SARASOTA, FL – In mid-January, Sunshine From Darkness – a nonprofit organization dedicated to the funding of local mental health and addiction services and programs, and mental health research – held its annual Inspiring Hope Dinner at the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota; over 380 were in attendance.
This year’s dinner, themed “Shining a Light on Mental Illness,” featured Grammy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Jennifer Holliday. The original star of “Dreamgirls” performed at the event and also shared the story of her own struggles with depression – including a suicide attempt at the age of 30 – and multiple sclerosis. Now a volunteer advocate for the National Mental Health Association, Holliday spreads the message that there is a healing path out of depression’s darkness.
In addition to Holliday, event highlights included: performances by Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe young artists Samuel “Sammy” Waite, Maicy Powell and Astrid McIntyre; a spirited paddle raise emceed by CK Swett; the presentation of the Lee & Bob Peterson Legacy Award to Bob and Joan Geyer of the Academy at Glengary by Lee & Bob Peterson Foundation president Jeffrey Peterson; and dancing to live band Quintessence.
Event chair was Amie Austin, Ph.D., and event committee chairs were Sarah Karp and Taylor Karp Teymuri. Austin offered words of inspiration about the work of Sunshine From Darkness while honoring the legacy of Lee and Bob Peterson, who cared deeply about our community, who faced the mental health challenges of a loved one, and made it their mission to do something to shine a light on the darkness of mental illness.
“Sunshine From Darkness will continue to raise awareness about mental health and addiction disorders, while promoting and normalizing mental health wellness,” affirmed event chair Amie Austin during her remarks. “We are all here today thanks to Lee and Bob’s determination and dedication. We want to invite you to be a part of this legacy, to build on the past, to improve our quality of life today, and to create new hope for mental health and wellness for future generations to come.”
The event raised well over $200,000, although the final fundraising net is still to be determined. Proceeds will be designated toward the mission of Sunshine From Darkness, the local mental health services of Harvest House and Teen Court of Sarasota, and cutting-edge research funded by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. For more about Sunshine From Darkness, visit sunshinefromdarkness.org.
About Sunshine From Darkness
Sunshine From Darkness is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds for local charities that provide health and addiction disorder services in the Sarasota community and funding cutting-edge mental health research. Founded as a subsidiary of the Lee and Bob Peterson Foundation, Sunshine From Darkness hosts events throughout the year that bring mental health and addiction awareness and education to the forefront of the community, providing professionals and philanthropists with the opportunity to engage with the broader mental health community. Its mission is to raise awareness of mental health and addiction disorders and erase the stigma of both. Sunshine From Darkness is committed to providing resources, education and advocacy for those who have mental health and addiction challenges. Visit sunshinefromdarkness.org.