A normal dinner time conversation for Meka and Gerald Sanders may be a bit louder than yours, but this pair of Milton Hershey School® houseparents wouldn’t change it for anything. Meka and Gerald are in their sixth year as houseparents at Milton Hershey School, and at any given time can manage up to 12 middle school boys in their student home. It’s a job they describe as “a calling.”
“When we found out about Milton Hershey School, we really thought it would be ideal for what we were currently doing at the time,” Meka said.
Meka and Gerald had been living in Florida and working for another non-profit helping children when they were looking to move back north to be closer to family. Meka’s parents had known about MHS and its mission to help children from families of lower income.
MHS is a cost-free, private residential school and home for boys and girls in pre-K through 12th grade. The staff is dedicated to maximizing the potential of children, providing every imaginable resource along with a premier education, access to extra curricular activities and post-graduation support.
It was perfect fit for the Sanders who have embraced houseparenting while also raising their two children, Dale and Gerald Jr., in their student home.
“I always feel like every day I am helping to mold the lives of young men,” Gerald said.
Houseparents at MHS significantly impact the lives of students. Both Meka and Gerald work closely with the students in their home, often helping them with their homework and chores, as well as remaining a positive role model by teaching them life lessons and core values.
“It’s a really amazing opportunity to help kids who come from all types of backgrounds with wonderful support around you,” Meka said.