The Utah Youth Service Marathon, the largest youth service initiative in Utah history, launches September 13 with a Kick-Off Youth Rally at the State Capitol, in conjunction with Capitol Discovery Day.

Expected attendance is over 5000 for this 9am-5pm event, which will begin with a Family Fitness Walk around the Captiol elliptical, include a service project assembling care packages for teens in foster care, with food and live music by top local bands, emceed by X-96.

The Kick-Off is just the beginning of a school year of youth service projects, culminating on Global Youth Service Day April 25, 2009. “The Service Marathon will involve thousands of Utah youth during the entire 08-09 school year planning and leading community based projects that meet a variety of needs, from homelessness to the environment, from health and fitness to literacy, from special needs to refugees,” says Judy Zone, Executive Director of YouthLINC, the Utah based youth service organization that is the lead partner of this initiative. “The purpose of the Service Marathon is to demonstrate the power of youth to change communities,” continues Zone.

Other partners include the Utah State Office of Education, Utah Commission on Volunteers, Utah Campus Compact, Association of Youth Councils, Utah Federation of Youth, and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Center for Community of Caring.

Kim Gallegos, a University of Utah student and the Event Coordinator, says, “I am excited to combine two things I love most - music and service! Without music or humanitarian work, the world would be still. Music is the universal language and brings people together. The combination of the music of seven top local bands, food, fun atmosphere AND service makes this an event Utah students should not miss!”

Applications for the 26 impactful student-led community based projects, which will be selected in October, will be available at the Kick-Off and on-line at  Flagship projects will receive $1000 in seed money funding, and have seven months to complete their service.

”The Utah Youth Service Marathon gives students the opportunity to take a leadership role in addressing a need in their community, and will allow them to make a positive difference through service,” says Emily Brown who is the Chair of the Service Marathon. “Through working with organizations that care about their community and helping others, I have realized when people of all ages work together it is nearly impossible to envision the good that results from everyone’s efforts.”

 “We are confident that this project is worth every second we can dedicate to it,” says Kathy Smith, Executive Director of the Utah Commission on Volunteers. “We will bring to the table our network of leaders from community-based organizations, former youth summit participants, and national service members such as AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA.  Our connections to local government, volunteer, and nonprofit leaders will help to make the Marathon a statewide event, which fulfills our mission of improving communities through service and volunteering.”

For more information about the Utah Youth Service Marathon, contact Emily Brown, YouthLINC Assistant Executive Director and Chair of the Service Marathon 801-652-4844 or visit the YouthLINC website or

Project proposals and Sponsor Benefit package information are available.