A Shared Passion
Joe and Ashley Hoover have always shared a passion for mentoring young people. It’s what brought them together and inspired them to fall in love. As newlyweds, they soon realized they wanted to turn their desire to help children into their life’s work.
During their time volunteering with a crisis pregnancy center in Iowa, Joe and Ashley discovered houseparenting, which they found unique and inspirational. They researched how to become houseparents and came across Milton Hershey School.
At the time, Ashley was 25 years old—a little younger than the 27-year-old age requirement for the position at the school. The couple eagerly waited and one day after Ashley’s 27th birthday, they celebrated by applying for careers as houseparents at MHS.
The Hoovers were looking for an opportunity where they could make a lasting impact and give back for all they had been given throughout their lives. At MHS, they found just that. They quickly acclimated their new roles as houseparents and role models to 12 high school girls.
They encourage the girls in their student home to believe in themselves and be confident in who they are with the intent of helping to raise strong young women who are ready to take on the world.
“We want our girls to understand grit and perseverance to not only bring them to graduation, but to guide them through challenges after MHS,” Ashley said.
Joe and Ashley support their students by modeling empathy and compassion, setting a daily routine, cooking meals, and helping them set and achieve goals.
“The Hoovers were more than just my houseparents,” said alumna Susanna Compare ’18. “They were my second family. From making hot breakfast every morning to supporting us in everything we did, they helped us learn from our mistakes and never hesitated to go above and beyond for us.”
Now in their fifth year as houseparents, Joe and Ashley are excited to continue to work alongside other houseparents, teachers, and staff who share the same vision of helping children in need reach success.
“Every day that we come to work, everything we do is purposeful,” Joe shared.