Contestants in The Game of Cumulative Risk and Protective Factors

Tony Sanchez
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Tony was born into a poor neighborhood (low SES) on the south side of Chicago. His mother was 17 when she gave birth to Tony 6 weeks premature. He was 2.4 ounces at birth, and addicted to cocaine. Tony's early years were characterized by placement in and out of a variety of foster homes. There was no father present, and his mother had been declared "unfit" by social services after numerous complaints by neighbors that an infant was being left alone for long periods of time. The foster homes have not been a pleasant experience for Tony, as he has been bounced around the system, and often the care-givers were more interested in a check from Uncle Sam than in his welfare. The school system that he attends is currently rated in the bottom 5% for the state of Illinois, and hospital records indicate that his family has a history of alcohol abuse.

Tony begins the game with 4 orange risk cards. [game [game [game [game

Mary Little
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Mary was born into a middle class family living just outside of Seattle, Washington. Her father is an alcoholic with a terrible temper who often turns violent at the slightest provocation. Her mother is a co-dependent, and Mary has grown up watching her mother tolerate her father's behavior. Although things outside the home look normal to a casual observer, home life is characterized by fear for Mary. As is often the case, only one child receives the brunt of abuse. Unfortunately for Mary, the oldest of the 4 children living in the house, she receives a vast proportion of the abuse and often tries to shield her siblings. A history of alcoholism is present on her father's side of the family.

Mary begins the game with 3 orange risk cards. [game [game [game

Rachel Polanski
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Rachel is currently the only child born to her mother, and they live in Atlanta, GA. No father is currently in the picture and her mother is not sure nor does she care who the father is. Rachel and her mother are living on public assistance. Rachel's mother is suffering from bipolar (manic-depressive) illness, however, has not been diagnosed and is not receiving treatment. Unlike a good portion of people suffering from bipolar illness who cycle from mania to depression over a period of weeks or months, Rachel's mother's mood swings on a 48 hour clock. Rachel does not know how to interpret her mothers rapid mood swings. Rachel has developed one close relationship with another girl at school, and often spends time at her friend's house. There is a history of mental illness on Rachel's mother's side. The history on the father's side is not known.

Rachel begins the game with 3 orange risk cards. [game [game [game

Michael Overstreet
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Michael was born the third child into a military family. His family has moved three times since Michael was born, and they are currently stationed in Fort Hood, TX. The last move was especially difficult on Michael, as he had to leave his best friend and a school that he liked behind. Michael's father, an infantry soldier, spends a great deal of time away from home on field exercises so Michael and his one brother and two sisters are being raised primarily by their mother. Michael's mother loves her children; however, she has a drinking problem that can make her violent. Additionally, Michael has noticed that other men have been staying over while his father is away on military exercises. His mother has made Michael "promise" that he will say nothing to his father about the other men. Michael feels torn about his loyalty to both his parents.

Michael begins the game with 2 orange risk cards. [game [game

Samantha Reston
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Samantha was born into a lower class family in Norman, OK. She is part of a very large family. The sixth of nine children, the Reston's home can best be described as loving, but busy. Samantha enjoys her home life, as there is always someone around to play with. Sam's problems are in school. The school system she attends is rated in the bottom 10% state-wide, and Samantha is doing poorly in school. She tries extremely hard, but does not seem to "get it", and the other children have started to make fun of her as she may have to be left back a grade. Samantha has dyslexia, but up until this point, nobody has detected the disability. She has started to feel that she may be "dumb" as the other children say (except her best friend Lindsay). There is some alcoholism in the family history, but neither of Sam's parents drink.

Samantha begins the game with 2 orange risk cards. [game [game

John Taylor
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John was born the oldest child in the town of Harrisburg, PA. John's father is a truck driver who spends the majority of the year making long-distance hauls. When John's father is home between trips, most of his free time is spent at the local tavern. John had developed an extremely close relationship with his mother. That has changed recently, however, since his sister was born with trisomy 21, and has required special attention (the majority of the mother's time). John has been unable to develop any close relationships at school with peers, as has been labeled an "nerd" by his classmates. He does spend quite a bit of time reading, and spends quality time with the family dog, "Spot". No history of mental illness is present on either side of the family.

John begins the game with 2 orange risk cards. [game [game

Tommy Lange

Tommy was born into a farming community in Nebraska. His parents can best be described as strict, but rather caring of their four children. Tommy, along with his 3 brothers and sisters all attend local Catholic schools, which they can barely afford. Tommy is an average student in school, and has some friends. He participated in after-school sports until last spring. Tommy reported that he had witnessed the coach of the local youth soccer team naked with one of his friends in the shower. He was extremely disturbed by this event, and his parents, not sure what to do, pulled him off of the team and reported the coach to the local authorities. Although the coach was prosecuted, Tommy had to make numerous court appearances describing what he had witnessed. Tommy's outward behavior has not visibly changed. He has, however, been having nightmares about the event recently.

Tommy begins the game with 1 orange risk card. [game

Alexandria Williams

Alex was born an only child into the country community of Zuni in Virginia. She was an unusually quick-tempered child who can best be described as "overreactive". Although she was born into a loving family, Alex has not been able to develop any close relationships with similar age peers to this point. Her home is isolated from neighbors who have children of similar age, and her quick temper at school has made it difficult to maintain friendships for longer than a day or two. Additionally, Alexandria is the tallest child in her class, which has led to quite a bit of teasing by the other children with subsequent lashing out from Alexandria. She has, however, developed a friendship with Miss Jones, her English teacher, who has made it a point to give her special attention.

Alexandria begins the game with 1 orange risk card. [game

Gabrielle Fernandez

Gabrielle was born into a family that could be described as "working poor" on the East side of Los Angeles. The third of three girls, she was cared for primarily by her mother. Her father works up to 14 hours a day, but still manages to spend time with the family after work and on Sundays after church. Gabrielle's parents are very strict but loving. Neither of them has graduated high school, as they were married at 17 when her mother was pregnant with her older sister. Although not well-educated themselves, her parents stress the importance of education to all their children. The parents seem really to live for them, the children's care being the top priority in their lives. They provide for them better than many families with more money by being frugal. The school that Gabrielle attends, however, is poor. The neighborhood in which she is growing up has recently taken a turn for the worse as drug dealers have moved in. Even so, the family is fortunate to have an option to move to a better neighborhood where a number of their relatives live, that is almost as close to Dad's work. No family history of drug or alcohol abuse.

Gabrielle begins the game with no cards.

Josh Nordan

Josh was born to an extremely wealthy family in Westchester N.Y. Both parents are professionals. His mother is a highly respected heart surgeon, while his father is a law partner in a highly successful firm. Josh, as an only child, has been raised primarily by a long list of nannies. His parents are not only busy professionals but also enjoy a full social calendar. Since the age of 5, he has spent his summers at camp while his parents vacation in Europe. Camp, like private school, is extremely hard on him, as he is overweight and the other kids make fun of him. Josh has developed no close relationships at this point in his life, but is an extremely bright child who enjoys solitary activities such as working on computers.

Josh begins the game with 1 green protective card. [game

Philip Bouchard

Philip Bouchard's mother died at birth from unexpected complications. Philip's father had tried to care for him alone, but wound up putting Philip up for adoption at the age of six months. It was later learned that Philip's father had committed suicide shortly after giving up his son (grief over the loss of his wife). Philip was adopted by a loving couple who had not been able to have children. Philip, living in a middle class community just outside New Orleans, has had a relatively happy childhood, and attends a school that is rated as one of the top schools in the district. Philip, unaware of the circumstances that led to his adoption (sealed records), has been plagued by feelings of wanting to discover where he "really" comes from even though he loves his new family dearly. No family history of mental illness is known.

Philip begins the game with 1 green protective card. [game

Sandy Fitzgerald
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Sandy was born into a financially secure and loving home just outside of Kansas City, MO. Sandy is the second of three children. Both of her parents work. They have time for the children, however, as her father runs a small business out of the home while her mother works four days a week as a registered nurse in a retirement home. Sandy has had a happy childhood until recently. Sandy had had an extremely close relationship with her grandmother who died of lung cancer over a year ago. Since that time, Sandy has become an aggressive child in school, and will often not follow the instruction of teachers (behavior which was uncharacteristic before the death of her grandmother). Her parents have taken her to see a counselor, but his had not seemed to help the current situation. Her parents hope Sandy's difficulties will pass, and are talking about other ways they might try to help her. No family history of mental illness.

Sandy begins the game with 2 green protective cards. [game [game

Peter Thomas
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Peter was born into a middle class family in Erie, PA. The third of three children, Peter lives at home with his mother and 2 sisters. Even though his parents are divorced, he sees his father on a regular basis and both of his parents are actively involved in the lives of the three children. Peter likes the school he attends and has developed some good relationships with other students, and is active in after-school sports. Peter, however, believes that his parents divorce is somehow his fault. Although both parents love and treat their children well, each blames the other for the divorce and often use the children to "get back" at the former spouse. Peter often feels in the middle. Fortunately, he has a good relationship with two uncles who live nearby, and the grandparents also try to help. No family history of mental illness or substance abuse.

Peter begins the game with 2 green protective cards. [game [game

Elisabeth Francis
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Elisabeth was the second child born to parents who live on Grand Island, NY. She was born into a loving and stable home. Her parents are independently wealthy, and both are professors at a local college. Both Mom and Dad work part-time and their schedules are constructed so that one of them was always home with the children. Elisabeth is a pretty girl with a pleasant temperament. The school she attends is excellent, and a math teacher has taken a special interest in her because she has excelled in the subject. She has developed several close relationships with peers. No history of mental illness on either side of her family.

Elisabeth begins the game with 3 green protective cards. [game [game [game

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