Oprah's OWN network tries to be aspirational in most of its programming. One example is "Trouble Next Door," (originally called "Neighbor-vention") which embraces the concept "It Takes a Village." The production company found troubled families and seeks the aid of neigbhors in their community.
On Sunday at 3 p.m., the series highlights a local family led by Annise Mabry of Conyers. (The show originally debuted at 10 p.m. on Mondays but executives bumped it to Sunday afternoons after poor ratings.)
Mabry suffers from a debilitating auto-immune disease, forcing her to quit her job a couple of years ago as a dean at Devry University. She is now using a cane and leg braces.
She had no support system in Conyers. Her family lives in Coweta County. She owned a home in Conyers she originally wanted to flip but the market went south so she got stuck and couldn't move back closer to her relatives.
She had all but lost her teenage daughter Alycin, a quiet, smart girl Annise said was bullied in school for relaxing her hair and "talking like a white girl." "The kids were spitting in her food," Annise said. "It was horrible."
Depressed, Alycin would spend days holed up in her room detached from the world. Annise's disability was also making it difficult for her to keep up with her young son Niles, who had Asperger's and no friends. "Niles had an eighth birthday and none of the kids from his class came to the party," she said. "I can't tell you how that broke my heart."
Before the show, Annise barely knew her neighbors. During the taping of the show, several of Annise's neighbors came together to offer their help and support and continue to provide support for Annise and her children.
Through a neighbor Laura French, Annise's daughter was given a scholarship to a well-respected private school called Eastminster and opened herself up to friends and mentors that are still in her life today. Annise's young son Niles was given much needed recreational opportunities that allowed him to be active and thrive. He now has friends in the neigbhorhood, too. Allison, int he meantime, is doing great at her new school and is no longer a victim of bullying.
"This has been life changing," Annise said. "And to do it on OWN is phenomenal. I''m in the worst of health but I'm living the life of my dreams."