UA Little Rock Student Writes Grant to Help Fund Suicide Prevention Programs in Arkansas Jails

Kristina Johnson

A UA Little Rock student has written a successful grant that will help fund a pilot suicide prevention education program in Arkansas jails.

Kristina Johnson, a graduate student in professional and technical writing, wrote the grant on behalf of the Arkansas chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP-AR). The nonprofit received a $10,000 grant from the Roy and Christine Sturgis Trust to supplement funding for a pilot suicide prevention education program in two Arkansas county jails. Bank of America is the sole trustee of the Roy and Christine Sturgis Trust.

The nonprofit’s Project 2025 Corrections Program will offer and evaluate suicide prevention education programs for Pulaski County Regional Detention Center and Garland County Detention Center. Over nine months, they will implement the “Talk Saves Lives: Corrections” suicide prevention curriculum within the jails.

Afterwards, they will gather feedback on what was successful about the program, which will help AFSP-AR gain insight on growing the program in the future. Altogether, they plan to reach 350-500 people in Pulaski and Garland counties through the program. The Project 2025 Corrections Program is also funded by a UAMS Translational Research Institute Community Based Participatory Research Award.

Johnson wrote the grant as part of her fall 2021 grant writing class with Dr. Barb L’Eplattenier, a professor of rhetoric and writing at UA Little Rock.

“This is my favorite class that I have taken in the graduate program,” Johnson said. “It offered real-world experience that is absolutely paramount to grant writing. I learned a lot about myself as a professional, and I have built a great relationship with the nonprofit I worked with.”

Johnson, who also works as a technical writer at MidSOUTH, got involved with AFSP-AR after hearing Susie Reece, a volunteer with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, speak about suicide prevention as part of the Arkansas Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect. Johnson worked with Reece and Jacqueline Sharp, area director of the Arkansas chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, to write the grant.

“I had never written a grant before this class, so I was very proud of the work that all of us did to write and receive the grant,” Johnson said. “I was so proud to use my writing in a meaningful way to help a meaningful cause. The goal is to save lives, and there is nothing quite like knowing that I was able to help with that. This experience has reinforced how important it is for me to use my writing skills in a way that directly helps people.”

Share this Post: