Meet the Fellows

Karen Vanessa Franco

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Karen Vanessa Franco is a student at City College of San Francisco. She plans to transfer to a four year college to pursue a major in Public Health and a minor in Political Science. She immigrated to the United States when she was fourteen years old from the small but beautiful town of San Martin, in San Salvador, El Salvador. After crossing the US-Mexico border, her struggles began. Even though she didn’t know English, she did not give up on reaching her goals.

Karen grew up with a single mother who raised six children on her own and brought them to the United States. Through living in this hard situation, she realized she wanted to provide a better life for her family. As an immigrant, Karen has faced a lot of challenges in pursuing her career, but she has never lost hope that she will accomplish her goals. In the future, she hopes to work for a non-profit organization that focuses on affordable health care services for low-income families and immigrant communities.  

As the first child in her family to attend college, Karen feels so proud of being a role model to her siblings. One of her greatest accomplishments has been volunteering in several community service programs such as Reading Partners, the SF-Marin Food Bank, and Mission Graduates. While volunteering, she met people from different diverse ethnic backgrounds, and in turn she strengthened her passion for helping others.

As a DreamSF Fellow, Karen is placed at Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA). This experience has been very beneficial to her because it has opened opportunities for her to embrace ideas about social justice for women that suffered domestic violence and within the immigrant community. As someone who has experienced domestic violence, Karen is very enthusiastic about being a part of this non-profit organization because she believes it is essential to help women who have been impacted by domestic violence. By sharing her story, Karen hopes to both help and motivate fellow survivors to keep moving forward, keep reaching, and keep fighting.

In her free time, Karen enjoys walking her dogs, spending time with friends, camping and volunteering.