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Milton Hershey School Empty Nester Houseparents Make a Difference

Milton Hershey School relies on over 200 houseparent couples to oversee student homes and provide structure for the more than 2,000 MHS students who live on campus. Houseparent couples, many empty nesters, shape the lives of children from lower-income families by providing a caring place for students to grow and thrive—while also supporting a students’ social and academic needs.

Sam and Lori Biggar were destined to be houseparents at MHS. Their passion for helping others started in past professions and is rooted in faith.

The Biggars were involved with youth programs decades ago before their now-adult children were born. While their kids grew up, they continued to instill the idea of philanthropy by allowing their kids to join them in their work. Now as empty nesters, they love being around all of the MHS students as it “keeps them young.”

Houseparent Biggar helping MHS Student

Sam Biggar, MHS houseparent, helping a MHS student during quarantine.

“Being a houseparent is an amazing opportunity to work with children and be a positive influence in their lives,” Sam said. “We love being able to help them become overcomers, grow emotionally and socially, and graduate with the mission to make the world a better place.”

Their favorite part of being houseparents is building life-long relationships with the students.

“As a houseparent, you and your spouse are responsible for your house of eight to 12 students,” Lori said. “But Sam and I love to reach out to as many students as possible to make a larger impact.”

MHS students at Student Home Olympia

The Biggars rely on fellow houseparents to help guide them through their role at MHS.

“The best advice I can give to new houseparents is to surround yourself with positive people,” Sam said. “Secondly, find a few houseparent friends who you can go to with questions.”

MHS is actively recruiting houseparent couples to fulfill the growth initiative of its 2020 Vision Strategic Plan. Learn more about houseparenting, a “career worth every minute,” or read our full series of houseparent stories.

Milton Hershey School is carefully following federal and state guidelines, CDC considerations, and MHS-established health and safety protocols to keep our campus a safe, nurturing, and healthy place. Any group photos of unmasked subjects were taken prior to the face coverings mandate.

Milton Hershey School does not discriminate in admissions or other programs and services on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religious creed or disability. Read important MHS policies on equal opportunity and diversity, equal employment opportunity, and more.