The Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation supports local and national programs that increase mental health awareness, strengthen suicide prevention efforts, and offer support and healing through the arts for those affected by suicide and mental illness. Since 2001, the Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation has contributed a total of $1.4 million to the programs listed below.
The Adolescent Depression Awareness Program seeks to educate high school students, teachers, and parents about adolescent depression. ADAP offers a student curriculum, an instructor training, and parent and community presentations. Through education, ADAP increases awareness about depression and bipolar disorder, stressing the need for evaluation and treatment, while decreasing the stigma associated with mood disorders. ADAP has reached over 60,000 students in schools across the country.
For the past thirty years, the Johns Hopkins Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences has hosted the Annual Mood Disorders Research/Education Symposium for continuing medical education on the diagnosis and treatment of mood disorders. This year’s symposium is entitled "Visions for the Future of Mood Disorders Treatment.”
The New Day Campaign uses art-based programming and public engagement to challenge stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and substance use, making the world a more healing place. In 2015, over 92 days, the New Day Campaign presented 16 art exhibitions and 62 public events in the Baltimore region. The Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation was a proud sponsor of the 2015 New Day Campaign exhibition Touched with Fire: Kristin & Elisif at McDonogh School’s Tuttle Gallery. The exhibition featured works by Kristin Rita Strouse and Elisif Bruun, two artists who died young and whose journeys through creativity both illuminated and obscured their passages through mental illness and addiction.
In 2016, the New Day Campaign set a course to continue as an ongoing presence and organization. Currently The New Day Campaign continues to offer events, exhibitions, and community gatherings bringing creative and compassionate hearts together to challenge stigma. The Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation is a proud sponsor of the 2017 New Day Campaign. Where stigma ends, healing begins.
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) offers compassionate care to all those grieving the death of a loved one serving in our Armed Forces. Since 1994, TAPS has provided free, 24/7 comfort and hope to surviving families and loved ones through a national network of peer support and grief resources. KRSF will once again be a proud sponsor of the 2017 TAPS National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar. In addition, Sharon Strouse has been a presenter at the TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and the TAPS National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar since 2009.
When a child dies, at any age, the family suffers intense pain and may feel hopeless and isolated. The Compassionate Friends provides highly personal comfort, hope, and support to every family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, or a grandchild, and helps others better assist the grieving family. Sharon Strouse has been a presenter at The Compassionate Friends local, regional and national conferences since 2003. KRSF was also a proud sponsor of The Compassionate Friends 2015 National Conference “Creative Cafe: Artful Grief Open Art Studio.”
Since 2003, the Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation has supported the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in a variety of ways. The Foundation provides ongoing support for AFSP’s Out of the Darkness Walks and the educational program “The Truth About Suicide: Real Stories of Depression in College.”
The Kristin Rita Strouse Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund was established to foster the development of future artists at Notre Dame Preparatory in Baltimore, Maryland. The Kristin Rita Strouse Creative Excellence Award is given annually to an eleventh grade student in support of advanced training at a Pre-College Summer Program. Selection is based on talent, the submission essay, and financial need. Past recipients: Jennifer Guido, 2002; Nichole Drummond, 2003; Lindsay Marsh, 2004; Tessa Burke, 2005; Sarah Miller, 2006; Kathryn Regan, 2007; Alexis Sanders, 2008; Lucia Mangione, 2009; Genevieve O’Keefe, 2010; Megan Hill, 2011; Kristin Hunter, 2012; Margaret Herr, 2013; Natasha Svymkiewicz, 2014; and Meredith Egan, 2015.
Rita Project was founded in 2001 by Kimberly Strouse in response to her sister's suicide. Rita is Sanskrit for “truth.” Saint Rita (1381-1457) is patron of the impossible. Rita Project’s mission was to use the arts, via an open art studio, facilitated by art therapists, to help survivors of suicide connect with the power of creativity, and in doing so, foster transformation. Rita Project fulfilled its mission through studios, workshops, and exhibitions. Rita Project officially closed in 2014.
The Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation provided funding for the development of a core-curriculum program on depression that was taught to students and faculty in the college setting. Johns Hopkins University, Maryland Institute College of Art, University of Maryland Baltimore County and Westchester Community College, New York, participated in the planning of a menu of effective interventions that could be offered to increase knowledge, awareness, and treatment of depression.
The Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation was a proud sponsor of the book Most Commonly Asked Questions About Teenage Depression & Bipolar Illness by Sallie Mink, R.N., the 2004 lecture series “The Lifespan of Women: Childhood to Pregnancy.”
The Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation was a proud sponsor of the 2006 Notre Dame Preparatory School lecture by Dr. Lisa Machoian, author of The Disappearing Girl: Learning the Language of Teenage Depression. From 2002-2005, the Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation funded professional development awards for the following individuals: Ann Walker: Art Professor, Notre Dame Preparatory: 2002; Father Ray Chase: Illuminations: 2003; and Kirsten D’Andrea Hollander: Visual Arts and the Spiritual: 2005.
In 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, the Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation funded educational scholarships for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshops sponsored by Pastoral Counseling Services of Maryland. ASIST is the world’s leading suicide intervention workshop in which participants learn to intervene and help prevent the immediate risk of suicide over two days of training.