A Chance in the World Chronicles One Man’s Journey Growing Up in the Foster Care System
This year 23,000 kids will age out of the foster care system and group homes across America and need a fighting chance to succeed.
“I remember the day they came to take me from my mother. I’ll always remember. It was a few days before Christmas and the Department of Social Services determined that I would be in great danger for as long as I stayed with her. She was in the middle of a losing battle with alcoholism. So, they took me away that day and I never saw her again. With me went a prediction that followed me for the next 15 years: ‘The deficit is too great’, they said. ‘There is simply no way he can overcome this. He doesn’t have a chance in the world.’”
From that day when Steve Pemberton was five-years-old and dropped off at his foster home of the next eleven years, his days were filled with loneliness, fear and uncertainty with nobody to help him out. Along the way, through small acts of kindness from a neighbor that fortuitously included a box of books, Steve decided to fight the battle to realize and overcome his situation by excelling in school and obtaining a full scholarship.
In the revised and expanded edition of his top-selling autobiography, “A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home” (Thomas Nelson, Paperback), Steve’s story is a heart- wrenching, but uplifting, story of a young man’s determination to move forward in life that inspires us all to reflect on the current situation in the American Foster Care system. Simultaneously, it showcases a tale of the human spirit’s ability to find hope, strength and forgiveness in the darkest of times, which readers are often moved to share with their family, friends, and neighbors.
Against all odds, Steve succeeded, graduating college and becoming a very successful corporate executive with iconic global tech innovator Monster.com; one of the 10 largest businesses in the world: Walgreens; and now with social engagement leader Globoforce. His story has been made into a major motion picture, distributed by Cinemark May 30.
“Each day thousands of children are facing these same obstacles as I did and will grow up just to become abandoned by a system that failed them, without a chance at making it in the world,” Steve notes. “One understands the value of giving a chance the most when they, themselves, are given a chance. My book, the movie and my foundation all serve to raise awareness and to help throngs of children realize their full potential—to society’s collective benefit. If I had had the opportunity to read a story like mine and see myself reflected in a movie when I was a child, it would have changed everything.”
Today over 117,000 children are waiting in the American Foster Care system. Every year far too many of them will turn 18 with few life skills or a support system and become part of other government structures that can lock them into cycles of hopelessness. Steve actively works to give hope and a future to kids living in “the system” around the country. He has parlayed his success by establishing the Chance in The World Foundation to help the tens of thousands of kids in today’s American foster care system get their own fighting chance through learning opportunities and partnerships with several organizations and corporations.
The chance Steve, himself, found through reading was immeasurable and a turning point in his life. Now imagine if every child who does not know if there is anyone who cares, anyone who has been in their shoes before, if he or she has any hope for their future… could be given that same chance? It would double their resolve to shape their own path. A Chance in the World can help change minds and lives.
“A Chance in the World is a fantastic book. As a narrative, it tells the story of a boy who found in books the imaginative ability to see a new, different, and better world. As a history, it unearths a painful and abusive past that, against all odds, forged the character of the wonderful man Steve Pemberton has become. But, most important, the book affirms a set of values central to all of humanity – love, hope, faith, and perseverance. A Chance in the World reminds us of a universal truth: the human spirit is enduring.” — Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., Edward R. Johnson, Clinical Professor of Law Harvard Law School
About the Author: Steve Pemberton is a best-selling author, philanthropist, and a highly sought-after speaker. He currently serves as Chief People Officer for Globoforce. Previously Steve served as Global Chief Diversity Officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance, the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise in the world. He was the first person in Walgreens’ 100-plus year history to hold the position of Chief Diversity Officer, overseeing the company’s global efforts to create and maintain a diverse and inclusive environment that reflects the culture, people and perspectives of the many nations in which they do business. Before his post at Walgreens Steve was the Chief Diversity Officer for Monster.com where he helped the company achieve all time growth in applicants.
Dedicated to a life in support of others, Steve has never forgotten the chances that bent the arc of his life. That is why he has made equality, access and opportunity pillars of both his professional and personal life. From his participation on several non-profit boards to establishing A Chance in the World Foundation, Steve remains a relentless champion for those who have often been left in the shadows. His commitment to others and his refusal to accept things as they are, have earned him national recognition, including the coveted Trumpet Award and the prestigious Horizon Award by the United States Congress.
Steve is happily married and established a loving family of his own. While he made numerous efforts to find out his own history and birth family, he realized that family is not just what you’re born into...it’s also who comes to stand beside you.