Karen Dawson spent 32 years as a high school art and leadership teacher and was also involved in service learning. She was named as an All-American Teacher by USA TODAY and has earned numerous awards during her career, including the Presidential Volunteer Service Award from President George W. Bush for her work with Habitat for Humanity. In 2012, she co-founded a nonprofit weekly community outreach program that provides a meal for anyone in need in the St. Louis area. Since its inception, more than 66,000 meals have been served. This program is now being emulated in 54 communities. Currently she is the co-chair of the Greater St. Louis Area Homeless Task Force.