Kristen Graves had never heard about AmeriCorps until June of this year. A certified lifeguard, Kristen was working in a management position at a community aquatics facility she had worked at for the past eight years in her hometown in Missouri. A friend referred her to an area school district to accompany a summer camp facilitated by AmeriCorps members on a canoe trip. On the canoe trip, Kristen was assigned to a canoe with an AmeriCorps member where she “assaulted” her with questions. “I knew I had found what I was looking for. I think there are few times in life which something so wonderful occurs with such ease.” Kristen said. Kristen’s passion for service came from her hard-working central Missouri family and as a Social Work student at Missouri State University where she volunteered with Head Start, Habitat for Humanity, a local zoo, AIDS project of the Ozarks, and Therapeutic Riding of the Ozarks to name a few. This year Kristen will serve with the United Way of Central Maryland, working to engage more volunteers in the 2-1-1 call center and Read, Learn, Succeed, a literacy program. Kristen is a major St. Louis Cardinals fan, an avid reader, and hopes to attend graduate school next fall.