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.
1. Top priority – Work to develop and pass state legislation requiring education on healthy selves and healthy relationships at all grade levels in all public school districts throughout Massachusetts.
2. Focus on comprehensive training in schools (including students, staff, parents and community members)
a. 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 sports coaches in the effort.
b. Training guidance counselors in every school on how to spot indicators associated with intimate partner violence and to provide appropriate interventions.
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.
Upcoming – “Keep On Sparkling,” a black tie event celebrating the life of Lauren Dunne Astley, will be held on June 8 at Sandy Burr Country Club, Wayland, MA. Details and tickets are available here.
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 Round Table.
March – Interviewed by WBUR’s Sacha Pfeiffer for “All Things Considered” regarding warning signs in intimate partner relationships.
March – 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.
March – Participated in workshop in Wayland on social media challenges.
March – 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).
March – 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.
March – 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.
February – 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.
January – 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.
December – 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.
September – Held planning summit with 5 leading experts in intimate partner violence consulting about priorities for maximum impact in prevention.
- Casey Corcoran – Futures Against Violence – Start Strong – Boston Health Commission;
- Emily Rothman – BU School of Public Health consulting on teen violence;
- Roberta Rosenberg – The Second Step;
- Ruth Backman – Wayland Police Detective and Lincoln, Sudbury, Wayland Round Table on Abuse;
- 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.
July – Participated in “Boston Break Up Summit” sponsored by Boston Public Health Commission.
June – Developed, designed and produced a Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund bookmark, for distribution to students, with educational tips on intimate partner violence warning signs and actions to take in response.
April – Awarded a grant to the Brookline Early Education Program enabling children who can’t afford the tuition to participate in programming where much of the focus is on social skills training.
April – Took part in talk on seeking balance in relationships at Natick High School.
April – Participated in presentation of “The Yellow Dress” and follow-up discussion at a Metrowest private school.
April – 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. 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.
March – 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.
November – Keep On Sparkling, the 1st annual event celebrating the life of Lauren Dunne Astley was held at Sandy Burr Country Club, Wayland, MA.
October – 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.
October – Participated in “Preventing Dating Abuse and Promoting Healthy Relationships,” a Walden Forum event on intimate partner violence at First Parish in Wayland, MA.