“Building a Nation of Neighbors” | Shelbyville Multimedia

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Adapted from the film Welcome to Shelbyville
directed and produced by Kim A. Snyder

“Building a Nation of Neighbors”

Please see below to watch the full module!

While Shelbyville is, in many ways, a typical southern town, it is also unique. Several of the residents appearing in the documentary and on this website are active participants of the Welcoming Tennessee Initiative, a statewide effort to help improve relations between long-term residents and immigrant newcomers. The effort is based on principles developed by Welcoming America, a national, grassroots-driven umbrella organization that works to promote mutual respect and cooperation between foreign-born and U.S.-born Americans. The ultimate goal of Welcoming America is to create a welcoming atmosphere — community by community — in which immigrants are more likely to integrate into the social fabric of their adopted hometowns. As the model continues to garner successes around the country, many are clamoring for tools to make their schools, local institutions, churches, communities and states more welcoming. “Building a Nation of Neighbors” is a 25 minute DVD that hones in on select scenes that exemplify the Welcoming model, while providing additional context on how it can work for a range of communities and audiences. From a seasoned “welcoming ambassador” to a concerned resident who wants to get the conversation started at her church, this module provides tips and guidance on how to build more welcoming communities.

“Building a Nation of Neighbors” was produced by Active Voice in association with BeCause Foundation. It was developed in partnership with Welcoming America with generous support from Unbound Philanthropy. It can be viewed below as a whole piece or in segments, depending on your setting and audience. Some might find it helpful to first view the Welcome to Shelbyville trailer for context.

For more information on this module visit Welcoming America’s website, or request a copy on DVD by filling out their form.


Building a Nation of Neighbors (full module): a Shelbyville Multimedia video module for bridge-building between newcomers and long time residents, adapted from the documentary Welcome to Shelbyville directed and produced by Kim A. Snyder.


CHAPTER 1 – The Story of Welcoming: an introduction to the Welcoming model and how it relates to the community of Shelbyville, TN.


CHAPTER 2 – Local Leaders: The Foundation for Welcoming Work: an overview of how the Welcoming America model approaches local leadership development.


CHAPTER 3 – Starting the Welcoming Conversation: provides context on how the Welcoming model brings immigrants and long-time residents into direct, facilitated contact.


CHAPTER 4 – Welcoming Messages: Changing the Perception of Immigrants: background on the Welcoming America approach of reversing negative images of immigrants by using strategic communications.


CHAPTER 5 – From Neighbors to Friends: Overcoming Common Misunderstandings: an overview of how to bring together community members to address misunderstandings and stereotypes.
“Building a Nation of Neighbors” was produced by Active Voice in association with BeCause Foundation. It was developed in partnership with Welcoming America with generous support from Unbound Philanthropy.