Brienna Mundy ’04
“How am I ever going to do what I want in life?”
That’s the question Brienna Mundy ’04 asked herself as a child growing up in York County.
“At the time, I was living with an older sibling. Family dynamics were kind of crazy. I had lost my mom at the age of 11, and I didn’t have a relationship with my biological father,” Brienna said. “We were living in a very tiny home and didn’t have much. I had so many doubts and things holding me back.”
Throughout her childhood and teenage years, Brienna was shouldered with responsibility. She helped raise her sister’s children and manage the household, but the school had always been her outlet. When she was accepted to Milton Hershey School as a sophomore, she was grateful for the resources and the opportunity to be a kid.
“Being away from home was somewhat difficult, but I was glad to have the opportunity not to worry about money and food. I wanted the opportunity to be a kid,” she said.
Along with food, Brienna also learned what it was like to be given daily necessities such as clothing and personal belongings.
“Having moved around so much as a child, I cherished my belongings. My initial survival skills were to take those things with me [when I moved],” she explained. “It was difficult for me to accept that [MHS] was going to give me clothing and so many things.”
Accepting the resources and opportunities in front of her, Brienna joined Girl Scouts and Student Government Association, and competed on the school’s field hockey and track and field teams. She also found time to work off-campus and complete an internship at a law firm.
When she graduated in 2004, Brienna furthered her education at Towson University where she studied political science and sociology with a focus on criminal justice. After discovering her passion for working with kids, Brienna became a juvenile probation officer for York County Probation.
Throughout her eight-year career as a juvenile probation officer, Brienna has worked with both kids and adults to complete home visits, drug tests, and curfew checks. She currently oversees community service for clients and conducts DUI evaluations for adults.
“With my history growing up and seeing a lot of drug use, I have a passion for helping people get away from that lifestyle. I, too, was subject to a lot of the lifestyles I see,” she shared. “If I can provide them with one small piece of information that gives them the hope that they don’t have to continue that lifestyle, that’s what keeps me going.”
She also encourages MHS students that it’s possible to break the cycle of poverty when she comes back to MHS career fairs and alumni functions. For her, it’s rewarding to watch people change their lives around.
“Coming back to MHS is always enjoyable for me. The younger generation is going to join us in the workforce one day and become our role models,” she said. “I try to put myself in their shoes and share what it looks like to be a probation officer. It’s rewarding to educate them and help them make good choices.”
She also reminds students that they have the power to create hopes and dreams for their futures — just like she did when she realized her full potential at MHS.
“MHS filled a void in my life. It provided me with opportunities and it gave me the awareness,” Brienna said. “The whole wrap-around approach gave me more. It gave me hope. It allowed me to reach the dreams I had in the back of my mind. What has always stuck with me is to never give up on yourself or your dreams.”