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Its three-part mission is to promote healthy teen relationships, the arts, and community service.
People spilled out of the First Parish sanctuary, into the church basement and onto the lawn.The service was broadcast into a church across the street, which absorbed the overflow crowd.A “Keep on Sparkling” benefit celebrating her life helped the memorial fund reach 0,000.“It’s helpful,” Astley said, in attempting to cope with the loss of his only child. When you have lost your own child, how do you find the strength to make sure that other people don’t lose theirs?On July 4, 2011, 18-year-old Lauren Dunne Astley was strangled and slashed to death by her former boyfriend, weeks after their high school graduation. With other members of First Parish in Wayland, Massachusetts, she had travelled three times to New Orleans to help rebuild the city after Hurricane Katrina. Her former boyfriend convinced her to meet him alone on her way home from her job at a clothing boutique.
Lauren had tried to break up with him several times, but he never seemed to take no for an answer. The Boston area was gripped by the brutal murder, and then by the trial a year and a half later.Nathaniel Fujita was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.The community was also riveted by the repeated acts of grace by her parents, who have become articulate, gentle spokespeople for preventing dating violence.After the murder, Lauren’s father, Malcolm Astley, expressed ongoing concern for Fujita’s parents.He hugged them after jurors announced his conviction, acknowledging that they, too, had lost a child.Within a week of Lauren’s murder, her parents, Malcolm Astley and Mary Dunne, had established the Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund.