3/1/14 – The Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund is pleased to announce the recipients of its first-ever 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 14 project proposals were awarded mini-grants:
The Courage to Care Healthy Relationship Summit – at Lincoln-Sudbury High School taking place on March 14
Creation of an evening of a full palette of original arts presentations focused on the challenges and hopes of relationships – at the Munroe Arts Center, in Lexington, tentatively scheduled for fall 2014
Evaluation of Mentors in Violence Prevention and Analysis of the Courage to Care Summit scheduled for March 14 at Lincoln Sudbury High School
Girls’ LEAP Summer Mentor Program in Dorchester focused on leadership training and effective relationships
The Golden Tones’ Chorus musical outreach program
Know the Signs: Public Service Ad Design Campaign on effective relationships – at UMass-Lowell
Mentors in Violence Prevention Training for selected Wayland High School staff
Open Spirit’s Elemental Arts – Day of Creative Exploration – in Framingham
Presentation of “The Yellow Dress” and mentor discussions at Lincoln-Sudbury High School
Presentation of “You the Man” and mentor discussions at Waltham High School
Saying and Doing it with Classical Music for young children – Wayland
Surviving in Numbers, spotlighting the airing of actual experiences in dating violence with the goals of awareness and prevention – Newton
Think Peace Fundraiser and Violence Prevention Awareness in Memory of Andrew Tavares – Dorchester
Wayland High School Audio-visual Upgrade in support of student skills in performance
Boston Globe 12/22/13: The Parents on a Mission: Malcolm Astley and Mary Dunne. Across cultures and religions, it’s a point of near universal agreement for parents: There is no fate crueler than losing a child. So when vibrant 18-year-old Lauren Dunne Astley was murdered a month after her graduation from Wayland High School in 2011, her parents could have been forgiven for turning inward in bitterness. Anyone who glimpsed Malcolm Astley and Mary Dunne sitting through this year’s murder trial of Lauren’s ex-boyfriend could sense just how devastated they continue to be by the theft of their only child’s life. Yet when the sentence of life in prison was read in March, Astley walked to the killer’s parents and hugged them. They’d lost a child, too.
Huffington Post 12/13/13: Deadly Breakups: How to Talk About Teen Dating Violence. Ever since my daughters were small, I have inundated them with broadcasts about the perils of life. Since they could walk and talk, I professed the danger of strangers, and ensured that they looked both ways before crossing. I followed suit later with bigger rules. Don’t drink or text and drive. Don’t go to the bathroom alone at a concert and never get in a car with someone you don’t know. I felt like I was doing my Mom job. When I met Mary Dunne, however, I realized that I was merely scratching the surface.
UUWorld 11/4/13: ‘A crazy gift of tragedy’. Grief is the hard form of caring,’ says Malcolm Astley, the father of a murdered teen. How do you hope when there is no hope? When you have lost your own child, how do you find the strength to make sure that other people don’t lose theirs?
CNN 6/25/13: Teens trained to spot drama before it turns dangerous. Lauren Astley knew her ex-boyfriend was having a hard time getting over their breakup. Nathaniel Fujita hadn’t wanted to end their three-year relationship. He made it clear in a long e-mail, asking her to give him a chance to find “a part of you that still loves me.” But after several “negotiated truces,” as her mother calls them, it was over in May 2011, a few weeks before their graduation from Wayland High School in Massachusetts.
School violence prevention programs typically focus on risk-reduction by teaching girls not to be victims and boys not to be rapists, with no other roles to play. Even though bystander intervention not a new concept, some schools, advocacy groups and corporations are pushing it with renewed vigor in an effort to deter violence.
The goal is to challenge perceptions of “normal behavior” and make teens aware of the nuanced interactions that create a hostile climate. It could be as simple as diverting a friend’s attention when he hollers at a girl on the street, encouraging your sister to talk to her boyfriend instead of secretly checking his texts, sneaking off to call 911 when the popular guys start messing with a girl who’s barely conscious.
Wayland Town Crier 6/6/13: Remembering Lauren Astley at ‘Keep on Sparkling’ event. The second annual “Keep on Sparkling” fashion show on Saturday night at Sandy Burr Country Club will once again celebrate the life of Wayland High School graduate Lauren Dunne Astley, who died on July 4, 2011, and raise money for the fund in her name.
Lauren’s parents, Malcolm Astley and Mary Dunne, started the fund to “make something good come out of this terrible tragedy,” said Astley.
The Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund’s mission is to promote dynamic educational programs, particularly those in the areas of the development of healthy teen relationships, the arts, and community service.
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 aired on March 25, 2013. Click here for the segment.
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.