Next Door Alumni: The Franklin Siblings

A chance to perform poetry at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.

A trip to Washington D.C. as part of a community youth in action group.

And role modeling through a mentorship program.

These are just a few of the positive and life-enriching experiences marking the success of three Milwaukee siblings who launched their education at Next Door.

“I feel like Next Door is a good start for a lot of children, especially if you want a good outcome,” said Marijah Franklin.

Marijah is a 16-year-old sophomore at Milwaukee Lutheran High School. Her twin younger brothers, Lamarrius and Lamarion, are 13-year-old eighth graders who attend St. Marcus Lutheran School and Siloah Lutheran School respectively.

Marijah enjoys math and writing the most at school. She’s currently in honors geometry and loves to write poetry.

Lamarrius says math and science are his favorite subjects. He says math just “clicks for me.”  He’s finding science especially intriguing in eighth grade getting a chance to build robots.

Lamarion likes how practical math is and learning about his past through social studies. He joined a mentoring program at his school where he gets to positively engage with younger children while working simultaneously with an adult role model supporting him.

L-R: Lamarion, Marijah and Lamarrius Franklin

Outside of school, the Franklin siblings are heavily involved in an organization called The Peak Initiative. They go to summer camp with the program and continue year-round with a variety of leadership and life-enhancing opportunities.

“They take regular kids out of their environment and give them extraordinary experiences,” Marijah said.

One of Marijah’s most memorable experiences was performing in a spoken word slam at The Rep. Lamarrius says Peak Initiative has become a second family for him and his siblings.

“It creates bonds and it’s like a home away from home and a place you go to get away from the negative stuff that’s happening around the city,” he said.

The Franklin siblings are also part of the Amani Youth in Action program with the Dominican Center. They’ve tackled several neighborhood clean-ups and earned the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. through their participation in this group.

Marijah, Lamarrius and Larmarion have stayed close with Next Door over the years. Their mother, Mary Franklin, is a Next Door Family Advocate.

They’ve returned to volunteer in the classroom and participate in special events. Marijah dressed up as “Cat in the Hat” to entertain the children on one occasion. She and her brothers like visiting because it reminds them of their strong start at Next Door.

“It feels good because I get to see the kids smiling and I remember how I used to smile because of the teachers and because of the things they do here,” Lamarion said.

Marijah and her twin brothers, Lamarion (top left) and Lamarrius (bottom left) during “Picture Day” at Next Door back in 2009.