First Chance

How Kids with Nothing Can Change Everything
Author: Robert Owen Carr with Dirk Johnson
Inspiring success in young people from troubled backgrounds
Cloth – $19.99
Publication Date
Cloth: 06/03/2019
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About the Book

First Chance: How Kids with Nothing Can Change Everything examines the remarkable triumphs of young people considered least likely to attain a college degree: those who have experienced foster care (3 percent graduation rate) or the incarceration of a parent, especially a mother (2 percent graduation rate). Some 2.7 million schoolchildren have experienced parental incarceration, while nearly 500,000 are declared wards of the state annually. Yet their experiences receive little attention. The young people themselves are frequently hesitant to talk about their lives, burdened with a sense of shame, even though they are blameless.

Philanthropist and author Robert O. Carr has turned the focus of his college scholarship program, Give Something Back, on these often forgotten and neglected kids. As their stories reveal, they have the smarts and drive to compete with peers from more comfortable backgrounds. The author argues that these young people can draw on their special and painful insights to forge powerful change, provided society acknowledges them--and extends a first chance.

About the Author

Robert Owen Carr is the founder and CEO of Beyond and the founder of Give Something Back, a college scholarship and mentoring program. He is the author of Through the Fires: An American Story of Turbulence, Business Triumph and Giving Back and Working Class to College: The Promise and Peril Facing Blue-Collar America. Dirk Johnson is a former bureau chief for the New York Times and Newsweek magazine. His books include Biting the Dust: The Wild Ride and Dark Romance of the Rodeo Cowboy and the American West and Meth: America's Home-Cooked Menace.

Also by this author

Through the Fires coverWorking Class to College cover



"An inspiring message of resilience, hope and triumph for kids raised with painful adversities."--Hoda Kotb, co-anchor, NBC's Today

"For those facing the longest odds, First Chance is a riveting journey from troubled homes to college classrooms."--Robin McGraw, New York Times bestselling author