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Milton Hershey School Houseparents Guide New Staff Through Role

By Eric and Diane Chapelle

Since becoming houseparents, we have experienced the loss of our old lifestyle but the joy of a new. Our goal is to help new staff find their place at MHS.

Previously, our life was filled with work and travel. We owned several franchise stores that provided us plenty of financial freedom. We were busy, but still had time to be active in our church, travel, and do the things we enjoyed most.

MHS houseparents on a hiking trail

Our life was great, but something was missing. We felt this incredible urge to pass on what was given to us and share it with others.

In December of 2016, Diane saw an ad for the houseparent role at MHS. We saw this as an opportunity to find what was missing, so we applied. A few months later, we uprooted and moved our lives to Hershey, Pennsylvania.

During our time at MHS, we have learned the importance of making friends, creating habits, and developing a new lifestyle. It hasn’t always been easy and we continue to look for opportunities to grow as individuals and as a couple.

MHS houseparents

This year, we decided to become host houseparents to continue our growth. We wanted the opportunity to serve others who will make the greatest impact on MHS students.

We strive to make our home a safe haven for houseparents who seek friendship, want open communication, and need to feel included without judgment. We teach our students to be helpful and encouraging alongside us.

Together, we open our home to new staff or houseparent couples. We show them our best practices and lessons learned. We empty ourselves so they can leave full. It is draining and yet, rewarding.

Eric and Diane Chapelle with students

As a new houseparent, please do not forget why you chose to embark on this journey. I hope you see the importance of your role and guidance. My advice is to build strong relationships and be willing to love unconditionally.

As we look to the future and focus on this school year, we hope that we can make an impact on those new to MHS and the students we encounter.

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.