Citizen of the Month:  Renee “Sunshine” Lewis

Where does one begin when it comes to introducing Renee “Sunshine” Lewis? This woman has accomplished more in her life than many could even dream of achieving. A native Atlantan and daughter of the late John H. “Big Hat” and Thelma Lewis, Sunshine has unequivocally lived up to her moniker: She is known near and far as someone who spreads warmth to every person she meets. Whether working on a political campaign, helping families through difficult crises, organizing community events, or brightening the lives of children, Sunshine approaches every challenge with love and compassion. Indeed, she is a voice for the voiceless and offers hope for the hopeless.

For more than 43 years (since age 13), Sunshine has worked alongside distinguished persons from all walks of life, encompassing the realms of elected government and law enforcement officials, civil rights leaders and icons, victim advocates and survivors, recording artists (Gospel and R&B), and so many more. Her affiliations and associations are too numerous to itemize, and her impact is nevertheless undeniable.

A product of the Atlanta Public Schools System and a nursing school graduate, Sunshine played vital roles in major campaigns, endorsements and successful elections of prominent political figures and gained the utmost respect from dignitaries, ranging from the White House (former President Barack Obama) to the local municipality of the Honorable Mayor Kasim Reed.

Although Sunshine was blessed with only one birth son, she is the loving mother and guardian angel of 12 children that she rescued from the dangerous streets of Atlanta, welcoming them into her home and heart and caring for them as her own. She is the proud grandmother to eight “grand-darlings” and her newest addition, a great grandbaby whom she affectionately calls her “grandollin,” along with hundreds of godchildren.

Sunshine’s precious son, Brandon, reclaimed his “Angel Wings” in 2010. She recently organized “Touched By Heaven’s Angel,” Brandon’s Foundation, out of the love he shared amongst our youth to help steer them in the right direction, endeavoring to give them guidance and support as they battle life’s societal ills, such as hopelessness, drug addiction, gangs, educational challenges, truancy, obesity, teen pregnancy and prostitution, bullying, sexual identity, anger management and homelessness.

“Citizen of the Month” features a South Fulton resident who continually gives of his/her time, talent and treasures to make our community, and ultimately the world in which we live, a better place. Could you be next?