Hershey Empty Nesters Become Houseparents at Milton Hershey School
As Hershey community members for over 30 years, Terry and Kathy Augustine knew many friends who worked at Milton Hershey School. However, they did not know the impact of the mission until they decided to attend an informational event as empty nesters.
Before retiring, Terry worked most of his life for a wall street investment firm and Kathy ran a daycare business. With careers and personal experience under their belt, they decided to take on the houseparent role as empty nesters.
“When we started at MHS, we had four grown daughters that had left the nest leaving us as empty nesters,” Terry said. “We realized quickly that there is one common element of being a houseparent–to serve in helping young people achieve more than they thought they were capable of.”
For many mature couples, the role of a houseparent allows them to “re-walk” the path they were previously on.
“We took on this role with a little more experience, wisdom, and creativity than we had with our own children,” Terry said. “It brings you so much joy knowing you can have a positive impact on the direction of a young person’s life.”
The Augustines use an old, wise saying, along with the deed of trust, as their compass for their role as houseparents, “You can give someone a fish or you can teach them how to fish.”
“Our goal has always been to create a family environment that has its joys, setbacks, and challenges,” Terry said. “We celebrate each other daily–that’s the best part.”