Mission Statement & Vision

The mission of Kids Korps USA is to instill the spirit of giving and community service in youth and young adults ages 5-25 while providing valuable educational opportunities in leadership and civic responsibility. The greater vision of Kids Korps is to Cultivate a Generation of Volunteers making a positive difference in their communities.

Kids Korps programs have an indelible and unique impact beyond the many benefits of volunteerism: we shape young lives through exposure to, and direct involvement in community service. The daily benefit of improving ones community is tangible. The lifelong benefit to young volunteers is an increase in their level of maturity, empathy, and positive perspective on how THEY can make the world a better place.

Community Impact

Founded in 1995 as a way to engage young people in volunteerism, Kids Korps has developed 22,000 volunteer service members who have donated well over 500,000 volunteer hours since its inception. These targeted volunteer hours have had a substantial impact on more than 1.2 million people and have contributed service valued at nearly $12 million to the county, all while emphasizing the importance of developing key leadership skills through youth volunteer activities.

In its work, Kids Korps partners with more than 350 community-based, nonprofit organizations who rely on our youth and adult volunteers to meet their program goals and service needs. Young people (ages 5-25) who want to serve can identify volunteer opportunities through an extensive online project calendar that lists more than 1,200 community service projects annually.  These varied service projects provide vital resource to organizations serving many different communities. Our volunteer projects are in six distinct themes areas: food and shelter, animal welfare, the environment, military needs, health and disabilities, and seniors.

We coordinate with the nonprofits to make available the volunteer opportunities and service projects.  See our Project Calendar for more information. Among them are a variety of as well as, hospitals, food banks, youth shelters, social service agencies, environmental agencies, and animal shelters. We have also partnered with governmental agencies, such as the County of San Diego and the City of Solana Beach, and with corporate supporters like Barona, Rincon, Starbucks, SDG&E, and Ernst & Young to name a few.

Each year we offer more than 25 service projects per week, Kids Korps worked with over 4,000 volunteers and their families, serving in over 350 organizations to the tune of almost 30,000 hours.  We hope to surpass those numbers with each new year.


The inspiration for founding Kids Korps USA came from a desire to make children more aware of their environments and provide them with opportunities to contribute to the positive welfare of their communities.  In 1995, Kids Korps USA started out using the Peace Corps as a model.

Co-founder Joani Wafer and a group of moms from San Diego, California brought neighborhood kids to a nursing home to visit the elderly, while Co-founder Dawn Lehman recruited kids from North Carolina Boys & Girls Clubs to serve meals to the needy. Through word of mouth and the media, membership grew and many more families joined.  Today, Kids Korps USA is thriving in several states and enlists thousands of young volunteers. With requests for chapters throughout the country, Kids Korps USA is training chapter leaders regularly.