Even in summer, the work doesn’t stop

Jul 27, 2023 | News, Newsletter

A small brown dog leads a gray donkey down a gravel and grass track. High bushes and trees rise on each side, and a blue sky is visible in the background.

Hey mom! Look what I found down the road!

We’re in midsummer now, with its long days that stretch until 11 in the evening here in Ireland. It’s a busy time for everyone and everything, making use of every hour to prepare the Sunny Healing Center for our next Exoneree guests, to take care of the animals, and to do needed maintenance wherever possible. I have to remind myself to take a moment and just pause and breathe. And that is something I do daily, sometimes more than once a day.

Meditation is such a beautiful, sustaining practice. Peter and I would always pause together at midmorning and meditate. I still meditate every morning. When we have guests, they’re always invited to join us. And the pets join in, too! Barney finds a warm lap and stretches out while we breathe in and breathe out. 

These days, I find the nicest part of each day is when I go back into the sitting room and sit in the chair where I used to sit with Peter, relax, and let go of the day and meditate.  It is during that time that I feel Peter’s energy with me the most, when all stress and tension is released. It is the happiest time of day.

So, I invite you to take a moment and breathe, too. Pause your day, read our newsletter, and then close your eyes and just breathe in and out for a few minutes. I promise, you will feel better afterward. You can always go to the website and bring up the video for breathing and meditation. They are always there for you. And please feel free to share them with your friends.

Campaign Update: The Sunny Living Center

A group of men and women stand together outside underneath a large red umbrella. The man in front wears a red t-shirt.

Exonerees Paul (now a Living Center alumnus), Danny and Robert with college student volunteers.

Our summer fundraising for The Sunny Living Center continues! We’ve extended the campaign through the end of August so that you can direct your gift to support the Living Center community.

Our fundraising goal is modest, but important. We want to raise $5,000 to cover the expenses involved in running the Living Center in Tampa, Florida. Our community is small, but we have regular maintenance needs like painting the exterior and interior of each home, maintaining the roofs, mowing the lawn and maintaining the landscaping. The laundry facility has had unexpected repairs and replacements in the past year and we received a special funding for that spearheaded by our wonderful volunteer in Tampa, Tyler. And each home has appliances (stoves and refrigerators) that eventually need to be repaired or replaced.

Also, each time a new Exoneree joins the community, we provide a welcome basket with needed items they may not be able to afford right away, including cleaning supplies and linens. And our outreach program is always in need of more funding in order to help Exonerees, old and new, with their bills for rent and phones and food when the occasion arises.

Your donation to this campaign will go directly to the Living Center. You can make a one-time donation or a recurring donation (monthly, quarterly or annually). We’re so grateful for your help!

Life at The Sunny Healing Center

We just completed the second “couples training” and it was a great success! In this new program, we bring an Exoneree and their significant other to the Healing center. The goal is to continue the healing process for the Exoneree and to help their partner better understand them. Both gain tools to support the healing process.

The trauma of wrongful conviction, incarceration, and release (yes, being released from prison is a new trauma in itself!) can make relationships difficult. Exonerees are rebuilding their lives financially and personally, and they also have to rebuild relationships with their children, their parents, and their partners. The process is rough, even in the best circumstances. So, one of our goals at The Sunny Center is to give Exonerees more than support. We teach them ways to get through the tough emotions that accompany the healing process. And with couples training, we can help Exonerees and their partners understand each other better and work through hurdles together.

And this will be the legacy of The Sunny Center Foundation. Those who have had the benefit of personally going through the healing process and receiving the tools in order to manage the process will be able to pass on what they’ve learned to help other Exonerees. And this will go on way past the time when Sunny is able to carry on the work that she and Peter started together. That is what your contribution will help us to do! You will be part of the legacy and the future.

We are so grateful to our supporters, friends, and donors for coming with us on this amazing journey, in order to help with healing, and establishing a new life in this world.

Life at The Sunny Living Center

Remember how we mentioned the need for maintenance and repair at the Sunny Living Center in Tampa? We are already going full-tilt at residence improvements!

One of our units is being renovated right now, thanks to a generous donation of supplies including floor tile from a local building contractor.

Robert, one of the Exoneree residents, is helping with the project. You can see him here, working away!

This is the kind of maintenance and repair that we need to undertake. The Living Center opened in 2018, and now, four years have passed.

In addition to the regular daily maintenance, the units need to be refreshed each year and renovated every few years to make sure they stay in the best shape possible for our Exoneree family.

If you’d like to help us keep the Living Center going for many years to come, please consider a generous donation.

Or, if you’re in the Central Florida area and would like to volunteer your renovation or repair skills, contact us directly!

A summer of love

Sometimes it seems that we can’t do much to help the world around us. But Peter and I have always known that even the smallest act has huge repercussions. If all you can do is send a kind word to a fellow human being—do it! That can have such an incredibly positive effect on a person, who perhaps is having a tough time. Or maybe they’re having an okay day, and your words elevate them into inexpressible happiness. And then they will go on to share that with everyone else that they meet.

Choose kindness every time. Choose love, every time. You’ll help heal the world.

Peace and Love,

Sunny (and Peter)

A new goal for the new year

The end of the old year and the beginning of the new are both busy times, filled with the sharing of gifts with family and friends. And that's why I want to send a personal thank you to all of those who took the time to include us in the sharing of gifts during this...

Remembering Peter

My dear Peter is gone.
We sang him home on the last day of the year, gathered around his bedside as we had done for so many days before.

‘Send them green.’ A special message from a Sunny Center supporter!

“I had the wonderful opportunity to be a guest at the Sunny Center this past July. My first trip to Ireland, it always is a magical moment to visit friends who live overseas…”

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.

The power of art to heal and renew

Did you know that Peter was a woodworker and an artist? He created so many things. But more importantly, he taught those skills to other Exonerees when they visited the Center.

Looking for green shoots

Photo by Samantha Bookman. Peter and I chose to situate the Sunny Healing Center here in this beautiful location in the west of Ireland. A newcomer may at first see only a barren, rocky, windswept landscape. But, put your hand on the earth here, and you can feel the...

A message from Sunny about Peter

The time has come to say farewell to our dear Peter, who is in the process of transitioning from this body and this plane.

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.

Love Is Always 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.

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.