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Facing the Challenges of Poverty Head On

Milton Hershey School Poverty Talks

Since 1909, Milton Hershey School has played a critical role in helping low-income students break the cycle of poverty and lead healthy, fulfilling, and productive lives. As an educational leader, MHS has supported the successful growth of children for more than 110 years at no cost to their families.

Join our upcoming four-part live stream series focusing on the childhood poverty crisis in the United States. Learn how MHS and its thought leaders are facing the challenges of poverty head on.

Milton Hershey School's whole child care approach and breaking cycle of poverty

Poverty Talks: Dec. 9 at Noon

A Whole Child Approach

At our first Poverty Talks live stream, learn how the generosity of MHS founders Milton and Catherine Hershey has enabled us to develop and maintain a whole child approach to education and programming—free to families.

Add to Your CalendarRead the Story

Watch Live

The first live stream will be available on Dec. 9 at noon. Check back before the conversation begins.

A scenic photo of Founders Hall during fall.

Registration Alert

Milton Hershey School’s Poverty Talks series will be hosted by MHS Vice President of Communications Lisa Scullin. We will announce the full schedule next month. Register to receive an alert and add the dates to your calendar.

Making an Impact

Every day, MHS is fighting poverty and impacting the lives of its students. Meet MHS graduate and now Senior Director of Home Life and Student Leadership Ododo Walsh ’98 and learn how she is furthering the mission of the school that changed her life.

MHS Resources to Increase Success

Childhood poverty is a national crisis in the United States. MHS helps thousands of students find their passions and become their greatest selves. With our wealth of resources, we support each child on whatever path they choose to support whomever they want to be.


A New Spotlight on Poverty

Recently, New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Andrea Elliott wrote a book on childhood poverty, featuring another former MHS student. “Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, and Hope in an American City” follows the life of Dasani Coates, whose family has battled poverty, homelessness, and drug addiction. “Invisible Child” shines a detailed light on the realities children and their families face today as a result of living in poverty.

"Invisible Child" News Coverage

NY Times Book Review: "Invisible Child"

New York Times journalist Andrew Desmond reviews Andrea Elliott’s “Invisible Child,” a book that was eight years in the making, following Dasani Coates and her family around to school, court and welfare appointments, and to their homeless shelter in New York City. Elliott writes about childhood poverty and the complex issues affecting low-income families in the U.S.

Read the NY Times Book Review

MSNBC: Why Is This Happening? Uncovering "The Invisible Child" with Andrea Elliott

MSNBC speaks with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Andrea Elliott about her book, “Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope In An American City.” The podcast brings light to the struggles of children, like Dasani, and their families living in poverty in the U.S.

CNN: Putting a Face on Homelessness in "Invisible Child"

Journalist Andrea Elliott speaks with CNN News about homelessness in New York City and how a young girl named Dasani navigated family trauma and a system stacked against her.

NPR: "Invisible Child" Chronicles How Homelessness Shaped the Life of Dasani

The NPR book review of Andrea Elliott’s “Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, and Hope in an American City,” highlights the protagonist, Dasani, and journalist, Elliott, and how their stories collide to examine childhood poverty and the many who find themselves in similarly impossible circumstances.

Read the News Story
Milton Hershey School student in a classroom coloring, breaking the cycle of poverty

Whole Child Approach to Poverty

At MHS, we believe that the best way to help students from poverty reach their fullest potential is with a whole child approach to education that acknowledges and addresses the specific challenges children from low-income families face, both inside and outside the classroom.

This whole child approach to education is more critical now than ever before, especially as the pandemic has disproportionately affected low-income families and widened the education gap.

Providing for Daily NeedsHouseparenting and Home Life

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Every MHS student comes from poverty—but that’s only part of the challenging life circumstances before enrolling. Poverty also contributes to the accumulation of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), defined as traumatic events experienced by children before the age of 18.

Research shows that ACEs can put a child at greater risk for physical and mental health problems throughout their lifetime. At MHS, our approach to whole child care focuses on the effective ways to help children recover from ACEs by providing them with stable support, resources, and the strategies to persevere and succeed.

Milton Hershey School Transitional Living staff supervise homes for seniors.

Staff Impacting Student Outcomes

Each employee helps to shape the lives of the students we serve at MHS. Whether students graduate from here or not, the MHS community leaves imprints and helps to will students to lead healthy, fulfilling, and productive lives.

Careers Worth Every MinuteRead an Alumni Success Story

Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning students play together.

Starting Earlier

Recently, we announced an expansion of our mission into early childhood education. We will serve more children in need with the opening of Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning.

This will take our whole child approach further, working with children from birth to age 5 and increasing their chances for success. CHS will offer integrated support services to families of enrolled children with a dedicated family resource center.

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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.