Community Engagement, a now familiar term for those of us in public media, represents the foundation of Nashville Public Television's Next Door Neighborsproject. During the infancy of Next Door Neighbors (2006) we did not know the true meaning of community engagement, but were tasked with incorporating the concept through a grant from the Harwood Institute. For us, the result of community engagement is authenticity, and authenticity is the measure of success for any Next Door Neighbors story. For more information on community engagement, what it is and how it works, check out the following:
NPT’s Community Engagement Guide [pdf]
NPT held lots of informal community conversations that helped shape our Next Door Neighbors programming, we have since developed community conversation guides for several other projects.
NDN Promotional posters [pdf]
Example documents of an invitation in Spanish to one of NPT’s Literacy workshops, a poster advertising a screening of NDN docs and an invitation to participate in NPT’s Storytellers Project.
NPT Toolkit [link]
Through the years, Nashville Public Television has developed relationships with several organizations working directly with immigrants and refugees in Nashville. We have also partnered with a few though our Next Door Neighbors Storytellersproject, where NPT trains and empowers local immigrants and refugees to tell their own stories. Below are some of the organizations we have worked with:
Casa Azafrán Community Center
Casa Azafrán is both a beautiful event space and home to a collective of nonprofits who offer services in education, legal, health care and the arts to immigrants, refugees and the community as a whole. Among those, we have worked with:
Conexión Américas was founded in 2002 to address the pressing challenges, and opportunities, created by demographic changes in Middle Tennessee as an increasing number of Latino families moved to our state.
Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC)
TIRRC is a statewide, immigrant and refugee-led collaboration whose mission is to empower immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice, defend their rights, and create an atmosphere in which they are recognized as positive contributors to the state.
Catholic Charities of Tennessee (Refugee Resettlement)
One of three local volunteer agencies supported by the State Department to directly resettling refugees to Nashville. Catholic Charities of TN also provides assistance to immigrants and many others in need of support.
Tennessee Office for Refugees
Also a part of Catholic Charities of Tennessee, (TOR) is designated by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to administer the state refugee resettlement program.
Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE)
The Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE) is a non-profit, community-based organization dedicated to empowering refugees and immigrants of Middle Tennessee through direct social services and educational programs. NICE is also one of three organizations in Nashville offering reception & placement of refugees.
Center for Refugees + Immigrants of Tennessee (CRIT)
The Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee (CRIT) provides opportunities that allow refugee and immigrant families adjust to life in Nashville, offering support and education and encouraging self sufficiency.
World Relief in Nashville works in partnership with the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and the Office of Refugee Resettlement to provide initial resettlement and placement as well as employment, youth, education and legal services to refugees entering the U.S.
Tennessee Foreign Language Institute (TFLI)
TFLI is an agency operated by the State of Tennessee offering intercultural communication through the provision of quality language instruction, translation and interpretation services, professional development for interpreters, translators and language instructors, and cultural awareness programs.
TFLI also operates the ESL to Go program
Learning English is one of the initial barriers many immigrants and refugees face. This ESL map is offered and maintained by the Metro Human Relations Commission and shows current ESL (English as a Second Language) classes available in Nashville, TN. All organizations that offer ESL classes are listed on the map.