April 1, 2009
The financial education needs of Latino immigrants are unique in multiple ways. Language barriers, specific curricular needs, and recruitment all present challenges to financial education providers. This article presents and evaluates Nuestro Barrio, a Spanish-language telenovela designed to reach Latino immigrants with financial education. Initially run on network television, Nuestro Barrio attempts to attract viewers to its entertainment value as a telenovela, simultaneously providing financial education content. In this way, it carries the potential to reach viewers who might not otherwise seek out financial education. Nuestro Barrio's educational model is discussed in the context of the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (TTM), which defines the stages individuals move through as they make incremental progress towards sustained behavior change. The TTM model is also used to inform a limited evaluation of the impact of Nuestro Barrio on viewer behavior with respect to a small sample of viewers in North Carolina. The empirical evidence is consistent with Nuestro Barrio's intended educational effects.