A Career That Makes a Difference
Growing up in the city of Detroit, Duane Mayfield was always passionate about mentoring youth. When he and his wife Angel were looking to relocate, he began searching the web for “careers that make a difference.”
That’s when he discovered Milton Hershey School—a home and school for more than 2,000 students from low-income backgrounds. The school’s mission resonated with Duane due to his upbringing in Detroit.
“I grew up poor, and I’ve seen a lot of abuse. Growing up, the only people I saw were the people in my neighborhood,” Duane said. “My background is similar to Milton Hershey Schools’ students’ backgrounds, so I knew I could make a difference here.”
After visiting the school’s campus and learning how they could play a role in breaking the cycle of poverty, Duane and Angel applied to become houseparents. They began their careers in April of 2016 and now lead a home of 12 high school boys.
As houseparents, Duane and Angel work to provide students with the tools and guidance they need to pursue the possibilities ahead of them. Their goal is to create a family-oriented atmosphere where students have stability and support. By teaching life lessons like teamwork, respect, and perseverance, the couple is making an impact for years to come.
“Our students take the tools they learned from us with them into adulthood,” Angel explained. “Students from the past two graduating classes are still excited to share their accomplishments with us even though they’ve graduated.”
Offering support to students from poverty also involves relationship-building. Duane and Angel work together to help students discover their individual hobbies and interests, and participate in the school’s wide range of extracurricular activities.
“You have to be relatable to the kids, and you have to be passionate,” Duane said. “For each kid, I try to understand their [hobbies] because I want to be interested in them, too, so I can build that bond.”
Passion and relationship-building are what allow Duane and Angel to truly make a difference each and every day.