Previous Educator Teaches Life Skills as a Houseparent at Milton Hershey School
Featuring Brian and Deepa Black, MHS Houseparents
Deepa and Brian Black were happily living in North Texas when they learned about a new opportunity to impact the lives of youth—becoming a houseparent at Milton Hershey School.
Deepa was a seasoned education administrator working as the director of one of the largest pre-school charter schools in Texas, and Brian was a corporate executive. One day, they opened an email about becoming houseparents and their hearts were drawn.
The Blacks researched the school’s mission, read alumni success stories, and took a leap of faith by visiting Hershey, Pennsylvania to see the role firsthand.
“After making it through the extensive interview process, speaking with staff members, and spending time in the area, we decided that this would be the next chapter in our journey,” Deepa said.
As houseparents, the Blacks coordinate all functions of the student experience beyond the classroom to ensure children have their basic daily needs met. Daily houseparent responsibilities include transporting students to and from school, ordering grocery lists and cooking meals, overseeing chore lists, and helping students succeed socially and academically.
“We use our past experiences to teach our students life skills that they can take with them into the future such as time management, cooperative relationships, and integrity,” Deepa said.
Houseparent couples live on the MHS campus in a private apartment connected to a student home. There, they care for eight to 12 students of the same gender and age range.
“Our favorite part is engaging with the students as we learn more about their goals and expectations. Then, mentoring them with advice and sharing our personal experiences to assist them in achieving positive results,” Brian said.
Becoming a full-time houseparent means building a life within the MHS community. The Blacks have found MHS to be a supportive community, where experienced houseparents share best practices to create efficiencies within the student home and collaborate together to mutually support each other.
When accepting the role, houseparent couples commit to a flex schedule and begin as flex houseparents, shadowing current houseparents to learn more about the role. This is a great opportunity to begin developing relationships with students throughout each division.
“The greatest benefit of being a houseparent is observing a student’s personal and intellectual growth combined with their maturity,” Deepa said. “We have the opportunity to directly impact youth and their futures.”
Interested couples can learn more about the houseparent role by attending an Online Information Session—a virtual opportunity to discuss the houseparent role in detail and ask questions live with recruiters.