Jeffrey Peterson

Jeffrey Peterson, son of Sunshine From Darkness founders Lee and Bob Peterson, has announced plans to relaunch the nonprofit organization with a pair of special events: The Journey to Wellness Symposium and Inspiring Hope Dinner on Saturday, March 14, 2020. The goal for both events is to raise awareness and funds for local mental health causes.

“Our mission is to continue the work of my parents and fund local non-profits who provide services for those suffering from mental health disorders and substance abuse,” says Peterson. 

The Journey to Wellness Symposium will be free and open to the public, scheduled from 9:15 a.m.-11:30 a.m. at the Van Wezel Grand Foyer.

The Inspiring Hope Dinner will take place that same evening at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, and will feature speakers Steve Ford, actor, mental health advocate and son of former President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford; Kathy Cronkite, mental health advocate, author and daughter of broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite; and Ron Suskind, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Life Animated.

The Inspiring Hope Dinner will also present the organization’s inaugural Lee and Bob Peterson Luminary Award to both Steve Ford and Kathy Cronkite. Ron Suskind will receive the Lee and Bob Peterson Advocacy Award. The event will benefit mental health and addiction services provided by Coastal Behavioral Health, whose programs serve more than 7,000 local children, adolescents, adults, seniors and families.

Sunshine From Darkness was founded in 1998. Over a course of 13 years, the organization raised over $5 million and served as a champion for research, treatment, education and efforts to erase the stigma of living with mental illness. Notably, the organization contributed substantially to the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, which has provided nearly $400 million in grants to more than 4,700 scientists in more than 550 institutions around the world.

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