Love Is Always the Answer

Feb 21, 2022 | Activism, News, Newsletter

Valentine’s Day is all year round here at The Sunny Center, because we know that love is the answer!

Winter is always a little bit quieter than the rest of the year. After a long day spent maintaining the Sunny Healing Center and getting it ready for visitors, it’s time for us to cuddle up with the kittens and, of course, Barney, on chilly winter evenings with a warm fire in the hearth.

This is the kind of life we want all Exonerees to have: one filled with love, laughter, warmth and security. It’s one reason why we get up every day to work with Exonerees and help them on their healing journey.

This month we have fantastic news to share, so keep reading! Big things are beginning to happen at The Sunny Center. You can be a part of the adventure – click below to donate directly, or visit https://sunnycenter.org to learn how you can help.

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.


Peter Tunney Artwork

Love is the answer: Above is one of Peter Tunney’s signature artworks, a collage that says, “Love Life.”  Check it out at Instagram! Peter is one of our strongest supporters and a dear friend.

Gannett Newspapers interviewed Peter in November about what drives his art and why he supports The Sunny Center and those who have been wrongly imprisoned. Read it here!


Around The Sunny Healing Center

Big news! We will very soon be opening the Healing Center to Exoneree visitors. It’s been a long two years, but we spent the time preparing our new center so that it’s ready to host Exonerees who are starting their healing journey.

Our program is unique: We work one-on-one with Exonerees during their stay. Our mission is one of healing and hope. Exonerees also work with a therapist, and they have access to yoga teachers. We cook fresh, healthy food for them and teach them how to prepare healthy meals. At the Center, Exonerees can learn skills like gardening, woodworking, and more. Our animals are another form of therapy for them. They are surrounded by nature in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

We’re so excited and looking forward to hosting Exonerees again!


Around The Sunny Living Center

Through Dorothy, we received a donation of appliances and cabinets so we could upgrade one of the housing units.

The neighbors around the Living Center have asked our Exonerees to help them with their security systems. We’ve become trusted members of the community. That’s a huge step in helping people to understand that our Exonerees are enthusiastic about being good neighbors. They’re really becoming part of the community!


Volunteers

Margo and Tress enjoy the wild seashore of the west of Ireland. They both recently volunteered at the Sunny Healing Center. We’re so grateful for their help!

Our Activism

Last month, we did an interview with the brand-new Manchester University Innocence Project. We discussed the impact that wrongful conviction has on people, and how important it is to recognize and treat the trauma of being wrongfully convicted.

Employer Reference Project

We’re working with two professors from the University of Pennsylvania on one of our new projects – to create a reference for exonerees who are trying to get employment. This reference also enables employers to connect with other employers who had a good experience hiring employees.

Getting hired is very difficult for exonerees because employers are concerned about hiring someone who’s been in prison—even if they were wrongfully incarcerated. This database can be used as a reference and will be helpful for Exonerees and employers.

Have you hired an exoneree or know of someone who hired an exoneree? Are you an exoneree who was successfully hired? Contact us to join the reference database!


Support for Exonerees

New Group Meeting Forming

In our next newsletter, we hope to be announcing the launch of this new program for anyone and everyone whose life has been impacted by wrongful convictions!

We are developing an open meeting for Exonerees and anyone whose life has been impacted by a wrongful conviction: family members, friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, even the lawyers who defended Exonerees  – so we can begin to share each other’s stories and concerns, successes and failures.

Through this new program we can help each other begin to understand each other’s needs, work to become more harmonious, and develop better relationships. One of the biggest hardships when an Exoneree is released is their relationship with loved ones, because they can’t understand each other.

We will have Exoneree mentors – those who have been through it – to mentor those who are just starting to go through the process of rejoining society and healing. This creates a safe space to do that.

Contact us if you’re interested in participating!

Sundays With Sunny

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.

Outreach

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

Finding Peace, Joy and Hope

The events in Ukraine over the past several days have been ever-present in all of our lives through the daily news and constant social media. These times can be especially difficult for Exonerees because of the traumas they are working to overcome.

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.

A Happy, Healthy and Healing New Year to All

Love has no barriers and no limits. And neither does our gratitude for your continuing support and friendship. Know that you are never alone, because you are part of our family.

Happy Holidays to Our Friends Near and Far!

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.

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)!

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!

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