When Katie Brown died in January of 2001, her family, friends, and entire community were understandably shocked and grief-stricken. A beautiful, creative young woman from a loving and supportive family had been taken from them in an almost unimaginably horrible way – the young man she had dated since high school murdered her.
Katie grew up in Barrington, Rhode Island – a coastal suburb of Providence. The Barrington community immediately came together to support the Brown family and to honor Katie’s life. Flowers and kind thoughts were sent, one of Katie’s oldest friends created a memorial fountain in her honor, and the problem of relationship violence – no longer an abstract “issue,” but a very real tragedy which had hit so close to home – was explored and discussed in an effort to understand how this could have happened.
Dr. Jay Schachne, a long-time friend of the Brown family, was so moved by Katie’s death that he became determined to memorialize her in a lasting and meaningful way. He sought the help of Susan Jenkinson, the Executive Director of Our Sisters’ Place, the shelter and advocacy program for victims of relationship violence located in nearby Fall River, Massachusetts. The pair set an ambitious goal: to eliminate relationship violence by teaching young people to recognize the warning signs of violence in order to keep themselves safe and to prevent violence and abuse from occurring in their own relationships.
The Katie Brown Educational Program began presenting its five-day curriculum to students in the greater Fall River area in the beginning of the 2001-2002 school year. Since its inception, KBEP educators have reached thousands of students in hundreds of classrooms in Southeastern New England.
KBEP also organizes and facilitates workshops for parents and other concerned adults. These workshops focus on recognition and prevention skills, response techniques, and resources available in the community.