A Chance in the World
An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home
Publication Date: January 2012
Categories: Personal Memoirs
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"Home is the place where our life stories begin. It is where we are understood, embraced, and accepted. It is a sanctuary of safety and security, a place to which we can always return. Down in the dank basement, amid my moldy, hoarded food and worm-eaten books, I dreamed that my real home, the place where my story had begun, was out there somewhere, and one day I was going to find it." Taken from his mother at age three, Steve Klakowicz lives a terrifying existence. Caught in the clutches of a cruel foster family and subjected to constant abuse, Steve finds his only refuge in a box of books given to him by a kind stranger. In these books, he discovers new worlds he can only imagine and begins to hope that one day he might have a different life—that one day he will find his true home. A fair-complexioned boy with blue eyes, a curly Afro, and a Polish last name, he is determined to unravel the mystery of his origins and find his birth family. Armed with just a single clue, Steve embarks on an extra-ordinary quest for his identity, only to learn that nothing is as it appears. A Chance in the World is the unbelievably true story of a wounded and broken boy destined to become a man of resilience, determination, and vision. Through it all, Steve’s story teaches us that no matter how broken our past, no matter how great our misfortunes, we have it in us to create a new beginning and to build a place where love awaits.
Steve Pemberton is Divisional Vice-President and Chief Diversity Officer for Walgreens, the first person to hold that responsibility in the company’s 110-year history. A graduate of Boston College and tireless advocate for equality, access, and opportunity, Steve has enjoyed a successful career as a businessman, entrepreneur, and educator. He and his wife, Tonya, are the proud parents of three children.