Meet Our Characters
We profiled Bobby Gross in our 1988 film, OUR CHILDREN AT RISK, when he was an angry 5-year-old growing up in extreme poverty. He was already showing signs of aggressive anti-social behavior at home and failing in school. We filmed Bobby being examined by one of the nation’s most renowned pediatricians, Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, who painted a bleak future for Bobby in the absence of sustained early intervention. Dr. Brazelton’s prediction turned out to be eerily prescient when we revisited Bobby three decades later. We learn that he ended up spending his teenage years in and out of mental institutions and his twenties in and out of prison. He briefly married and had a son, but the authorities terminated his parental rights and placed his son in foster care after Bobby was incarcerated multiple times for abusing his wife and child. At age 35, Bobby’s sole source of support is social security disability.
Danny & Raymond Jacob
To further explore how childhood trauma impacts children differently, we revisit Danny and Raymond Jacob who were the principal subjects 20 years ago in our Academy Award-nominated film WHY CAN’T WE BE A FAMILY AGAIN. We chronicled the struggle of these brothers after their mother abandoned them at a young age when she became addicted to crack cocaine. Fast-forward twenty years, and we see that Danny went on to attend college, host a radio talk show, and coach a basketball team for at-risk youth. His younger brother, Raymond, had a tougher time overcoming his traumatic childhood. He suffered a mental breakdown in his teens, was hospitalized over a dozen times, and currently draws social security disability.
Daniella Rin Hover
While it’s sad to witness the poor outcomes that some of our previous film subjects experienced, it’s tremendously uplifting to see the remarkable display of resilience shown by others like Daniella Rin Hover. When we first filmed Daniella 16 years ago, she was bouncing around the foster care system after being severely abused and neglected as a child. While living in a group home, Daniella fell in love with Veasna Hover, who also grew up in the foster care system after his parents were murdered in Cambodia. They had their first child while they were both still living in separate group homes and had a second child a few years later. When we revisit Daniella after 16 years, we learn that Veasna began to repeat a deeply entrenched pattern of abuse, forcing Daniella to run away with her kids to a domestic violence shelter. Despite the enormous obstacles she continues to face, we watch as Daniella works full time while completing her college degree and raising her 12-year-old daughter.