Sunshine Connection shines light on mental health

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — A topeka organization is giving new hope to people struggling with mental health issues.

Sunshine Connection has become a light for people going through dark times.

Living with a mental health issue can be difficult and often times can isolate those in need of help from the community.

That’s how Marilyn Murphy felt before coming to Sunshine Connection.

“I know how grateful I was that I was able to come to sunshine connection,” said Murphy. “They have saved me on many many occasions from keeping me from being isolated. I’ve gained a lot of friendships.”

Twenty years later, she’s now the director.

“I’m here now to carry that torch on for sunshine and hoping that everything continues for the better.”

Sunshine Connection offers people struggling with mental health a place to come for activities, meals and support.

“The people that come here, they live alone or they live in a nursing home where it’s the same thing all the time and they don’t have the freedom to get out much,” said Activities Director Cara Talley. “So, when they get to go out in the community, they just light up like a torch.”

For clients like Susan Meneghetti, the program has been a saving grace.

“I’ve gained some leadership skills by coming here,” said Meneghetti. “Before I came, I was isolated at home, didn’t go out, didn’t do anything really when i was at home by myself.”

The volunteers at Sunshine Connection have been able to create a safe space for their clients where they feel accepted and understood.

“I’m free here,” said client Patricia Ferrier. “I can express my feelings here. We have groups here. We can talk and it’s like you know, Marilyn, our director said, we’re just one big family.”

Together, they hope to continue helping each other and others in the community overcome the challenges and stigmas associated with mental health.

Volunteers with Sunshine Connection say they are in need of the community’s help. 

Their vans are currently out of service preventing them from picking clients up and taking them out for daily activities. 

The vans are an integral part of their series and they hope to get them up and running as soon as possible.

Donations can be made by mail and in person to:

Sunshine Connection

3434 SW 6th Ave.

Topeka, KS 66606

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