The Moment Everything Changed
By Clare Ogle, an MHS houseparent
It’s funny how you can go about living your life and then something happens and everything changes.
For us, that moment was about five years ago. My husband, Will, and I both landed our dream jobs right out of college. He was working as a youth pastor and I was teaching at a large inner-city high school. Okay, maybe we had some pretty basic ideas of what a dream job was, but either way, we loved our careers.
We also didn’t have children at the time. We both loved kids and worked with them every day, but we didn’t feel called to have our own. One day five years ago, we received a random phone call that was going to change our lives.
There was an amazingly brave woman on the line who was pregnant and not in a good place to raise a baby. She wanted us to have him. After learning more of the details and having plenty of conversations with her, our son, James Providence Ogle, was born on a rainy Wednesday evening in May 2011. We became parents and, in that moment, everything changed.
We were overjoyed with our new baby boy, and we began thinking about the future and what that might look like for him and for us. I knew about Milton Hershey School because my brothers used to wrestle in tournaments here when they were in high school. I considered applying for a teaching job at MHS when my mom reminded me about houseparenting.
As Will and I looked over the job description, it was like we were reading a checklist of our daily activities: Can drive a 15-passenger van – check. Works with children – check. Works with children from low-income backgrounds – check.
The more we found out about the school and the job, the more interested we became. We figured the only way to know if it was a good fit for us was to apply.
We began the application process and kept moving on to the next steps. Eventually, we were offered positions as houseparents and decided to take them. So we packed up all our stuff (which had increased exponentially since the birth of James) and moved to “The Sweetest Place on Earth.” And since then, life has never been the same.
Clare Ogle and her husband Will are houseparents of Student Home Ridgeview in the Senior Division. They also have two children, James and Titus.