Next Door Alumni Success: JohnQuell Tucker

At 26 years old, JohnQuell Tucker still remembers two important fixtures from his early days at Next Door.

“The sandbox and the water table,” he recalled.

JohnQuell also remembers his teachers — Ms. Frankie and Ms. Jennifer — reading stories and going over numbers in class during the two years he spent at Next Door from 1995 to 1997.

“It definitely was a positive and happy place,” JohnQuell said. “I’m definitely pro-early childhood education and I recommend it to families I work with now.”

Today, JohnQuell is a child welfare social worker for SaintA in Milwaukee. He works with children in foster care to ensure they have the resources they need to succeed in life. That support includes trauma-informed care for kids coping with adverse childhood experiences. He works simultaneously with parents who have been separated from their children and strives to achieve family reunification.

“I’ve had numerous kids that have been placed back home and safely reunited with their parents or relatives,” he said.  


JohnQuell decided to pursue social services late in his college career at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point where he earned a full-ride academic scholarship. He went from an architecture major to psychology to secure what he felt would be a more rewarding and fulfilling career.

“For me, instead of being the architect of buildings, I wanted to be the architect of individuals – helping people build solid foundations for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Before SaintA, JohnQuell spent three years in Stevens Point working with children and adults battling mental illness or traumatic experiences. The work entailed facilitating group counseling for the children and teaching independent living skills to adults.

JohnQuell says he’s inspired by the impact he can have on a personal level and plans to further his education in graduate school next year. Based on his positive outlook, he is bound for more success down the road.

“They say the sky is the limit. I say the sky is the minimum. Why set limits for yourself when the heights of success are infinite? Reach for infinite heights,” he said.

If you are a Next Door alumni, like JohnQuell, we want to hear your story! To get in touch, email Max at