There’s no magic bullet to preventing teen pregnancy. In fact, teen pregnancy generally results from a complex set of circumstances that deserve thoughtful attention. Gaston Youth Connected takes a multi-pronged approach to preventing teen pregnancy.
A Community-Driven Model
No lasting change can take root without community engagement. GYC is led by local volunteers and professionals who work to mesh research and public health best practices with Gaston County needs and values. In addition, we survey the community through a variety of methods to make sure our approaches are Gaston-requested and Gaston-approved.
Encouraging Quality Local Programs
Gaston Youth Connected has provided local community organizations with competitive grants that have helped more than 1,300 youth attend evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention and youth development programs. These programs focus on more than just sexual activity, safety, and consequences. They also help young people develop communication and negotiation skills; respect for community, family, and self; and ways to put values into practice in real-world situations.
Because our programs are evidence-based, they have been proven to help young people delay sexual activity and adopt healthy behaviors when they do form intimate relationships – even if that’s far into the future.
Improving Clinical Services
Adolescents tend to get lost in the medical mix – especially when they have questions about sex, relationships, and birth control. Pediatricians can be hesitant to meet these needs, focusing more on children’s needs, and OB/GYNs often focus on women in their more active reproductive years. We work with Gaston County physicians to help them adopt best practices in adolescent care – those recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – so that Gaston County’s young people feel welcomed and well-served when they need medical care.
Linking Clinics and Programs
Young people need a web of support that includes community, family, and medical providers. We link these supports together to make sure no kid falls through the cracks.
Boosting the Power of Parents and Mentors
Young people mature in a network of relationships with parents and family members, as well as mentors, faith leaders, and other helpful adults. We work to strengthen the environments young people live in by empowering adults around them to actively provide positive messages about sexual health, relationships, values, and growing up.
Any effective initiative to serve youth needs to directly incorporate youth voices. Out Teen Action Council advises the project on youth culture in Gaston County, while also helping provide peer support to other young people. Our social marketing campaign, The Playbook, provides critical resources directly to older teens who are most at-risk for pregnancy.