Our Mesa Leadership tour Monday took us on a wonderful visit to Sunshine Acres Children’s Home in northeast Mesa.
What is it? “Sunshine Acres provides a loving, wholesome, Christian home for children who are separated from their parents and help them establish long-term relationships with stable parental figures, preparing them for success in adult life” (from the website).
The home began with a miracle and continues with them today. For an inspiring history of the place, watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzeX6tg6AAU
The place was opened in 1954 by James and Vera Dingman. For 17 years, “Uncle Jim” and “Aunt Vera” prayed for a place where they could care for homeless children. Then the answer to their prayers came in 1953, when they sold their home, and with the help of the Mesa Optimist Club, made a down-payment on 125 acres of Arizona desert with a few run-down buildings.
Sunshine Acres has never taken a penny of state or federal funds. It runs completely on donations and does not solicit in any way.
How long do children live here? “No matter the reason for admission, a child can stay as long as he or she needs a home – even through college. We do not turn away children for financial reasons and we are licensed by the state of Arizona” (from the website).
Fast fact: More than 1,700 have called Sunshine Acres home since 1954.
The dream of Sunshine Acres continues with the Dingmans’ daughter, Carol Whitworth, who is president and CEO of Sunshine Acres. Last year she was named Mesa’s Woman of the Year. Whitworth continues to see Sunshine Acres grow and hopes someday to have 24 homes on the property.
There is also a huge thrift store on the property that sells donated items and the proceeds benefit the children.
For hours of the thrift store and information on donating items, go to: http://thrift.sunshineacres.org/
For more information on Sunshine Acres, visit: http://sunshineacres.org/