North Carolina has experienced record declines in its teen pregnancy and teen birth rates. However, many communities and many populations still experience disparately high rates of teen pregnancy and teen birth. In 2010, we launched a novel demonstration initiative to address teen pregnancy in Gaston County, North Carolina. The Gaston Youth Connected initiative took a multi-pronged approach to help the community address longstanding problematic teen pregnancy and teen birth rates by using an array of evidence-based approaches. After five years, the initiative resulted in significant health gains for Gaston County — and provided major lessons for how North Carolina can approach teen pregnancy prevention.
How Gaston Youth Connected Changed a Community - and New Lessons for North Carolina is a supplemental report on the State of Adolescent Sexual Health that details:
- Major components of Gaston Youth Connected and how they worked;
- Lessons learned that can serve other communities; and
- How North Carolina is building on the lessons of Gaston Youth Connected.
Acknowledgements: How Gaston Youth Connected Changed a Community – and New Lessons for North Carolina is based on the full Gaston Youth Connected final evaluation report by Joy Sotolongo. Special thanks to the Gaston County community, especially our partners and leadership team members. Thanks to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for funding the initiative, and for providing guidance, technical assistance, and support. Thanks also to SHIFT NC staff who worked to make the initiative a success: Sally Swanson, Sarah Davis, Amanda Fuller, Michelle Reese, Joy Sotolongo, and Kia Thacker.