An actress who also has a master's in public health, Davis
came up with the idea for "Nuestro Barrio" as part of her
job at a community advocacy group in Durham that is producing the show.A pilot focused on fair housing issues aired in April 2004 on cable stations in North Carolina, and the response -- combined with the wild success of telenovelas in the United States on Spanish-language networks such as Univision and Telemundo
-- convinced Davis
the format could become an excellent financial classroom for first-generation Hispanic immigrants.
"You have your cute girls," Davis
worried about every script of "Nuestro Barrio" -- or "Our Neighborhood" -- wondering if she'd found the right balance of teaching moments and the fun stuff: love, deceit and betrayal.
..."It's not only entertaining, but it's also educational and informational," said Neal Davis, the general manager of WLFL-TV in Raleigh, which aired the first 13-episode season and plans to air the second.
"When introducing them to other general managers, I'm giving them credit for doing something other shows don't."
The show's initial "teaching" focus was on financial issues.The mission of Davis'
group, the Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina
, is to promote community wealth by advocating on several issues, including payday lending, fair housing and home ownership.