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.
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.
Brookline Patch 3/18/14: Dunne Named Brookline Woman of the Year. The Brookline Commission for Women is honored to announce that Mary Dunne has been named the 2014 Brookline Woman of the Year. Currently a preschool teacher for the Brookline Early Education Program (BEEP) at Driscoll School, Mary has been an educator in the Brookline schools for 35 years. She is an enthusiastic, loving, creative and patient educator who works with children whose individual, complex and unique situations create challenges in learning. Mary has dedicated her life to children, their education and their well-being.
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?
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.