Happy Holidays to Our Friends Near and Far!

Dec 22, 2021 | Activism, News, Newsletter, Video

Montage of people and pets around The Sunny Center.
Happy Holidays to our friends near and far! Clockwise from top left: Little Una cuddles with Peter; A Christmas tree at The Living Center; Kittens for Christmas!; Barney gets in the spirit of the season; Sunny and one of our lovely hens; Millie views a beautiful winter sunset. Middle: Kittens galore, even on our Christmas cards!

In normal times, our December issue is an annual report about our activities hosting Exonerees at the Sunny Healing Center in Ireland and our work traveling and speaking at events to raise awareness about the needs of those exonerated of crimes they did not commit. But these aren’t normal times. These are extraordinary times. And you’ve all been extraordinary supporters. Thanks to you, we’ve been able to keep helping Exonerees in the midst of a global emergency.

Local volunteers at our Sunny Healing Center in Ireland and our Sunny Living Center in Tampa, Florida, have kept our facilities in shape so that we can continue to serve Exonerees on their healing journey.

In 2022, we will need your help even more. Outreach to Exonerees in the U.S. is a priority for us, as we are able to help many more Exonerees remotely while we wait for travel to normalize.

While cash is the best way to help The Sunny Center, we have many other ways for you to help. Scroll down for our Wish List program where you can help Exonerees directly. We welcome your ideas, too – if you know of a way to help that isn’t listed in this issue, drop us a line!

Video Offering

The holiday season can sometimes be difficult, not just for Exonerees but for everyone. Sunny shares her thoughts on this time of year.

Our Activism

Second chance auction

If you missed the opportunity to own a unique NFT artwork by Peter Tunney, stay tuned on social media (and by subscribing to this newsletter) for a second auction! Proceeds will benefit The Sunny Center directly. Thank you for joining our auction, and many thanks to Peter for providing his artwork and for his many years of support!

USA Today article

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, USA Today and their parent company Gannett published an article Sunny wrote about her experience as an Exoneree. You can read it here. It’s a compelling piece and thanks to Gannett we were able to get the word out about The Sunny Center and our work with Exonerees.

Life at The Sunny Healing Center

December tomatoes from our polytunnel!

Our family of furry friends has changed over the past two years. Once we were settled into our new home, we became hosts to a pair of feral cats and, shortly afterward, a litter of beautiful kittens! The kittens are teenagers now.

Because of the ban on travel during the pandemic, the Healing Center temporarily paused Exoneree stays. But that didn’t mean a pause in work around the Center!

Currently, local volunteers here in Ireland help us with maintenance of the house and gardens and care of our little family of hens, kittens, cats and, of course, Barney.

While we wait to resume full operations and begin bringing Exonerees for their individual stay, you don’t have to wait! We would love for tradespeople  to volunteer in their regions and show Exonerees things like woodworking, masonry, gardening or other employable skills. It doesn’t matter where you are, because we have Exonerees everywhere!

As international travel continues to reopen, we are planning to gear up our volunteer program again. We’ll keep you posted on when this program will restart, but you can find out more about it at our website.

Life at The Sunny Living Center

One of the homes for Exonerees at The Sunny Living Center.

Last week, an Exoneree donated a refrigerator for one of the units at the Living Center. “This is my way of giving back to the people that have helped me so much since the day of my release,” the Exoneree told us. We are so very grateful for this donation!

Located in Tampa, Florida, The Sunny Living Center gives Exonerees a safe place In which to  go through the process of recovering from the trauma of their wrongful conviction experience and rebuild their lives. A secure home is so important. Without it, Exonerees have a very difficult time finding a space in which they feel safe enough to begin to process this trauma. We support Exonerees at this transitional time as they regain their health and build a solid footing from which to start the journey into freedom again.

Dorothy is such an integral part of the Living Center, and we are so grateful to have her! She makes sure the Exonerees at the Center have access to Whatever support they may need. Thank you, Dorothy!

Our Volunteers and Staff

A huge thanks to the volunteers in the U.S. and Ireland who have helped us throughout the year! Volunteers helped our Exonerees with so many things, from getting key paperwork done to maintaining and improving their health and their spiritual well-being. Our thanks to the volunteers below:

  • Cliona
  • Don
  • Dr. Grounds
  • Kevin
  • Joseph
  • Margaret
  • Martina
  • Michael
  • Mike
  • Paidrac
  • Reverend Al
  • Sara
  • Siorse
  • Tom
  • Tyler

Our tireless support team is essential to keeping The Sunny Center Foundation operating smoothly:

  • Abi
  • Arnoud
  • Blake
  • Caitriona
  • Dorothy
  • Samantha
  • Sinead
  • Tress

Contribute Your Skills

Are you an auto mechanic, appliance repair tech, or social media whiz? A chef or baker? Do you specialize in writing resumes? Are you an attorney or law student who can donate some of your time? Are you a medical or dental professional? A veterinarian? You’re needed!

This year, we helped match an auto mechanic to an Exoneree in the Atlanta area who needed his car fixed so he could get to work. We had an attorney volunteer some of his time to help Exonerees in Florida with concerns like wills and care directives. Contact us and let us know what services you can offer—we may not have an immediate need but would love to be able to contact you when that need arises.

Help 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.

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!

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