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Anthem teen appointed to Governor’s Youth Commission, will chair Distracted Driving Committee


ANTHEM – Anthem teen Brenden Castellanos is serving his second term on the Arizona Governor’s Youth Commission, and this term, he’s chairing the Distracted Driving Committee. Through this committee, Brenden and his team are working to raise awareness of the problem of distracted driving and work with multiple agencies to combat this ongoing issue.

“I am focusing on distracted driving because it is a huge epidemic in the state of Arizona particularly which only seems to be getting worse,” Brenden said in an email interview. “When I saw that Phoenix suffers nearly as many traffic deaths from running red-lights as Houston and even more than Los Angeles, two cities which are much larger than Phoenix, I realized that a great deal of these tragedies can be attributed to distracted driving. Additionally, in a state which is notorious for wrong-way drivers, I believe that bringing an end to distracted driving plays the largest role in preventing future tragedies.”

“Some things that we plan on to help combat the problem of distracted driving include launching anti-distracted driving campaigns at Arizona schools, partnering with ADOT to spread awareness of the issue as a whole, getting in contact with various organizations which work to lobby for anti-distracted driving legislation, and maybe even creating a PSA or a set of PSAs,” Brenden continued.

The Arizona Governor’s Youth Commission is comprised of teens from all over the state. Each member is focused on goals that help make Arizona a safer, better place to live. After his school counselor emailed him about the Youth Commission, Brenden was inspired to join; having already served on the Anthem Youth Advisory Council, Brenden was ready to take on the challenge of the statewide Youth Commission.

“I believe that it is essential that the youth partake in their own campaigns to curtail negative behavior and contribute to the betterment of society,” Brenden said. “Additionally, I am and always have been very interested in the inner workings of all levels of government whether it be at the federal, state, or local level and I was extremely interested in the various opportunities which the Governor's Youth Commission could offer.”

Brenden said he is aiming to increase the connection between youth and their communities through his volunteer work.

“By creating a better environment for all, I intend to make the youth more aware of their ability to bring about change in even the smallest ways possible,” he noted. “The Governor's Youth Commission as a whole focuses on tackling the issues of substance abuse, teen dating violence, civics education, bullying, and distracted driving. Our goal at large is to inspire the youth to become passionate about the issues they feel are most important and empower them as individuals to make a difference in their schools and communities.”

Dawn Castellanos, Brenden’s mother, emphasized how proud she and her husband are of Brenden and his dedication to serving the community. Dawn noted that her son has always shown an interest in geography, history, politics, and travel.

“In addition, the leaders of the Anthem Youth Advisory Council and Governor's Youth Commission were a huge influence as well,” Dawn said, noting that those who run these organizations “lead by example giving countless hours of their time to inspire the youth leaders to give back to the community and be the voices to propel change.”

Dawn added that Brenden “enjoys being with like minded teens who can accept other's opinions and work together in solving issues regardless of party lines for the greater good of our community, state, country, and world...humanity as a whole!”

Brenden’s future plans are to graduate in the top five percent of his class and go on to study law at the University of Arizona, minoring in political science and Spanish.

“My long term aspiration is to eventually become an elected official at either the state or federal level,” Brenden said. “On a personal level, I would love to travel the world and attain full fluency in Spanish. At the end of the day, my greatest goal of all is to be a productive citizen of the world.”

Visit to find out more about the Governor’s Youth Commission and show your support for Brenden and other members who are working to improve the world around them.