The Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund is pleased to announce its 2021 mini-grant recipients!
This marks the eighth 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. Applicants this year had the unusual burden of planning around the significant challenges presented by COVID-19, but this still turned out to be our most competitive application season ever. After difficult choices, a total of 15 project proposals were funded this year, all of which carry Lauren Dunne Astley’s spirit and memory into their important work. They are:
- Arts|Learning (Charles Combs & Nancy Moses): “Champions of Arts Education Awards” This awards presentation recognizes exemplary Arts programs and practitioners in Massachusetts schools and encourages expanded access to the Arts for all students as a means to personal, social, emotional, and intellectual development, as well as the development of arts/crafts skills and “artistic literacy.”
- Women of Wayland Podcast (Yamini Ranjan): Women of Wayland Seasons II and III . This podcast series strives to connect and inspire by giving voice to the remarkable stories of women in and around Wayland, stories that otherwise might never be heard or come to light.
- Opera del West (Eve Budnick): The Importance of Being Earnest, an opera by Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Opera del West will give a performance of the opera version of The Importance of Being Earnest by Contemporary composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco at the Boston Center for Arts and The Center for Arts in Natick.
- Melrose Alliance Against Violence (Rebecca Mooney): “Voices for Healing” This virtual Community Coffee House will feature performances of music and spoken word by children, teens, and adults. “Voices for Healing” aims to encourage self-expression, to give voice to marginalized communities, and to create an intergenerational culture of healthy relationships.
- Jewish Family & Children’s Service (Nancy Schachter): TeenSafe. This leadership-development program trains teens to recognize the signs of domestic and dating abuse and empowers them with the knowledge, tools, and personal confidence they will need in order to help.
- Surviving in Numbers (Alison Safran). The initiative will create and distribute training tools for parents and teens on safe dating and the prevention of sexual violence. It will also produce and distribute a guidebook on self-care for survivors.
- LEAP Self-Defense, Inc. (Lynn Carberry Masterman): Anti-racist and Gender-inclusive Violence Prevention Training. LEAP Self-Defense will develop and pilot trainings to equip teaching staff with anti-racist, culturally responsive, and gender-inclusive teaching methods for self-defense programs that will reach approximately 300 young people in Boston this year.
- Teen Health Comics (Sarah Mausner): Suicide Prevention Initiative. This initiative is a collaborative effort in partnership with Teen Heath Comics, Minding Your Mind, and The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide. Project will include the completion of “Promise Me,” a depression- and suicide-prevention comic, and also the presentation of an online program for youth and families via Zoom during the spring of 2021.
- The Second Step (Suzanne Wakefield): Student Partnerships for Violence Prevention and Awareness. This program will support the development and growth of new student-led clubs at area high schools to increase local teens’ understanding of relationship violence, healthy teen relationships, and resources for support.
- Brandeis University (Mei-Ling Ellerman): Coercive Control Research. This project will conduct interviews and a literature review about amending the legal definition of abuse to include coercive control, the challenges and benefits of passing this legislation, and suggestions for community participation. The report will aim to generate discussion about coercive control legislation in Massachusetts and also prove useful for lawmakers in other states.
- Prana Recovery Centers (Amy Williams): Embodied Healing Therapy. Grant will support the creation of a website and video to explain Embodied Healing Therapy, a transformative mode of treatment particularly valuable to survivors of trauma, and to develop a sliding-scale for community members who may need financial assistance in order to participate in treatment.
- Wayland Public Schools (Arthur Unobskey): Supporting Healthy Relationships at Wayland High School. Mini-grant will join the Wayland Public Schools Fund in support of WPS efforts to create and refine curriculum, provide professional development for teachers, and clarify a district-wide plan for creating and maintaining a safe, affirming, and harassment-free environment in schools.
- Wayland High School Choral Groups (Rachel Carroll): Masterclass Series. Funding will support a series of inspiring masterclasses featuring musicians and artists who advocate for diversity in the arts.
- Wayland High School Theater Ensemble (Aidan O’Hara): Musical Revue Accompanist/Music Director Support. Grant will help fund the unusual music support and personnel needed to produce a musical production during a pandemic. Specifically, funds will help to bring in guest artist and music educator Allie Lutkevich to help teach and prepare students for a unique performance plan in 2021.
- The Lived Experiences Project (Nichole Argo): The Lived Experiences Project is an anonymous storytelling platform that aims to amplify the voices of people who have experienced identity-based bias or discrimination in Needham, MA, to provide data on the type of bias and discrimination that is experienced locally, and to instigate local dialogue around belonging and inclusion. This mini-grant will allow for the hiring of a part-time program associate, support crucial to these goals.