3/1/15 – The Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund is pleased to announce the recipients of its second annual mini-grant program to fund dynamic projects promoting the three arenas of its mission: Effective Teen Relationships & Violence Prevention, the Arts, and Community Service.
In Lauren’s spirit and memory, small grants have recently been awarded to individuals and groups with dynamic project ideas in the above areas.
A total of 15 project proposals were awarded mini-grants:
Creation of a webinar on resources for augmenting high school curricula in relationship awareness, communication, being an active bystander and standing with your friend
Promoting awareness in and education of young males on how to Stand Up against dating and break-up violence
Girls’ LEAP Summer Mentor Program in Dorchester focused on leadership training and effective relationships
Funding for a new production by Wayland High School Theatre Ensembles’ graduating seniors, as well as enhancing the Spring musical
The purchase of tools for a new medium – 3D printing pens for Wayland High School art classes’ creation of 3D sculptures
Campaign and art contest on healthy relationships for Middle School and High School students on Cape Cod
The Golden Tones’ Chorus musical outreach program to homeless shelters
Mentors in Violence Prevention Training for staff and administrators at Wayland High School
The Courage to Care Healthy Relationship Summit for High Schools – at Lincoln-Sudbury High School taking place on March 13
Sponsorship of a Wayland teacher’s Boston Marathon run benefitting Embrace a Family in Natick
Think Peace Benefit Concert in Memory of Andrew Tavares – violence prevention performance in Dorchester includes music, dance and the launching of an original violence prevention comic book
A college student’s thesis project – working on a farm and the creation of a documentary film on sustainable agriculture and impactful daily actions
Documentation of the resources and assets now in place in the Wayland Public Schools that support emerging areas of focus from the Wayland School Committee Summit Health and Wellness Group — including self-regulation, stress management, resilience, moral development and character, and other areas of the Health and Wellness Curriculum.
Support for REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, a non-profit organization providing safety and support to survivors of abuse while engaging communities to promote healthy relationships and prevent domestic violence.
Dr. Astley was named an “All-State School Committee Member” in recognition of his strong commitment to the education and welfare of children and for his clear understanding of his role as a school committee member.
The award was presented at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees and the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents.
The All-State School Committee was established to recognize significant achievement on the part of local school committee members annually. This recognition is intended to honor school committee members who, during the previous year, have made a significant contribution to their community or their school committee through specific action or as an inspiration and role model for their peers and constituents.
“Malcolm Astley was thrust into the public spotlight as the result of tragedy that struck his family. In the face of sorrow of losing his daughter, he channeled his energies into something positive, becoming one of the state’s most respected spokespersons for victims of violence and abuse,” according to the statement accompanying the award presentation. “He has spoken powerfully to a nationwide audience about respect and forgiveness and justice in the face of loss.”
Astley was a principal before retiring and joining the Wayland School Committee, and is a developmental psychologist by training.
CBS Chicago 10/6/14: Video Honors Indiana Teenager Murdered By Ex-Boyfriend. A video has been launched in honor of a Northwest Indiana teenager who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, and as a way to get the message of teen dating violence out. The five minute long video is part of an anti-violence message aimed at teenagers put together by the Caring Place in Valparaiso.
CBS Boston 9/27/14: Performance Raises Awareness Of Teen Dating Violence To Honor Wayland Victim. A performance to draw attention to teen dating violence was presented in Lexington Saturday in honor of Lauren Astley, the Wayland teen who was killed in 2011 by her ex-boyfriend Nathaniel Fujita. Lauren’s father, Dr. Malcolm Astley, took part in the performance of “Break the Silence” at Jonas Clarke Middle School in Lexington.
Boston Globe 9/21/14: Lexington event hopes to stop the silence on dating violence. According to the American Psychological Association, about 1 in 3 teens and young adults reports being the victim of dating violence through physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse. One of the faces of this disturbing statistic belongs to 18-year-old Lauren Astley, who was killed July 3, 2011, by her ex-boyfriend, Nathaniel Fujita, just weeks after their graduation from Wayland High School. Time has not eased for Malcolm Astley the loss of his only child, yet the Wayland resident remains committed to sparing others his anguish. “Lauren’s loss has its horror and pain,” Astley said, “but it’s the three to four women killed each day in this country [due to dating violence] that she stands for.”
Through support from the Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund, a free program will further that mission. “Break the Silence: An Evening of Drama, Poetry, Dance, and Music” will be held on Saturday, September 27, at 7:30pm at Jonas Clarke Middle School, 17 Stedman Road, in Lexington.
Wayland Town Crier 9/23/14: Astley Fund supporting ‘Break the Silence’ performance. An evening of music, dance, poetry and theater with a message will open the Munroe Saturday Nights season in Lexington on Saturday, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m.
The show is an original performance written and designed by Lexington residents and artists. Free and open to the public, the show will use drama, music, poetry and dance to shine a light on how relationships become violent, how victims and observers can recognize the signs, and how concerned friends and family can intervene in the cycle that leads to violence.
Blog post by Kim Gallagher 9/22/14: Milk Cartons When Yeardley Love died two months later at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, I watched the distance disappear entirely as the horror descended on our breakfast table, taking away our breath and every ounce of our innocence. Yeardley’s death didn’t bring with it the uncertainty — or even the hope — of her face on a milk carton or billboard or the back of a truck. Her story took over every conversation, coaches’ talks at practice, and the modern-day version of the milk carton: television and social media.
NECN 6/18/14: Broadside: Preventing breakup violence. On July 11, 2011, the community of Wayland, Massachusetts, embraced a grieving family and paid respects to a beloved teenager. It was the memorial service for Lauren Dunne Astley, a warm, talented 18 year old who had just graduated from Wayland High School when she died at the hands of her former boyfriend.
After the service, a local minister shared the hopes of many for Lauren’s parents. “I hope they know that there’s always new life, in ways we don’t understand, and I hope they know that the community here really does care,” said Rev. Stephen O. Voysey of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Weston. The former boyfriend who murdered Lauren is now serving a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. As for her parents, they continue a mission of teaching and healing in Lauren’s memory.
Wayland Town Crier 6/9/14: Spreading the joy of classical music. Twin brothers Matthew and Andrew Ludwig, cellists and students at Wayland High School, have been awarded a mini-grant from the Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund to encourage the appreciation of classical music in Wayland’s youth. “Most people listen to music on the radio, but they don’t have a chance to be part of the chorus or know the theory behind the different rhythms,” Andrew Ludwig said. “It makes you think differently.”
Boston Globe 6/5/14: Parents of slain teen dedicated to ending dating violence. In Malcolm Astley’s house, it looks as if his daughter Lauren will be back any moment to pack for college. In her bedroom, which she painted sea-foam green, there are stacks of clothes on the bed, a Vera Bradley bag hanging on the closet door, fashion magazines on her desk, and a book her father bought her to take to Elon University in North Carolina: “The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into In College.” But Lauren Astley never got the chance to go to college. On July 3, 2011, about a month after she graduated from Wayland High School, she was killed by her former boyfriend, who was still enraged that she had broken up with him in the spring.
Mary Dunne and Malcolm Astley were interviewed by Katie Couric who has been putting the spotlight on the problem of intimate partner violence for years. The interview focused on prevention and can be seen here.
The board of the Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund is greatly appreciative of the pro bono legal services of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C and of ML Strategies for advice and research.