Sometimes, it takes a (small) army

Jul 15, 2021 | Activism, News, Newsletter

Terry Wanzer had to fight for more than 20 years to have his record expunged, even though he was exonerated in 1996. The impact on his life was terrible: He had trouble getting housing, he couldn’t get a job. Life was difficult, to say the least.

We helped Terry get in touch with an attorney, and in 2020, the state of Georgia finally expunged his record. He is able to apply for housing and other assistance, and look for work, and he doesn’t have to worry so much about his record being a barrier to achieving his goals.

Many people are surprised to learn that Exonerees frequently struggle to have their wrongful conviction removed from state records.

Thanks to the efforts of a Sunny Center volunteer, Carrie, who has become a friend as well as a supporter, we are in the process of organizing a small army of women lawyers who will help Exonerees with the process of expunging their records.

The laws for expunging a criminal record are different in every state, and even every county, so it’s a bit of a challenge. However, the process is the same, so this project will focus on creating a template for going through the process of expungement.

Ultimately, the goal is for exonerated people to have their record automatically sealed or expunged at the time of their exoneration. This helps make it very clear that an Exoneree is not guilty. They should not have to fight their battle all over again, for years and years.

We will update you on this project as it develops, but we are so excited to be moving forward! You can help us continue to support Exonerees’ efforts to clear their names and rebuild their lives.

When you make a donation to The Sunny Center, you’re helping us do so many things. You’re helping to maintain and operate the Sunny Healing Center in Ireland where, in normal years, we bring Exonerees to help them process their experience and step on the path to healing and happiness. You’re helping our residents at the Sunny Living Center in Tampa, Florida. You’re helping to defray the costs involved with our direct work with Exonerees. And helping us with the day-to-day running of the centers and the outreach program.

Any amount helps, no matter how small. Please make a donation today.

Volunteers Make This Happen

Thank you to our newest volunteer Stoss, who has been helping us with social media template design! Visit us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to see all the latest activity at The Sunny Center. And let us know what you think of the new design!

While the pandemic put a temporary pause on the volunteer program, the needs of Exonerees in the U.S. and around the world didn’t go away. From getting a ride to the doctor, to fixing a car so they can get to work, to obtaining basic items like groceries or pet supplies, Exonerees often need a helping hand.

You may be able to help out in specific ways. Drop us a line and tell us about the skills or services you might be willing to provide when needed.

Wish Lists: Help Exonerees Directly

Support an Exoneree directly by purchasing a needed item for them!

Thank you so much for your support! And don’t forget, you can purchase through smile.amazon.com and select The Sunny Center Foundation USA, Inc. as your charity of choice.

See the Wish List FAQ here.

Help Us on Social Media

Can’t donate directly? That’s okay – you can help us by sharing our social media posts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter far and wide!

Support for Exonerees

Women Exonerees are welcome to join SUNDAYS WITH SUNNY, a group online chat where we can share and learn and grow together, and just be there to support one another.

And all Exonerees, please visit our Outreach page and contact us if you need help in any way. We will respond to you. Even if you just need someone to talk to!


Peace and Love,
Sunny and Peter


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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.

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.

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