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Roundtable Offers Facilitated Conversations for Classmates of Astley

On Aug. 9, the Domestic Violence Roundtable will host students of the Wayland High School Classes of 2011 and 2012 and their parents.

The Sudbury-Wayland-Lincoln Domestic Violence Roundtable, in partnership with local domestic violence service providers and other community partners, will offer “Creating a Safe Space for Conversation ... about relationships, friends, loss and moving forward” for the Wayland High Schools Classes of 2011 and 2012 and their parents.

The program will take place Tuesday, Aug. 9 at the in Wayland at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6:45 p.m. No reservations are necessary.

This program is intended to provide a space specifically and exclusively for students of these two classes and their parents in the wake of the tragic death of their classmate, , in early July. The program will offer information about healthy relationships and provide additional skills and resources as many of them move on to college.

"We have heard from so many of the students that they are struggling with confusing and conflicting feelings and want to have a chance to talk and learn, as do their parents," said Wayland Police Detective Ruth Backman, president of the roundtable. "Our goal is to provide space for facilitated conversations with and for them so that they can begin to put the pieces together and move forward."

According to Mary Gianakis, Director of Voices Against Violence, a victims advocacy and assistance group based in Framingham, this is the first of a series of forums being planned for other groups of Wayland students, parents, and community support partners, including clergy, to provide space to come together for support, information and resources.

"The needs of the community are many and varied, and we are taking a tiered approach in order to best meet those varied needs," Gianakis said. "It is clear that an individualized approach is most helpful."

The group will publicize information about upcoming forums as details become available.

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