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

Aug 4, 2021 | News, Newsletter

Another gorgeous sunset at the Sunny Healing Center.

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.

In this issue, we are highlighting the problem that Exonerees face when dealing with everyday legal issues: things like creating a living will, assigning power of attorney, divorce, custody and visitation rights, and even just getting a state-issued ID or driver’s license. Many of us see these as minor annoyances but they can be overwhelming hurdles to Exonerees.

Read on to learn what our dedicated volunteers are doing right now to help Exonerees and what’s planned in the near future. Your help is so essential to this work. Please consider a donation to The Sunny Center at the link below.


Living Wills at The Sunny Living Center

Exonerees frequently face serious medical challenges due to the stress of wrongful conviction and incarceration. Since we established the Sunny Living Center in Tampa, Florida, a few years ago, two of our residents have experienced a life-threatening illness or medical procedure.

Our volunteer Tyler (left) is coordinating with other law students and professors and is helping us to establish a living will / power of attorney for anyone connected with the Sunny Living Center. This makes it possible for their designees to make decisions for them if they are incapacitated by an illness or medical treatment.

Sharing What We’ve Learned

Exonerees everywhere struggle with issues like this every day. They also struggle with bureaucracy as they try to get on to housing lists. For example, male exonerees are almost always at the bottom of housing lists, and there are increasingly fewer apartments available in the U.S. to those who need stable housing the most. Even catching up on utility bills can be daunting for Exonerees.

We are developing a template for Exonerees anywhere in the United States to reference via our website so they can learn what steps to take when dealing with the types of legal issues we all must face at some point in our lives. This way, The Sunny Center – and you! – can be a positive force in the lives of Exonerees across the U.S.

And, of course, Exonerees that we work with continue to have access to our outreach coordinator, Dorothy, who can guide them through the process. With her experience and expertise, Dorothy helps our Exonerees through the overwhelming bureaucratic maze that has become even more daunting since the advent of the pandemic. We need your help to ramp up this education and assistance effort. Donate by clicking the button below. If you’d like to learn more about volunteering remotely for programs like this one, contact us here.


Wish Lists: Help Exonerees Directly

Three men stand arm in arm.

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

Terry’s wish list
David’s wish list
Paul’s wish list
Danny’s wish list
Joseph’s wish list

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.


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!

Help us go viral (in a good way, not like a coronavirus)!


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

An incredible opportunity to support The Sunny Center

We are so excited to announce that our board member, artist Peter Tunney, is auctioning two of his masterpieces.  You can go directly to usatoday.com/nft to get all the details.

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.

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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