SHIFT NC

Gaston Youth Connected

Gaston Youth Connected was one of the nation’s first community-wide initiatives to reduce teen pregnancy. As one of eight demonstration counties from around the country working on this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) project from 2010 to 2015, Gaston Youth Connected provided new lessons on how North Carolina and the nation can address adolescent health. 

Making National News

Gaston County has gained national recognition for their continued success to support adolescent sexual health and reduce teen pregnancy rates.  Click here to read NPR's coverage of their work with teens and LARCs.

About Gaston Youth Connected 

Through Gaston Youth Connected, we worked with community leaders to boost programs for youth, make clinical services youth-friendly, and help connect youth in program and clinic settings to other services.

Highlights include:

  • Increasing the number of evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs, and the number of people and organizations that can provide them
  • Turning an old clinic into a model for age-appropriate, teen friendly medical services
  • Building community participation by developing local leadership groups to govern the project
  • Launching the Teen Action Council, a committed group of high-schoolers who do positive peer outreach

The Goals

Gaston Youth Connected achieved its two primary goals:

  1. To reduce the county’s teen pregnancy rate by at least 10% by 2015; and
  2. To develop infrastructures that can support evidence-based pregnancy prevention strategies, including program services that are integrated with clinical services.

The Results

After just three years of the project, Gaston County's teen pregnancy rate had fallen by more than 40%! In addition, the long-standing disparity between white and African American teen pregnancy rates had closed. Check out each year's progress report to see how we achieved these results: 

Year 1 (2010-11) Gaston Youth Connected Needs Assessment Report
Year 2 (2011-12) Gaston Youth Connected Annual Evaluation Report
Year 3 (2012-13) Gaston Youth Connected Annual Evaluation Report
Year 4 (2013-14) Gaston Youth Connected Annual Evaluation Report
Years 1-5 (2010-15) Gaston Youth Connected Final Evaluation Report

Gaston Youth Connected Final Evaluation Report 
Gaston Youth Connected Final Project Timeline

Special Report: How Gaston Youth Connected Changed a Community - and New Lessons for North Carolina


Have specific questions about this project? Contact Chief Program Officer Sally Swanson