Caribbean Couple Finds Calling as Milton Hershey School Houseparents
Featuring David and Beverly-Ann Fraser, MHS Houseparents
“Over 22 years ago, we migrated from the Caribbean to be a part of a church family in Brooklyn, New York, and became United States citizens,” said David Fraser, pastor and teacher.
After raising their children in New York, David and Beverly-Ann Fraser became empty nesters and were looking for a change of pace. They wanted to find impactful careers where they could use their experience with youth and passion for serving others.
With experience as a pastor and mental health counselor, the Frasers search led them to houseparenting in Hershey, Pennsylvania, at Milton Hershey School.
“We interviewed, visited campus, and found that we were ready for this next chapter of our lives,” David said. “The rest is history and we have been houseparents for seven years now.”
As houseparents, the Frasers live in an apartment attached to a student home where they oversee eight to 12 students of the same age and gender. Their day-to-day responsibilities include student transportation, cooking meals, managing chores, and helping students develop essential life skills such as social and emotional learning.
“In the city, we mentored many young people, planted seeds, and hoped that someone would provide the water and nutrients they need to grow,” Beverly-Ann said. “At MHS, we are able to watch students blossom from seed to flower and graduate with a purpose.”
Houseparent couples are role models for MHS students to look up to. To qualify for this role, houseparents must be legally married for three years, be at least 27 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and meet other job requirements specific to the demanding career.
The Frasers have been married for 36 years and demonstrate a level of care and love for each other that their students admire. Beverly-Ann added, “For me, my favorite part of the job is working with my husband and practicing what we preach to our students.”
Through the onboarding process, couples participate in a three-week training experience with a cohort of houseparents. Afterwards, couples become flex houseparents where they shadow student homes and sub-in when needed. By the time a houseparent couple is assigned to a student home, they have built a community that they can rely on.
“Support is key in this role,” David said. “We frequently reach out to one another and ask for advice or share experiences. Houseparents have the opportunity to get involved in the Home Life community through book clubs, bible studies, sports leagues, etc.”
David and Beverly-Ann feel blessed to be able to continue the legacy of MHS founders, Milton and Catherine Hershey. The Frasers feel a sense of pride to be able to call MHS home.
“No matter your role, you are making a difference here at MHS,” Beverly-Ann said. “There is a sense of family and community. It is a great place to invest your time and gifts.”
The Frasers also use their Caribbean background to provide perspective to their students.
“We grew up in a third-world country and know what poverty looks like,” David said. “We can relate to the students, but also give them perspective on the bigger picture and what life looks like outside of Hershey.”
The Frasers would like to encourage interested couples to learn more about the role by attending an Online Information Session where recruiters and current houseparents discuss the home life role in detail and answer questions live.
“The sky is the limit here at MHS,” David and Beverly-Ann said. “When you get here, you’ll know you are in the right place.”