The Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund Announces 2019 Mini-grant Recipients

The Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund is pleased to announce the results of its sixth annual mini-grant program to promote dynamic projects in 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 innovative project ideas in the above areas. Lauren’s mother Mary Dunne commented “Awarding mini-grants is such positive work honoring Lauren and her memory. I’m ever grateful to those who honor her in so many ways.”

“We are delighted by the creativity and energy inherent in the proposed initiatives and the hope stirred in the potential of their positive, meaningful impacts. What a nice link to Lauren!” commented Lauren’s father, Malcolm Astley.

A total of 10 project proposals were funded this year. They are:

  • Luisa Barros for Think Peace Unity Festival. An afternoon festival with music, dance, speakers and resource tables focused on bringing the community together to promote peace and violence prevention.
  • Mei-Ling Ellerman.  A research project exploring the complex factors that prevent or enable domestic violence, survivors’ self-advocacy, and studying what happens when they engage with the justice system; data will be used to raise awareness, support improved services, and generate social and legal change.
  • Lauren Millette of Fairhaven High School.  Empowering our Youth from Within. Education of teens at risk through the development and implementation of a group counseling curriculum, including a focus on skills in coping with at risk affects such as shame and hate, and training of peer break up advisors, and training for students in coping with at risk emotions such as shame and hate.
  • Cynthia Maltbie of Girls’ LEAP.  Updated curriculum for their Mother-Daughter Workshop to better align with best practices in the fields of violence prevention and girl development.
  • Deborah Marion of The Golden Tones, “Young or Old, Singing Lifts You, Heart & Soul.” A collaboration between two choirs from different generations, connecting through a shared love of music.
  • Nazda Alam Foundation for Muslim Women Civic Engagement & Leadership.  Production of a documentary addressing the future of some 30,000 babies born in a refugee camp in Bangladesh (mass rape of Muslim women by the Myanmar military), as part of its work on human rights and social justice.
  • Eve Budnick of Opera Del West, A performance of “Freedom Ride,” an opera by local composer Dan Shore, combining traditional opera with themes of African-American history, American history and gospel singing.
  • Matthew Swoveland of The Second Step.  To support the resiliency of young people in the aftermath of domestic violence while developing their capacity to be change-makers for peace in their homes and communities.
  • Danielle Barrett of the Second Voice Theatre Company. “The Five Stages: An Exploration of Grief.” The production of an original play, “The Five Stages" written by Danielle Barrett, focuses on the five stages of grief as experienced by a friend of a domestic violence victim, whose story is inspired by Lauren Astley, and whose mission is to raise awareness about the importance of healthy grieving.
  • Alison Safran of Surviving in Numbers. Development of an online training course for teens on preventing dating violence and sexual violence; bystander intervention; and better supporting teen survivors of violence.

Keep On Sparkling! Please visit for more information on the organization’s activities.

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