1099. Using His Talents to Impact the Lives of Others
“When I was working at a large kids’ camp in Michigan, I learned about Milton Hershey School and the houseparent role from some relatives who had done this, and I was instantly sold on the idea. I looked at the requirements on their website and my wife and I made the decision to postpone applying for family reasons, but I knew it was a job of a lifetime. I took a position at the Michigan camp to oversee a team of people who were in charge of guest relations. It was a promotion, but my interactions and relationships with students was lessened. I did that for about five years and was then offered another promotion which would include moving into a beautiful lake house with my wife and two daughters. But that promotion would take me even further away from working directly with children, which is where my talents and my passion really lie. I told my wife I wanted to say no to the promotion and the house on the lake to pursue the houseparent position at Milton Hershey School. We ended up going through the hiring process and were selected to be houseparents. In 2013, we moved everything to Hershey, Pennsylvania and began our life at the school. There are roughly 2,100 students now across three schools–an elementary school, a middle school and a high school all spread out over 10,000 acres. In total, we have 180 student homes and 180 houseparent couples that live in residence on our campus. My wife and I can see doing this until we retire because when you use your talents in a way that impacts the lives of others, it is really a beautiful thing.”
Sal Hanna is a houseparent at Milton Hershey School, a cost-free residential school for children from low-income backgrounds. At the school, students are given everything they need to remove barriers to education, including meals, clothing and health services. Students live in small groups of 10-12 in on-campus houses, and each house is overseen by a houseparent couple. After working as a camp director, Sal began his career at Milton Hershey School as a houseparent before working to recruit new houseparents. He and his wife, Melissa, loved and missed houseparenting so much that they returned to the role in the summer of 2022.
Connecting With Sal Hanna
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Careers: Camp counselor, Camp Director, Recruiter, School Houseparent