Leno & Karen Washington
Student Home King
Before coming to Milton Hershey School®, college-educated Karen and Leno Washington worked in administrative and managerial positions in the Harrisburg, PA area. Karen, a Girl Scout Teacher and Sunday School Teacher, and Leno, who formerly worked directly with school students as a behavior management specialist, longed to pursue a life's work where they could have the greatest impact on children in need.
"While the hours are longer and I don't leave my work behind at the end of an eight-hour day, I find this work is easier for me. I thrive helping others. It's rewarding and fulfilling—that's why I do it and that’s why I love it," said Karen.
Leno says being a houseparent isn't about choosing a job, it's about choosing a lifestyle. "We're a family," he says of his students, his wife, and their children. "We treat the Milton Hershey School students as if they were our own. It's a great joy to see them develop in positive ways due to your influence."
Andy & Deanna Slamans
Student Home Harpers
During the five years Deanna Bradley was a Milton Hershey School student, she never thought about coming back to serve as a houseparent. When her fiance Andy, a social worker, wanted to see the place where Deanna spent her high school years, a visit to a student home had him suggesting to Deanna that this is something they should do after they married.
"He told me that we could do this, and it really got me thinking," said Deanna. "I thought of all the wonderful memories that my houseparents made for me and I thought I could do that for others."
As a new married couple living in Philadelphia, Andy and Deanna gained experience mentoring young people though a youth ministry program they volunteered for since their college days.
"We would have kids over our house all the time," Deanna said. "We really enjoyed having them around."
Both Andy and Deanna are glad to be caring for Milton Hershey
"As a social worker, I could only spend a few hours of the day once a week, if that, with a child, and then he or she would be sent home," said Andy. "With this position, I have more time to make an impact, to be there for a child on a daily basis."
Terry & Kathy Augustine
Student Home Elmwood
How is being a Milton Hershey School houseparent like being a Wall Street investor? Houseparent Terry Augustine, who spent 28 years as a money manager for a Wall Street firm, says: "As an investor you look for an acceptable return on your money. As a part of the MHS family, you invest your time, talents, and heart in the lives of the students so that they can have unlimited returns."
Terry and his wife Kathy, the owner of a day care business for 25 years, learned about MHS from their son-in-law, who worked in the School's Transitional Living program for senior students. The couple saw houseparenting as an unmatched opportunity to have an impact on young people's lives. Since 2006, the couple has guided the lives of the household of middle school girls in their care.
After arriving at MHS, the Augustines learned that not only did their position at the School allow them to work with children in need, but also to be a part of a community fully committed to the children in its care. "The deciding factor in taking this job," Terry says, "was the obvious dedication of everyone we met, regardless of their position at the school, to contribute to the betterment of the students' lives."