Mission & Action

20100903_lauren_astley_235-3The 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.

Mission in Action.  The focus of the Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund has been on funding educational initiatives in the Boston area. Our promotion of healthy teen relationships also reflects themes of the arts and community service.

Actions

Summer 2014

We are thrilled to announce the establishment and funding of a new statewide initiative to pilot programs on effective relationships and violence prevention in 10 Massachusetts schools, grades 5 through 12. This groundbreaking measure was included in the state budget by the state legislature and signed by Governor Deval Patrick. This is a major milestone for Massachusetts, certainly a big step in the right direction.

Malcolm and Mary personally visited many state representatives and all state senators’ offices to offer education on the problem of dating violence and urge support for the program. We see it as a vital step moving toward fulfilling one of our top priorities, appropriate instruction in effective relationships and violence prevention in all Massachusetts schools at all grade levels.

Highlighting this initiative in his formal remarks on the budget, State Senator Stephen M. Brewer, Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, observed that it was supported by nearly all members of the Senate. He also noted that that “when we sent the budget to the clerk yesterday, I made one call. I didn’t make it to my constituents; I didn’t make it to the press; I made it to Malcolm Astley. I had my staff track him down to let him know that…because of the terrible things that happened to their beautiful, only child, Lauren Astley, that $150,000 will be taken around to make sure that young people, when relationships break up, will have better coping mechanisms…so that their daughter would not have died in vain.”

In addition, before ending the legislative session, the legislature passed a comprehensive landmark bill to address and prevent domestic violence through various sectors of our government (see https://malegislature.gov/Bills/188/Senate/S2334.) We are pleased to have been part of the network steadily gaining momentum to address these important and challenging matters regarding violence, and especially boys’ and men’s violence against girls and women, in our society.

    • Mary Dunne has joined the advisory board of REACH, a non-profit organization based in Waltham providing safety and support to survivors of abuse while engaging communities to promote healthy relationships and prevent domestic violence.
    • Malcolm’s recent speaking engagements include addressing hundreds of students on Liberating Boys and Men from Violence: Looking Under the Anger. Appearances at the Rivers School in Weston, Andover High School, and Millbury High School. He also spoke at First Parish Unitarian Universalist church in Sherborn.
    • Malcolm participated in the Casa Myrna Breakfast at the Omni Parker House. Casa Myrna is a Boston-based nonprofit delivering solutions to end domestic and dating violence. He also participated in Jane Doe Inc. Men’s Leadership lunch meeting.
    • Involved in collaborative meetings with Munroe Arts Center, Lexington, MA, in planning for their evening arts presentation through drama, poetry, and dance at 7:30 on Saturday, September 27, Break the Silence for middle, high school, college, young adults, and their parents, teachers, and counselors.  The performance will be on Saturday, September 27, at 7:30 pm, at the Clarke Middle School Auditorium in Lexington.  Visit http://www.munroecenter.org/next-msn-performance.html for information on ticket reservations (which are strongly encouraged).
    • Collaborative work with town agencies, Wayland Youth and Family Services and Wayland Cares on outreach for young people under stress during the summer and particularly high school seniors.
    • Mary and Malcolm were interviewed by Bella English of the Boston Globe for June 5 article.
    • Participated in television and radio interview programs with Jim Braude, Margery Eagen and Emily Rooney focused on dating and break up violence and education for prevention
    • Malcolm was interviewed by students in BU course on investigative journalism with a focus on teen dating violence.

Spring 2014

Mini-Grant Program

The Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund launched 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.  A total of 14 project proposals were awarded mini-grants:

      • The Courage to Care Healthy Relationship Summit – to raise awareness of relationship violence and to provide 200 student leaders from 15 high schools with information about healthy relationships and skills in intervening in potential violence
      • Development of a relationship violence performance program by the Monroe Center for the Arts in Lexington to be scheduled for the fall
      • Evaluation of Mentors in Violence Prevention and Analysis of Courage to Care – to research, measure and evaluate the effectiveness of the programs, pre- and post-participation
      • Know the Signs – to develop creative visual displays for a public service ad campaign by graphic design students at UMASS Lowell
      • Mentors in Violence Prevention training for Wayland High School staff
      • Performance of “The Yellow Dress” at Lincoln-Sudbury High School
      • Performance of “You the Man” at Waltham High School
      • Saying and Doing it with Classical Music – a community event by two Wayland High School students to introduce young children to classical music and crafts
      • Surviving in Numbers – to help teens at Newton North High School develop empowerment skills for interpersonal relationships
      • Technology upgrades for Wayland High School in support of the development of musical performers
      • Partial grants to:
        • Elemental Arts:  a day of creative exploration at Open Spirit in Framingham – experiential workshops in the visual, movement and creative arts
        • Girls’ LEAP Summer Teen Mentor Program in Dorchester – to build leadership and effective relationships while preventing dating violence.
        • Golden Tones chorus musical outreach program – to help fund performances in diverse, new sites
        • Think Peace Event in memory of Andrew Tavares – Peace Project in Dorchester to address neighborhood violence

      • With the support of Mintz Law Firm and its ML Strategies, we formed a collaborative alliance with legislators in both the Massachusetts House and Senate to write, support and advance legislation aimed at supporting victims of relationship violence, in intervening with batterers, and in providing education to students in healthy relationships and violence prevention.  We are hopeful that practical results will emerge in the near future.
      • Brookline’s Commission for Women named Mary Dunne as the Woman of the Year for her work teaching teens about dating violence.  Dunne, a preschool teacher in Brookline for 35 years, was honored at the commission’s 22nd annual Women Who Inspire Us awards ceremony.
      • Mary spoke after performances of The Yellow Dress, funded by the Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund, two times at Brookline High School and at Newton Country Day School.
      • Mary addressed the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association from the perspective of the families of victims involved in murder prosecutions.
      • Mary spoke at UMASS Boston to graduate students in a gender studies class on violence against women.
      • Co-sponsored The Courage to Care Healthy Relationship Summit.  Held at Lincoln-Sudbury High School on March 14 under the direction of Safe Schools coordinator Lori Hodin, some 200 student leaders from 15 Massachusetts high schools participated, as well as teaching staff and college volunteers from Northeastern University’s Mentors in Violence Prevention program.  Welcome addresses were given by Massachusetts’ First Lady Diane Patrick and Malcolm Astley.
      • Ongoing work with Wayland Cares, a newly-formed town service agency within Wayland Youth and Family Services, to consider collaborative steps to provide services addressing substance abuse and its underlying causes, providing support during especially challenging years of school transition (5th to 6th grades, 8th to 9th and 12th to college), and, preventing harm and violence.
      • Continuing work with the Sudbury-Wayland-Lincoln Domestic Violence Roundtable to consider collaborative steps to provide information and services addressing boys’ and men’s violence against girls and women and its underlying causes, and to prevent the related harm and loss.
      • Malcolm gave several talks, on liberating boys and men from violence, to students and staff at Merrimack College, Woburn High School and Newton South High School.

Winter 2013-2014

      • The Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund launched its mini-grants program, inviting grant proposals up to $2,000 in support of projects aligned with the memorial fund’s mission.
      • Malcolm provided the keynote speech at the Amanda Forum in Valparaiso, Indiana, in memory of Amanda Bach, a young woman whose life and murder had many parallels to Lauren’s and many others that are part of these horrific patterns.  This three-day conference organized by the Caring Place focused on community leaders, community members, professionals in related fields, and youth in the area communities.
      • Sponsored and participated in presentation of “The Yellow Dress,” a play depicting the tragic course of an actual case of intimate partner violence, and follow-up discussion for students and parents at a local synagogue where Lauren’s mother, Mary Dunne, addressed the audience after the play.
      • Participated at the State House testimony in support of batterer intervention and other programs funded by the MA Dept. of Public Health. Besides Batterer Intervention, the other programs include Rape Crisis Centers, Prevention Programs, Refugee and Immigrant Assistance and GLBT services, all related to domestic violence and sexual assault assistance and prevention.
      • Spoke at Cambridge Family and Children’s Services on Liberation from Violence: Looking Under the Anger.
      • Joined with John LeCapitaine retired Professor, the University of Wisconsin, River Falls, to speak with a working committee on compassion at Central Connecticut  State University on teen dating and break up violence and Dr. LeCapitaine’s developmental model of compassion.  The committee’s goals involve supporting connectedness and well-being for all children.
      • Malcolm spoke at Bridgewater State University with the encouragement of Elizabeth Englander of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center.
      • Participated in the Anna Grace Conference, Love Wins, at the University of Hartford, in memory of Anna Grace who was one of the students murdered in Newtown, Connecticut.  The conference focused on self-regulation and supporting teachers to be self-regulated in support of themselves and their students.
      • Malcolm spoke at City of Cambridge Community Solutions on addressing and preventing men’s violence against women.
      • Malcolm was the keynote speaker at Governor’s Second Annual Conference on Bullying Prevention in Des Moines, Iowa.
      • Took part in Mentors in Violence Prevention training at the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University.
      • Participated in Think Peace dinner and fundraiser for youth jobs in memory of Andrew Tavares.

Fall 2013

      • CBS’s show “48 Hours” aired “Loved to Death, an hour-long documentary focused on Lauren’s story as well of that of so many young women, and the matters of teen dating and break up violence.  After airing on October 26, 2013, the documentary is available for viewing at: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/loved-to-death/
      • Continued meeting with MA legislators, and with the advice of pro bono lawyers at Mintz Levin, developed draft legislation enlarging the focus of mandated anti-bullying legislation to include education in healthy relationships and teen dating violence prevention
      • Malcolm spoke in Westford, MA at a forum co-sponsored by the nonprofit group The Live for Liv Foundation and the town’s Coalition for Non-Violence. Video here and article here.
      • Walked to Break the Silence with Framingham Voices Against Violence and Melrose Coalition Against Violence
      • Talks at:
        • Waltham and Norwood High Schools on preventing teen dating violence, using the Center for Disease Control’s campaign theme, Veto Violence, with the addition, It Takes More Courage to Care
        • Cambridge Family & Children’s Services on teen dating violence prevention
        • Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s Bullying Prevention Summit in DesMoines
        • City of Cambridge conference on Creating Community Solutions
        • Bridgewater State University’s Aggression Reduction Center

Summer 2013

      • Talked with MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education regarding the status of education in healthy relationships and violence prevention and potential ways to strengthen instruction and program

      • Spoke at Boston Public Health Commission’s Summit on Healthy Break Ups

      • Met with Sheriff Bellotti and staff to brainstorm program ideas for education in healthy relationships and prevention of teen dating violence

      • Met with Tom Scott, Director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents to seek their perspective on strengthening education in healthy relationships and violence prevention

      • Interviewed re teen dating violence by three magazines: Scholastic Choices Magazine, Unitarian Universalist World Magazine, and Boston University alumni magazine

      • Took part in Jewish Family and Children’s Service creation of a video montage to be circulated to media and designed to raise awareness of intimate partner violence 

Spring 2013

      • Continued work and meetings to develop our legislative approach

      • 2nd annual Keep On Sparkling event celebrating the life of Lauren Dunne Astley. We are grateful to the planning committee and all who supported this wonderful event to benefit the Lauren Dunne Astley Foundation.

      • Testified at State House hearings in support of bills to mandate education in healthy relationships and violence prevention

      • Malcolm Astley appointed to board of Wayland/Sudbury/Lincoln Round Table on Domestic Violence

      • At Wheelock School of Social Work, attended presentation by a group of graduate students named BRAVE  whose work honors Lauren Dunne Astley. They developed a website and clearinghouse of information and resources related to intimate partner violence prevention. Malcolm provided interview now featured on their website, our website and available on YouTube.

      • Media appearances included:

        • “Katie,” Katie Couric’s show on Redemption featuring people who have turned something tragic into something teachable

        • Interview with WGBH-TV’s “Greater Boston” hosted by Emily Rooney

        • Interview with Fox News Anchor Sorbani Banerjee

      • Attended all-day training workshop with David Adams, Director of Emerge, training center for at-risk batterers, on myths and realities regarding batterers

      • Curricular and Preventive Intervention Planning meeting with university scholars, legal advisors, legislative advisors, legislators, youth educators, school administrators, and others from Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund at Mintz law firm

      • Took part in presentation for students and parents on understanding and preventing intimate partner violence at Reading Memorial High School

      • Met with Wayland Wellness Committee to finalize wellness survey to be used to identify priorities for future action

      • Met with Wayland Schools administrators to discuss health and wellness review and consider ways the schools may become a model system in relation to healthy relationship education and prevention of intimate partner violence

      • Working with CBS regarding inclusion of Lauren’s story within a one hour documentary on teen dating violence and intimate partner violence

      • Presented Lauren’s case as a means of understanding factors involved in break-up violence and men’s violence against women to one of Associate Professor Emily Rothman’s graduate school classes, Boston University School of Public Health

      • Collaborative meeting at Our Bodies, Our Selves with Jane Doe representatives including Craig Norberg-Bohm involved with engaging men in prevention of men’s violence against women

      • Worked with students and staff at Lincoln-Sudbury High School in preparation for student-led educational activities in connection with presentation of The Yellow Dress

      • Planning meetings regarding Wayland Cares and new collaborative of all healthcare related organizations in Wayland

      • Observed group work with at-risk batterers

      • Met with Representatives Peisch and Conroy to brainstorm approaches to legislation to prevent intimate partner violence

      • Presentation of The Yellow Dress at Lincoln-Sudbury High School for Freshman, Seniors, and parents with accompanying student led instruction on understanding and preventing intimate partner violence

Winter 2012-2013

Ongoing – Establishing collaborations with leading organizations to identify information on best practices and support for instituting Healthy Selves, Healthy Relationships programs in Massachusetts schools: Futures Without Violence, REACH, Second Step, BU School of Public Health, MA State Department of Public Health, Department of Sexual Assault Prevention, Governor’s Council to Address Sexual and Domestic Violence, Jewish Family and Children’s Services. Regular participation in the Sudbury-Wayland-Lincoln Domestic Violence Roundtable.

      • Interviewed by WBUR’s Sacha Pfeiffer for “All Things Considered” regarding warning signs in intimate partner relationships

      • Provided funding for presentation of “The Yellow Dress,” a play depicting the tragic course of an actual case of intimate partner violence, and follow-up discussion for students, staff and parents at Lincoln-Sudbury High School

      • Participated in workshop in Wayland on social media challenges in relationships

      • Held series of media interviews to build awareness of intimate partner violence and the need for instruction for young people in healthy relationships. Media outlets include ABC, CBS, NBC, NECN, Boston Channels 4, 5, 7, Fox News, Katie Couric Show, the Boston Globe, and the Christian Science Monitor. Facilitated by new communications team consisting of volunteers and pro bono law services (see “In the News” section).

      • Sponsored presentation of “You The Man,” a performance (and follow-up panel discussion) emphasizing the male perspective and bystander engagement in appropriate interventions to prevent intimate partner violence. For 9th and 11th graders at Wayland High School as part of the wellness curriculum.

      • Attended conference “Raising Connected and Competent Boys: New Models of Strength and Resilience” – Jean Baker Miller Training Institute, the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College

      • Coordinating action with pro bono law services to document, on a state-by-state basis, existing expectations and requirements regarding instruction in healthy relationships, to be used as a basis for designing model legislation for Massachusetts

      • Initial exploratory and planning meeting with three state legislators regarding potential legislation to institute appropriate instruction in healthy selves, healthy and effective relationships, and violence prevention at all grade levels

Fall 2012

      • Participated in presentation of “The Yellow Dress,” a play depicting the tragic course of an actual case of intimate partner violence, and follow-up discussion for students and parents at a local synagogue

Summer 2012

      • Held planning summit with leading experts in intimate partner violence consulting about priorities for maximum impact in prevention:

        • Casey Corcoran – Futures Without Violence – Start Strong – Boston Health Commission

        • Emily Rothman – BU School of Public Health consulting on teen violence

        • Roberta Rosenberg – Executive Director, The Second Step

        • Ruth Backman – Wayland Police Detective and Lincoln, Sudbury, Wayland Round Table on Domestic Violence

        • Laura Van Zandt – Executive Director, REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, has worked with Wayland High School and in other towns over the past decade

      • Set priorities with regard to promoting healthy relationships:

        • Top priority – Work toward development and passage of state legislation that would require 10 to 20 sessions per year on healthy selves and healthy relationships at all grade levels in all public school districts throughout Massachusetts

        • Focus on training in schools and including students, staff, parents and community members

        • Making a point of engaging boys and men who are often looking for a positive, practical way to address the problem of intimate partner violence; and involving and training coaches in the effort

        • Training guidance counselors in every school on how to spot indicators associated with intimate partner violence and providing appropriate interventions

Spring 2012

      • Awarded a grant to the Brookline Early Education Program enabling children who cannot afford the tuition to participate in programming where much of the focus is on social skills training

      • Took part in talk on seeking balance in relationships at Natick High School

      • Participated in presentation of “The Yellow Dress” and follow-up discussion at a Metrowest private school

      • Provided funding in support of a “Conversation on Compassion” at the Harvard School of Education where a new integrated developmental model was introduced by Dr. John LeCapitaine of the University of Wisconsin at River Falls. New model is focused on perspective taking, empathy, compassion and communicative reasoning. Attended by 70 professionals from institutions related to schools, public safety, mental health, social work and intimate partner violence prevention.

      • Lauren’s parents visited Elon University, where Lauren was to attend college, and joined in activities to remember Lauren and to consider issues related to men’s violence against women

Fall 2011

      • Keep On Sparkling, the 1st annual event celebrating the life of Lauren Dunne Astley was held at Sandy Burr Country Club, Wayland, MA

      • Participated in “Out of the Shadows: Reporting on Intimate Partner Violence,” a conference sponsored by The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

      • Participated in “Preventing Dating Abuse and Promoting Healthy Relationships,” a Walden Forum event on intimate partner violence at First Parish in Wayland, MA