Discovering a Career with Purpose
Rachel and Matthew Blount are a long way from home—1,312 miles to be exact. In Hershey, Pennsylvania, their hometown of Norman, Oklahoma seems a world away. But for these third-year houseparents at Milton Hershey School, the school’s mission to help children from low-income families break the cycle of poverty has made the move well worth it.
Both Rachel and Matthew appreciated the adult mentors they had in their lives. Their positive experiences made them want to become role models to children in need as a way to give back for all that was given to them.
“I hope I can be that missing link in someone’s life … that maybe I can be that person to listen to and care for them,” Rachel said.
Before becoming houseparents, the couple worked in a state treatment center for at-risk youth. Rachel was a counselor and Matthew a security guard. Feeling like they needed a change, they researched houseparenting as a career and soon found Milton Hershey School. The mission and history of the school, as well as the exceptional resources it offers students, intrigued the Blounts.
“We wanted to positively impact and change lives,” Matthew said.
At MHS, they found the opportunity to do just that. In their roles, Rachel and Matthew help the nine elementary boys in their student home get ready for school, transport them to activities, assist with homework, cook regular meals, plan family activities, and offer constant support. They also are dedicated to opening their students’ minds to new experiences for growth and success, such as learning how to network, taking care of their own garden, and actively learning how to solve problems.
The Blounts have always valued family, and they work to incorporate mutual respect and compassion into the family-like environment their students enjoy. They are intentional about planning activities that bring their students together and create memories.
“We have the opportunity to change the trajectory of others’ lives,” Matthew shared. “The conversations you have, the things you do, and the lessons you teach are the moments that can define somebody.”
As they enter into a new year of houseparenting, Rachel and Matthew are excited to continue building relationships while empowering their students with the tools they need for a brighter future.
Learn how you can make a positive impact on young people as houseparents at Milton Hershey School.