Career as a Houseparent
"Houseparenting is the toughest job you'll ever love! Things we take for granted in our every day lives mean so much to a student. We don't realize it because it's so matter of fact for us. There is no doubt that Houseparenting makes a difference." — Karen Brown, Veteran Milton Hershey School Houseparent
As role models, full-time Flex Houseparents play an important role in guiding each student's development. Houseparents encourage each student to practice helpful and healthful behaviors and work with students to identify target areas for improvement. With praise, encouragement, and positive reinforcement, they help each child to grow physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. They work to develop a culture that embraces our sacred values of integrity, positive spirit, commitment to mission, and mutual respect. This contributes to the goal of graduate success for each student.
Full-time Flex Houseparents are actively involved in a variety of activities ranging from meetings with classroom teachers to participating in training for their own professional development. The houseparent couple is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the student home. This includes, but is not limited to, preparing meals for 9-13 students, assisting with household chores, and transporting students to and from various activities. Full-time Flex Houseparents need to be able to demonstrate a high degree of interpersonal skills, organizational skills, flexibility, and understand the importance of integrating their natural family into the student home environment.
Life in a Student Home
In order to provide a more natural family-like atmosphere as well as continuity of relationships, 9-13 students may live under one roof. This arrangement provides support and nurturing while a student works through family, emotional, and personal issues. The students learn age appropriate social and life skills, and as they apply and practice these skills, they receive positive reinforcement from the houseparents. Students and houseparents identify target areas and strategies for improvement. Full-time Flex Houseparents help students develop good habits, a strong work ethic, and a sense of responsibility for themselves and others.
As in a family, each student participates in, and contributes to, the experience of the student home. Students are responsible for completing homework and other school-related assignments and doing household chores. They also enjoy planned activities and have free time. Houseparents may take students to cultural, sports, and entertainment events. Group activities are available including intramural sports and the use of campus recreational facilities.
Benefits of Being a Full-Time Flex Houseparent
- The satisfaction of making a positive contribution to the development of children
- Total compensation package including the value of a salary, a rent-free private apartment, meals, and utilities
- A comprehensive benefits package (see Benefits Overview page)
- Certified Houseparent training program
- Relocation assistance
- Use of athletic facilities (gym, tennis courts, ice skating rink)
Given the complexities of the full-time Flex Houseparents' role and responsibilities, as well as the physical size of the houseparent apartment, the following criteria must be met for eligibility:
- Couple must be legally married at least 3 years at time of application.
- Each person must be at least 27 years of age at time of application.
- No more then two dependent children in residence.
- Prior experience working with children and youth (preferably children and youth from poverty or similar challenged settings).
- Ability to successfully complete extensive clearance process.
- Able to meet health and physical requirements of the position.
- Driving records in good standing.
- Credit history in good standing.