Meet Karen

I am Karen Franco. I was born and raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin. After earning my Journalism degree at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, I worked in a variety of jobs utilizing my journalism skills. I started as the Feature Writer for a weekly newspaper, the Zion Benton News. Life took me to California and that’s where Jacob was born. Little did I know that Jacob would change my life forever…

Author…

Karen-At-deskWriting is certainly a passion of mine, along with being an advocate for my son who has special needs. He is truly my inspiration. I write children’s books that teach about understanding, patience but most of all acceptance of our kids with “different”​abilities.  I published my first children’s book, “Just Hold My Hand”​in March of 2013. This book reflects on how various everyday situations trigger emotional and sensory behaviors and how my son copes in each setting.  My second book is “Jacob’s Hoop”​which describes my son’s physical limitations, and how the kids around him help him feel just like everyone else. I am currently working on my third book in my children’s books series and I’m hoping to get that published some time in 2016.

Speaker…

I’m also a resource to speak at educational conferences or schools. Special needs are a part of our culture and hearing from a parent’s perspective can be very beneficial.   That’s why I want to share my stories, experiences and my ideas with other families, teachers or anyone who could be experiencing the same challenges that I’ve been facing with Jacob. I have learned a great deal from Jacob. I knew that having a child would be a rewarding and challenging experience, but I never dreamed my life would consist of the day to day expectations that it does.  It’s so important to know that you are not alone with these day to day struggles. There are many families who need to talk and express their frustrations and concerns as well as celebrate all the accomplishments of their children who have special needs.

Special Needs Advocate…

I am also a founding member of the Board of Directors of a non-profit specialized child care center, Every Child’s Place, whose mission is to take care of children with special needs as well as their typically developing peers. Clearly, this group of people have such a passion and understanding for special needs. This is just another way that I am an advocate for special needs.  I have served on the board for over 15 years. When I went back to work after having Jacob, I had a very difficult time finding daycare for him. I had many doors closed in my face.  That was extremely frustrating and sad. Luckily, I didn’t give up and I was introduced to a very special lady, Ginny Brydges, who opened her arms and her daycare center to Jacob, no questions asked. That’s where Every Child’s Place began…Jacob was accepted and loved and was taken care of like any other child. That gave me “peace of mind” which is something every mother wants when they leave their child in the care of others.

My hope is that the books I write educate, inspire and possibly change the way others think about special needs. As I write my books, I want to help children understand that it’s ok to be different but also to encourage them to be a friend to someone who may need a little extra help.

Today, I live in Union Grove, Wisconsin with my husband Chris, my Labradoodle Bella and of course, Jacob.