Sunshine From Darkness hosts successful ‘Inspiring Hope Dinner’
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.”