** Published in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP) 15.4, December 2021. All rights reserved.**
Background: The North Carolina Youth Connected (NCYC) initiative aimed to reduce teen pregnancy rates in two large North Carolina counties by mobilizing local leaders to raise awareness of teen pregnancy and guide solutions.
Objectives: We describe the strategies used to mobilize community leaders, the nature of engagement, and the challenges and lessons learned with engaging community leaders around teen pregnancy prevention.
Methods: A 22-member Community Advisory Council (CAC) carried out community mobilization activities. Meeting minutes and internal logs tracked activities. Surveys and group discussions assessed members’ challenges and lessons learned. Results were analyzed for salient themes.
Results: Lessons learned center on the importance of building meaningful relationships with local leaders, ensuring representation from all sectors, and key considerations for engaging leaders around a common goal when facing local pushback.
Conclusions: Cross-sector collaborations, supported by a backbone organization, take time and commitment but can be effective in tackling teen pregnancy prevention.