Thriving in a Second Career as Houseparents at MHS

Tenacity and grit—leadership traits that create the recipe for a successful student home. Andrea and Matthew Cedro’s careers were built on these principles before becoming houseparents at Milton Hershey School in 2018. Today, they support elementary-aged boys. In this second career, they teach the boys life skills, encourage them to try new things, and always bring their previous work experiences into the student home.

Andrea and Matt, originally from the Pittsburgh area, had very specific career trajectories and personal goals after they graduated from college. Andrea worked on a cruise ship to satisfy her desire to travel the world. Matt climbed his way up in the culinary industry. Their paths crossed when they both worked at the Duquesne Club, one thing led to another, and they later made the decision to take on life together.

Shortly after their wedding, the Cedros were ready for a change of pace. With Matt still in the culinary field, and Andrea in advertising, the grind of both industries were no longer consistent with their goals. A thought-out, while still a little spontaneous, desire to move out of the city and settle in the country to start a family led the couple to Garrett County, Maryland.

After the move and using the skills developed in the high-end kitchens, Matt began working at a start-up cheese company and rose from apprentice to director of operations. A few years later, Andrea joined the company to do sales and administrative work. Jump ahead another 15 years and now with two daughters, it was time for the family to make another move. This time, following a different calling.

After Matt saw a job description for MHS houseparents in an email, he applied immediately and encouraged Andrea to do the same. The second career was not hard to sell to Andrea as it checked all of the boxes that they were looking for—proximity to family, purpose-driven work, and the opportunity to continue to work together. The skills and talents they gained in their previous professions even transferred in a very positive way in the student home.

“We both bring structure and organization from the cheese shop. With Matt’s experience in busy kitchens, he brings a calm demeanor and is always looking for efficiencies. I bring an expertise in the administrative side and neither of us are ever stressed about the inventory management and have fun cooking together,” Andrea said.

Caring for children may seem like an unusual career shift; but some of life’s greatest adventures are unplanned.

“Timing is everything in our career journey and we know that everything happens for a reason, whatever the reason. In it all, you have to be open to leaps of faith,” explained the couple. “We did not take the big decisions—like moving, retiring from a field we loved and were good at, and starting something new—lightly. But we hold on to our ‘why’—which is we love parenting and we love working together. We have a mindset to do this amazing job, but just like all jobs, it can be hard.”

This blog post was originally published by Milton Hershey School (original) and re-posted with permission by the school. Milton Hershey School is hiring houseparents! Learn more and apply!

About the Author is a career resource and job board for people interested in pursuing a career in residential childcare. Our mission is to connect dedicated married couples and individuals with employers hiring houseparents, cottage parents, teaching couples and other live-in caregiving roles. Our goal is to share tools, resources and career opportunities so that you can make an impact in the lives of children who need it most.

< Back to All posts

Stay Connected

Subscribe to our newsletter
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Milton Hershey School ad banner