The Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund is pleased to announce its 2022 mini-grant recipients!

This marks the ninth year that the LDAMF has awarded funding for innovative, creative initiatives working in the three areas of its mission: Effective Teen Relationships & Violence Prevention, the Arts, and Community Service. A total of 16 project proposals were funded this year, all of which carry Lauren Dunne Astley’s spirit and memory into their important work:

Melrose Alliance Against Violence (Rebecca Mooney): “Healthy Relationships: Starting Younger.” This project aims to promote healthy relationships and decisions among youth before they start dating by teaching 4th and 5th grade students how to define healthy, respectful friendships and recognize hurtful behaviors, to understand and gain tools around setting healthy boundaries in a relationship, and to understand the concept of consent and develop language for communicating consent and refusal.  

The W Gallery (Robyn Gray): “Spoken Word and Singer-Songwriter Series.” This project will provide for stipends to local singer-songwriters and writers to perform at the W Gallery.  

One Wayland (Dovie King): “One Wayland Coalition Against Racism.” Funding will help to enable a series of programs aiming to promote an inclusive and honest dialogue about racism in the Wayland schools and community. This grant will support three free community programs to combat racism.  

The Second Step (Suzanne Wakefield): “Student Partnerships for Violence Prevention and Awareness. This grant will help to provide virtual education, awareness, and violence prevention activities for area high schools’ student-led clubs. Programs are designed to effectively encourage healthy relationships and promote community service. 

Center Stage Outreach (Tiffany Prout-Leitao): “We Can Dance Adaptive Dance Class Program. This funding will offer We Can Dance participants the chance to perform in the community as well as compete in dance competitions and attend a National Dance Merchant conference as performance guests.          

Prana Recovery Centers (Amy Williams): “Trauma-Sensitive Yoga” is a weekly one hour class, offered virtually and in-person, that empowers trauma survivors to maximize experiences of empowerment and to cultivate a more positive relationship to one’s body. This grant will fund a 12-week, 12-session Trauma Sensitive Yoga class that will be free of charge and available for drop-in participation.  

Women of Wayland Podcast (Yamini Ranjan): “W.O.W. Podcast, Season IV.” We strive to connect and inspire women in our community by telling remarkable stories that otherwise might never be heard or come to light. This grant will help make possible the production of season IV of the Women of Wayland podcast and fund efforts to scale listenership to new levels and to regions beyond Massachusetts. 

Dedham School of Music (Jody Pongrantz): “The Harmony Fund for Financial Aid.” Grant will support The Harmony Fund, which provides financial aid for music instruction and classes to low income students in Dedham and the surrounding communities.

Jewish Family & Children’s Service (Nancy Schachter): “TeenSafe.” Through leadership, skill-building, and education, TeenSafe gives teens the language and tools they need to recognize abuse in a dating relationship and know how to respond if they see, hear about, or experience it. This project aims to engage teens in education and awareness-raising activities through virtual and in-person workshops, events and social media campaigns during the school year. 

Jeff’s Place (Jenny Kaplan): “Grief and Loss School-based Support.” This project will provide psychoeducational support to schools on issues of childhood bereavement. We plan to offer to all Montessori Schools of Massachusetts 1-2 overarching trainings (via Zoom) on how best to support grieving students, encapsulating pre-k through high school. The MSM membership includes approximately 90 schools across MA. We also plan to offer in-person training and consultation to at least five local MSM members.   

The Advot Project (Naomi Ackerman): “Workbook of Possibility.” The Advot Project creates possibility by using art-based curriculums to teach communication and relationship skills. This grant will fund the creation of the Workbook of Possibility, a writing workbook for our participants.

Brookline Police Department (Casey Hatchett): “AWARE After School Training for Youth.” This mini-grant will fund an afterschool program for middle schoolers taught by AWARE/Youth Resource Officers that will teach Cyber-Awareness, Substance Use & Addiction, and Healthy Dating Relationships.  

Wayland High School Music Department (Joseph Oneschuk): “Tune Up and Turn It Up!” Grant will allow repair of WHS electric guitars, electric basses, guitar amplifiers, keyboard amp and bass amp, all in dire need of a tune-up and repair.  

LEAP Self-Defense, Inc. (Lynn Carberry Masterman): “Girls’ LEAP.”  Grant will help to fund development, piloting, and implementation of an expanded Healthy Relationships curriculum that will include a particular focus on teaching practical strategies for preventing violence after break-ups. This new curriculum will aim to equip young people to understand intimate partner violence and to prevent breakup violence by building skills to keep themselves safe emotionally and physically, in-person and online. 

Dana Hall School (Margie Bailey): “Senior Forum Self-Defense Programming.” Dana Hall School dedicates the entire Senior year of our social-emotional learning class (what we call “Forum”) to preparing for college and life after Dana. During Senior Forum, our students will engage in self-defense classes with IMPACT Boston for two weeks where they learn age-appropriate safety skills. 

Wayland Human Rights, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee (Jane Sciacca): “HRDEIC Promotional Campaign.” Project aims to create written materials, including a handout for distribution at public buildings (Town building, Library, schools) and promotional signs for events/festivals. The aim is to bring greater visibility to the HRDEIC, a newly-created town body that is not yet funded.

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