SARASOTA, FL – Sunshine from Darkness, a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to the funding of mental health research and local mental health services and programs, will soon host its annual fundraising dinner dedicated to making a difference in the lives of those battling addiction and mental illness.
This year’s Inspiring Hope Dinner, themed “Striking Out the Stigma of Mental Illness,” will recognize and feature as keynote speakers the legendary Major League Baseball star and author Darryl Strawberry, and Steve Ford, actor and son of former President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the local mental health and addiction services of First Step of Sarasota and The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.
The event takes place on Friday, November 12, 6:30 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota (1111 Ritz-Carlton Dr.). Co-chairs are Taylor Karp Teymuri and Sarah Karp. Lead sponsors are Elisabeth Waters, the Virginia Toulmin Foundation, and Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
In addition to the keynote speakers, this year’s dinner will feature live music by Quintessence and dancing, live and silent auctions, and the presentation of the Lee and Bob Peterson Legacy Award to the Seidensticker family, in honor of the late Steve Seidensticker.
Sunshine from Darkness President Jeffrey Peterson said he is grateful for the community’s support and recognition of the important work being done by both First Step of Sarasota and The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.
“Our community partners have stepped up in a big way to join us in our efforts to strike out the stigma of mental illness,” said Peterson. “We’re excited to bring Darryl and Steve to Sarasota to share their stories of triumph over addiction and mental health challenges. Their inspiring life stories are sure to move attendees and create greater understanding of the importance of our ongoing work.”
Darryl Strawberry was a renowned right fielder and slugger in the Major Leagues, playing 17 seasons for the New York Mets – helping lead them to a World Series championship in 1986 – and the New York Yankees – winning World Series championships in 1996, 1998 and 1999. He was a feared batter who hit 335 career home runs and was named to the All-Star Game eight straight times from 1984-1991. Strawberry has battled addiction as well as depression and bipolar disorder, and was known nearly as much for his erratic behavior and brushes with the law as he was for his brilliance on the field. Now he travels the country to tell his story and advocate for community support in combating issues of mental health and addiction disorders.
The son of former President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford, Steve Ford successfully negotiated the bumpy road from the White House to a notable 20-year career as an actor in Hollywood (“Contact,” “Armageddon,” “When Sally Met Harry,” “Heat,” “The Young and the Restless” “Secret Service”). He has 25 years of sobriety and recovery from a dual diagnosis of both addiction and depression. He has spoken to hundreds of groups with a transparent but hopeful message of recovery.
Tickets are $325; to purchase or for more information, visit sunshinefromdarkness.org.
Sunshine from Darkness is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to raising funds for mental health research and local mental health charities that provide direct services in the Sarasota community. Founded as a subsidiary of the Lee and Bob Peterson Foundation, Sunshine from Darkness hosts two events each year, the Journey to Wellness Symposium and Inspiring Hope Dinner. These events serve educational and fundraising purposes by providing local community professionals and philanthropists the opportunity to engage with the broader mental health community. In so doing. Sunshine from Darkness meets its mission to raise awareness of mental health and addiction disorders and to erase the stigma of both. Sunshine from Darkness is dedicated to increasing public awareness of mental health and addiction disorders. Its mission is to erase the stigma of mental illness, to educate, advocate, and raise funds for research local charities that provide direct services in the Sarasota community.
First Step of Sarasota offers innovative and comprehensive mental health and substance abuse programs for adults and children, including inpatient, outpatient, residential and telehealth services. The organization offers a full array of programs addressing both the opioid-abuse and the child welfare crises. It provides crisis intervention and detox services, including the Mothers and Infants program, Student Assistance Programs, which provide mental health services in schools, and its Behavioral Health Response Team, a crisis and intervention mobile service. In addition to being licensed by the state, First Step is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. Its mission is to inspire those with mental health and addiction disorders and to transform their lives. Its vision is to create wellness and inspire a first step toward a better tomorrow.
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation is committed to alleviating the suffering caused by mental illness by awarding scientific grants that will ultimately enable people to live full, happy, and productive lives. One hundred percent of donations for research goes to research selected by world-renowned scientists. Since 1987, BBRF has awarded more than $418 million to fund more than 6,000 grants to more than 5,000 leading scientists around the world.