Family Service Hosts Fourth Annual Carilion Children’s Family 1 Miler for Global Youth Service Day

Everyone can participate in the excitement of race day during “America’s Toughest Road Marathon.” Carilion Children’s and Family Service of Roanoke Valley, which plans the local Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) events each year, have partnered to host the fourth annual Carilion Children’s Family 1 Miler in conjunction with the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon on Saturday, April 13 in Elmwood Park.​

Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is the largest youth service event in the world and the only one to celebrate the contributions children and youth make 365 days of the year!​ The annual event celebrates and mobilizes millions of young people who focus on improving their own communities through service. As part of GYSD, children from under-served areas throughout the region are actually helping to organize the fun run.

“When Family Service reached out to us about pairing Global Youth Service Day with our event we thought it was a perfect fit,” said Julia Boas, event manager of the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon. “The middle school kids and teenagers who have been helping to organize the Family 1 Miler this year have blown us away with their creativity and enthusiasm. They are doing everything from designing the shirts and posters, to emceeing the race start.” 

In place of balloons this year the youth at Family Service made four giant pinwheels to be used at the 1 mile turn-around point on Jefferson Street.

“We used balloons last year but we wanted to be more environmentally friendly and unique,” said Sarah Jane Lawrence, Prevention Programs Manager at Family Service of Roanoke Valley, “The youth loved making them.”

The Carilion Children’s Family 1 Miler is open to families with kids of all ages, and is a non-competitive event. The run starts right after the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon at 7:35 a.m. on April 13, so kids can experience the thrill that comes with a big-time race. Families participating in the event will have their own corral start on Jefferson to ensure the safety of all participants.

“One of our goals is to involve youth and families who have not traditionally been asked to volunteer or participate in the races,” said Karen Pillis, the Youth Development Director at Family Service of Roanoke Valley. She hopes youth volunteers, “will witness the magnitude of an event that is almost all volunteer executed while engaging them in a variety of healthy activities in our community.”

Everyone who participates will receive a race shirt and finisher’s medal. The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon will also have a wide array of activities in Elmwood Park open to the public with race-related vendors, free live music, food trucks, and more starting at 9 a.m.

Proceeds of the 2019 Carilion Children’s Family 1 Miler benefit the Roanoke Outside Foundation and Family Service of Roanoke Valley.

The cost to participate is $12 for adults, $8 per child, or $35 for a family (4+ participants) and children under 2 are free. To register for the Carilion Children’s Family 1 Miler or any other distance, visit

Carilion Clinic is a not-for-profit healthcare organization based in Roanoke, Virginia. Through our comprehensive network of hospitals, primary and specialty physician practices, and complementary services, we provide exceptional care for nearly 1 million Virginians. Our enduring commitment is to a healthier region. We advance care through medical education and research, help our community stay healthy, and inspire it to grow stronger.

Family Service of Roanoke Valley is a dynamic, multi-service agency serving a diverse population of clients by providing critical services to Roanoke Valley residents since 1901. Our mission to transform lives by healing trauma and restoring hope for families and individuals of all ages through mental health counseling, case management and life skills education. The expertise Family Service has achieved after 118 years of experience with serving the needs of individuals and families positions the agency as a proven leader in providing information and practical solutions to the challenges we face in our community.

The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon was created by the Roanoke Regional Partnership/Roanoke Outside to showcase the region’s commitment to making outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship a core component of the Roanoke Region lifestyle. Originally boasted as “America’s Toughest Road Marathon” it has more than lived up to the reputation. Not for the faint of heart, the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon features the most challenging and breathtaking course of any road marathon in the country. Beginning in downtown Roanoke, Virginia and ascending four miles along the Blue Ridge Parkway to the summit of Roanoke Mountain this race will put you in the zone…and all before mile 10!