly keeping Mrs. Chuckles company until we get some more hens. Peace and love among the creatures at The Sunny Center.


Video Offering

Integrity
To really know what’s right, rather than what you feel is right, it is necessary to get past the emotions that drive us in certain situations.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Survival Yoga videos!


Support Us

The time of Covid has changed how we work with exonerees. Instead of bringing them to be with us at the Healing Center, we have to reach out remotely. Your donations can help us to reach more exonerees at this time as their needs are great. We are providing Uber and Lyft gift cards for transportation, gloves and masks, and hand sanitizer. And we desperately need help to be able to continue to pay our support personnel, whose work has doubled as a result of the quarantine.

For the price of a cup of coffee and a doughnut monthly, you can make a big difference for the Sunny Center and for our Exonerees. Please consider a $5 or $10 recurring donation.


Stay Connected

Our days at The Sunny Center are always full from morning to evening. We stay busy! There is always lots to do around the house and the garden, plus our outreach efforts and calls with Exonerees. But sometimes, it is important to take a quiet, still moment to relax, cuddle up, and recharge.

We treasure these moments. And we want all Exonerees to experience peace and fulfillment in their lives. That’s why we started The Sunny Center, so we can help those who have been exonerated to step onto the path to healing and building healthy new lives, so they, too, can just feel peaceful again.

Peace and Love,
Sunny & 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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