Skip to content

A Vision for the Whole Child Approach

Milton and Catherine Hershey loved to travel, attend the opera, and entertain friends. Even though they led what looked like a charmed life, something was missing—children.

When they created the Hershey Industrial School in 1909, they felt strongly that it be a home and a school for children in need including whole child care.

MHS student medical exam as whole child care

This is described in the earliest publication about the school, a viewbook in 1912, “This institution has been founded and endowed by Mr. M S. Hershey and wife, of Hershey, Pa., who, after careful thought, found that the greatest good they could do for the betterment of humanity was to establish a school for dependent orphan boys where their education and environment would be such as to make them self-reliant and self-supporting.”

Their whole child care vision is reflected in the Deed of Trust where it states that “all the students be fed wholesome food, neatly and comfortably clothed, and fitly lodged. The school will take care of their health and physical training and they shall have exercise and recreation.”

Then and Now Barber Photo showcasing whole child care

It is not just the language of the Deed of Trust that is important, but also the order. The school believes providing for daily needs of all students is essential to their success. Medical and dental needs, clothing, food, fitness, and hair care are part of the program and given to all students for free.

“When my wife died—and we had no children—my old mother, who had been my abiding guide, said: ‘Milton, don’t let your millions spoil you,’ and right then I decided not to give my millions a chance to spoil me, by simply giving them away,” Milton Hershey said to Success Magazine, in October 1927.

Vision in Action Interactive Display

Members of the Milton Hershey School community have the opportunity to put the Hersheys’ vision in action every day by making good choices and living by the school’s Sacred Values.


The new Visitors Center exhibit in the south lounge of Founders Hall is filled with projected motion graphics highlighting the impact that the school has on the lives of its students, staff, alumni, and parents/sponsors. The exhibit also features some of the many ways that people can support the school by getting involved.

“We tried to make it just as real a home as possible, and to make them happy…” Milton S. Hershey said.

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.