Governor's Office of Youth, Faith and Family

Governor's Office of Youth, Faith and Family

Governor's Youth Commission


Established in 1989, the Governor’s Youth Commission (GYC) solicits the participation of 10th-12th grade high school students from all 15 counties across the state, representing Arizona's demographic and geographic diversity. Commissioners work to promote healthier communities through youth volunteerism and service learning, increasing awareness of the greatest issues affecting their community and encouraging civic participation. This empowers generations of civically engaged and service-oriented leaders to create a brighter future for Arizona. Commissioners are selected based on their demonstrated commitment to their school and community and their oral and written ability to communicate effectively through the application process.

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

Domestic Violence

The Domestic Violence Workgroup strives to raise awareness about domestic violence and educate the public on how it affects the vast demographics seen across the State of Arizona. To do so, the 2022-2023 Domestic Violence Workgroup completed two community outreach events to raise awareness about recognizing red flags in dating relationships, gather resources to prevent domestic violence and explore the many ways to support individuals impacted by domestic violence. Additionally, the workgroup conducted a statewide Hygiene Product Drive in April. Donated items from 50 donation sites amounted to approximately $21,155 in monetary value benefiting eight domestic violence shelters in three Arizona counties.

Education

The 2022-2023 Education Workgroup focused on raising awareness of alternatives to post-secondary education and the importance of completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) throughout Arizona high schools. To do so, the workgroup consolidated resources from across the state to develop region-specific resources, including opportunities for one-on-one FAFSA assistance, connecting to local trade schools, etc. By promoting the importance of completing the FAFSA and alternative and non-traditional post-secondary options, the workgroup is expanding the options presented to Arizona high schoolers to better prepare them for a career they’re passionate about.

Mental Health

The COVID-19 pandemic 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 increase awareness of the available resources within their communities to Arizona high school students and their families. 

The 2022-2023 Mental Health Workgroup developed a toolkit for high school students interested in starting a mental health club using materials from the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program. Through these efforts, the workgroup aided in bringing awareness and education around available suicide prevention resources for teens that will reduce the stigma around expressing to peers when they are struggling with their mental health and ultimately reduce the number of deaths by suicide among Arizona teens. 

Substance Abuse

Most adults who meet the criteria for having a substance use disorder start using substances during their teens and young years (U.S. Surgeon General, 2021). Because of this, the Substance Abuse Workgroup aims to spread awareness to Arizona high school students and parents on the dangers of substance misuse and abuse. As substance abuse has become an increasing problem among young adults, this workgroup provides a wide range of resources and strategies from early prevention to harm reduction that works to prevent substance misuse and abuse across the state.

Utilizing the 2021-2022 Substance Abuse Workgroup's one-stop-shop of early prevention-focused resources for substance abuse, the 2022-2023 Substance Abuse Workgroup expanded on these efforts to provide additional resources around harm reduction strategies for teens, as well as general substance misuse and abuse information for parents. Available in English and Spanish, resources include county-specific information to ensure individuals receive local and culturally competent services that best fit their needs. These efforts will aid in creating a statewide needs assessment identifying counties/regions where additional targeted outreach is needed to increase awareness about substance misuse and abuse resources within local communities.

2022-2023 Commissioners in the Community

Governor's Youth Commission Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)