Karen Putman Watson, MSW grew up in Fort Myers, FL. She is married to Fred Watson and has two adult daughters and three grandchildren. She is 2008 alumni of Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), where she acquired a Master Degree in Social Work. She also has a Child Development Associate Degree and Directors Credential. Karen worked 22 years for the School District of Lee County where she taught Head Start, working with pregnant moms and infant and toddlers. For 10 years, she was devoted to modeling best practices, providing resources, advocating for moms and children 0-3 years and teaching moms to be their child’s first best teacher while providing tutoring and operating a Family Home Child Care.
Fueled by frustration and optimism, she returned to higher education to earn a master’s degree in social work from FGCU. Through her years of working with the School District of Lee County and regular home visits, she came to believe that poor parenting was the root cause of impoverished students’ social, developmental and nutritional obstacles. Karen wanted to teach the parents to be the best parent they could be and give children a winning start before entering school. With graduate studies focused on mental illness in women and children, a former professor who saw the concern and commitment she had for children and women in her community inspired her to volunteer at Our Mother’s Home.
Karen currently serves on the Curriculum Advisory Committee of the School District of Lee County and the Board of Directors of RICO (Redeeming Influence Community Outreach).
Karen served one year as Vice President of Our Mother’s Home and a year and a half as President. In June 2011, Karen became the Executive Director of Our Mother’s Home.
In 2012 Karen became a graduate of The Greater Fort Myers Chamber Leadership. In her commitment to the community, she have served as Health Chairperson for The National Association for Advancement of Colored People, volunteers for Red Cross and is a mentor for Footsteps to the Future for young single mothers. In 2015 she was awarded the Golden Baby Shoe Award for her contribution of Social Service to help give babies a Healthy Start in life and in 2016 was recognized an Excellent Administrative Professional and Florida Gulf Coast University, Soaring Eagle. Karen founded Impact Dunbar in 2016 an initiative to impact women and children in the Dunbar Community through the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. She has been featured in several magazines such as E’Bella, Pennicle of FGCU, Parent and Child and Granduer.
Karen and her husband Fred are members of Mount Hermon Ministries and serves on varies committees.