Above: Terrell Ransom Jr., who portrays young Steve Pemberton, in a scene from the film.
“A Chance in the World,” a film adaptation of New Bedford, Mass. native and Boston College alumnus Steve Pemberton’s best-selling book, will be shown in more than 800 theaters nationwide on May 30, thanks to a partnership between Cinemark Theaters and AMC and Regal Cinemas to showcase the film to promote foster care.
The movie is an autobiographical account of Pemberton’s desperate search for his biological family, an effort continually thwarted by his mixed-race appearance and abusive foster family. The title was taken from the words of a baby sitter who said of Pemberton, “This little boy does not have a chance in the world.”
“It was the stories of so many others I met after the book was published that encouraged me to bring it to the screen,” said Pemberton. “The opportunity to have this nationwide showing of the film on May 30, during National Foster Care Awareness month, is a perfect way to draw attention to an issue about which I care deeply.”
Child welfare advocates say that the foster care system in the United States is in deep crisis, as it struggles to find homes for hundreds of thousands of children. Of growing concern, experts say, is the nearly 30,000 adolescents who age out of the system each year, and are often left to fend for themselves without the benefit of family structure or support.
“These staggering statistics, and the stories that accompany them, bring to mind one of the most enduring memories of my teenage years—being seated across from my social worker two days after Christmas, watching him call families for hours on end desperately trying to find a home for me,” said Pemberton.
“The biggest challenge is that there are simply not enough homes to meet the ever-increasing demand for foster care. It is my hope that this film—and the attention and discourse it will generate on May 30—can help to change that.”
WATCH: Steve Pemberton discusses the feature film based on his experience growing up in foster care, and its nationwide showing in theaters across the country to raise awareness of children currently in need of homes.
Pemberton, who was taken in by his former high school counsellor for his final year of high school, went on to graduate from Boston College before assuming senior leadership roles at Monster.com and Walgreens. A resident of Chicago and father of three, he currently serves as Chief People Officer at Globoforce, a pioneer company in workforce engagement and social recognition.
A frequent visitor to Boston College, Pemberton received an honorary degree from BC in 2015 and addressed the class of 2020 at the First Year Convocation in 2016. He also serves on the University's Board of Trustees.
Pemberton says that his ultimate goal with the May 30 showing is for thousands of deserving children to find a home as a result of this effort.
“These are children who have done nothing wrong,” said Pemberton. “Their only crime is to have been the inheritors of circumstances they did not ask for. But they are not broken. They have hopes and dreams and the strength and resilience to make them happen."
WATCH: A trailer for 'A Chance in the World,' in cinemas across the U.S. on May 30.
“A Chance in the World” will be shown in New York City at the Paley Center for Media, as well as in more than 800 theaters across the country on May 30. Several BC Alumni Association chapters will host events in select cities. In Massachusetts, it will be shown at select Cinemark and AMC and Regal Cinema theaters, including Fenway Stadium 13 in Boston, Randolph Showcase Cinemas, Revere Showcase Cinemas, Patriot Place Foxboro, AMC Framingham 16, and Lowell Showcase Cinemas. Information is available here.
Pemberton's book, A Chance in the World, is available for purchase through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For every book purchased, Steve and Tonya Pemberton’s A Chance in the World Foundation will donate a book, life session, and a movie purchase to a child involved in foster care.
“Tonya and I view the May 30 premiere and the re-release of the book as an opportunity to promote the vital importance of foster care,” said Pemberton. “As I know from my own experience, all these kids are looking for is a chance, whether that be furthering their education or finding a caring foster home. To them, every kindness matters.”
Find information on film times and locations, and purchase tickets, here.
Jack Dunn | University Communications