Governor's Office of Youth, Faith and Family

Governor's Office of Youth, Faith and Family

Governor's Youth Commission

2022-23 Applications open for students in select counties: Apache, Graham, Gila, and Mohave 

Apply online or via mail!

Established in 1989, the Governor’s Youth Commission (GYC) is a diverse body of Arizona high school students from across the state. The membership of the GYC serves to be representative of the demographic and geographic diversity of Arizona. Commissioners work to identify and address the greatest challenges facing Arizona’s youth through innovative community impact projects, establishing partnerships with young leaders across the state, and advising the Governor. The GYC is committed to empowering generations of civically engaged and service-oriented leaders to create a brighter future for Arizona. Commissioners are selected based on their demonstrated commitment to school and community, and their demonstrated oral and written ability to communicate through the application process.

The GYC achieves its mission through its five workgroups that focus on the following issue areas:

Distracted Driving

The Distracted Driving Workgroup aims to combat distracted driving by emphasizing the consequences from doing so, and by also encouraging Arizona teen drivers to practice safe driving. #HandsFreeAZ

The 2021-22 Distracted Driving Workgroup created a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to bring attention to the dangers of distracted driving to 9th-12th grade high school students in Arizona. Additionally, the Distracted Driving Workgroup conducted a survey during Distracted Driving Awareness Month recognized in April. The survey aided in assessing distracted driving behaviors and habits among Arizona teens. Information gathered was used to create recommendations to key stakeholders on how to tailor outreach efforts to increase awareness of distracted driving behavior, and decrease the number of distracted driving casualties among Arizona teens.

Domestic Violence

The Domestic Violence Workgroup aims to raise awareness of the warning signs and red flags of an unhealthy relationship while providing available resources to Arizona teens that experience such signs in their relationships. In partnership with schools and local businesses in Maricopa, Greenlee, Graham, Mojave, and Navajo counties, the 2021-22 Workgroup planned a Hygiene Product Drive and donated items to Domestic Violence Shelters in each of the aforementioned counties.


The Education Workgroup aims to mitigate the challenges Arizona high school students face throughout their experience in the education system. With many students having similar struggles, this Workgroup focuses on these difficulties to provide student perspectives in an effort to better inform Arizona high school students, teachers, and government officials on the gaps and barriers within the education system necessary for all Arizona students to thrive. 

In collaboration with the Northern Arizona University (NAU)’s Nizhoni Academy, the 2021-22 Education Workgroup developed a survey to assess college readiness among 9th-12th grade high school students in Arizona. The survey addressed multiple factors, including: barriers to postsecondary education, fear/anxiety surrounding the college application process and what it entails, and what students wish they knew about the college application process before they began. The results better informed the Director and Administrators of the Nizhoni Academy of the biggest barriers to college for high school students, and how they can tailor their summer program to reduce the impact of and/or eliminate the barriers to post-secondary education.

Mental Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated and presented new mental health challenges. Throughout the state, Arizona high school students have endured circumstances such as isolation, uncertainty, and repetitiveness that have taken an unhealthy toll on their mental health. Given this, the Mental Health Workgroup aims to gather resources on suicide prevention to better inform Arizona high school students and their families of the available resources within their communities. 

In collaboration with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), the 2021-22 Mental Health Workgroup conducted a survey to assess the effectiveness of the ADHS campaign, Start a Conversation. The public awareness campaign highlights the positive effect social connections have on physical and mental health. Information gathered from the survey was used to create recommendations on strategies that ADHS can take to increase outreach efforts on available mental health resources to 9th-12th grade high schoolers in Arizona.

Substance Abuse

The Substance Abuse Workgroup aims to spread awareness on available resources for preventing teen substance use and abuse. The 2021-22 Substance Abuse Workgroup created a one-stop shop for teen prevention resources related to substance misuse and abuse. 

Governor's Youth Commission Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

2021-2022 Governor's Youth Commission In the Community