Creating an Impact in Diverse Communities

This piece originally appeared as a Volunteer Spotlight Story in AFSP’s 2019 Annual Report. For other inspiring and emotional Volunteer Spotlight Stories, and to learn more about our exciting work, visit afsp.org/2019report.

Markita Madden-Puckett made a significant contribution to suicide prevention this year by creating an important dialogue with the black and international community (largely Hispanic-Latino) in the rural area of Virginia in which she lives. Markita sought out opportunities to engage with diverse audiences by partnering with the NAACP, and through events such as the African American Festival, Pride Festivals, and International Festival in the Shenandoah Valley.

Markita, who lost her father and two brothers to suicide, sees her mission as breaking down barriers, and starting and keeping conversations going in communities that do not readily discuss suicide and mental health.

“As a volunteer for AFSP, I feel the impact of unspoken beliefs rooted deeply within my community, in which many feel they cannot openly admit that mental health struggles are real. Our message of prevention has to be both culturally aware and culturally sensitive. I’ve found that having one-on-one interactions in which I share my personal story can lead to wonderful moments of connection.”

To learn more about our exciting work and read other Volunteer Spotlight Stories, see our 2019 Annual Report.

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