From the Classroom to a Student Home, Empty Nesters Impact Youth as Houseparents
Featuring Preston and Louise Morgan, MHS Houseparents
After raising their family in Texas, Preston and Louise Morgan became empty nesters looking for a new opportunity in Pennsylvania near relatives. That’s when they learned about the life-changing opportunity to become houseparents at Milton Hershey School.
With over 15 years of experience in education, the Morgans saw the houseparent vocation as a way to use their experience with youth and pivot to something new for their next chapter as empty nesters.
“We were looking for a career change and saw this as the perfect fit between our joint experience and passion for youth development,” Louise said.
The houseparent role checked every box for the Morgans in addition to a competitive salary, extensive benefits package, paid time off, housing, food, and more.
“MHS takes care of everything for you,” Preston said. “They helped us move from Texas and provide for all of our needs on campus and a community to lean on.”
Houseparent couples begin their journey at MHS with a houseparent cohort of 10-12 other couples and participate in three days of orientation. Afterwards, houseparents begin a three-week training period where they learn the ins and outs of the role by shadowing other houseparents.
Each couple starts out as flex houseparents with a demanding schedule, but the insights learned during this time will prove invaluable once couples are assigned to their own student home. The Morgans have recalled their teaching experience to cater to the unique needs and wants of each student—working in Elementary, Middle, and Senior Division student homes.
“It has been so beneficial to have experience working with students of all ages. We are able to read a room and sense who needs more attention than others,” Preston said. “We can often see and solve issues before they arise.”
Houseparents live in an attached apartment to a student home and supervise a group of students of the same gender and age range. Daily responsibilities include preparing meals, assisting with homework, overseeing chores, and transporting students to and from school and student activities. Houseparent couples play a critical role in ensuring student success at MHS.
“I love being a housemother and making sure our students’ daily needs are met,” Louise said. “We are teaching essential life skills that the students can take with them well beyond graduation.”
The Morgans urge interested couples to take a leap of faith and learn more about the role.
“If you love working with youth, why not?” Preston said. “This is the ultimate job for someone who enjoys working with youth and impacting their lives.”
MHS offers Online Information Sessions for prospective couples to discuss the houseparent role in detail with recruiters and ask questions live.