Tanya Alfonso: Houseparent Trainer
When I look into our students’ eyes, I see a reflection of me from when I was their age. Even though I did not attend MHS, by all accounts I would have met the qualifications to enroll in the school, had my mother known about it and the opportunities it affords.
Having begun my journey at MHS in 2003 as a houseparent of middle school girls, for nine years I had a deep sense of connection with our students. Middle school is a difficult age developmentally, and I wanted to be that someone to tell them that it is going to be OK.
I always stressed the importance of focusing on why they are at MHS and to take advantage of the opportunities here. Having said that, I began to think about opportunities the school has given me as an employee.
My life path did not include going to college right out of high school. I had always wanted a better life for myself than what I had witnessed my mother go through as a single mom raising three kids. College was something I wanted to do but could not afford. Raising a family became my top priority, and to do this I had to put off school and go out into the workplace. Years went by, but my heart still wanted to seek higher education. I did not actively look into going back to school until after I changed careers and became a houseparent at MHS and began encouraging the value of an education to the students.
Putting my money where my mouth is, I took advantage of the school’s tuition reimbursement policies and enrolled at Eastern University. Throughout the years while caring for our students, I was able to receive my bachelor’s degree in 2011. Having accomplished that long sought after goal, I began think about obtaining a master’s degree. I am happy to say that as of April 2015, I successfully completed my studies and earned a Master of Science degree in organizational leadership. I owe this all to MHS. I share these accomplishments with students as often as I can. I know the struggles they face, but with relentless perseverance through adversity, they too can reap all the benefits that MHS has to offer.
I will be eternally grateful to MHS for funding my lifelong dream and I want all of our promising students to know that they too can overcome any obstacle if they just stay focused, listen and pursue their dreams.
MHS Houseparent Blogs
Houseparents at Milton Hershey School significantly impact the lives of our students. Because houseparents work so closely with students, houseparents are important role models. Read the blogs of our houseparents and hear directly from the caring couples who support and nurture our students.