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“The power to build an exceptional life begins with an excellent education”……….

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kissThis is the mission statement of The Milton Hershey School….yes that is the “Hershey” in Hershey Chocolate Company. My “Lost souls” mulling of yesterday has had me thinking. Certainly, much of the focus is around the Jihadist extremists but let’s face it, gang violence has much the same foundation of radicalization leading to violence. Think about all the innocents killed on the streets of the Southside of Chicago, for example.

Anyhow back to MHS. Milton and Catherine Hershey established the school in 1909 to provide an educational institution for orphaned boys. The school was set up in a way that provided a supportive and structured home life year-round to help these otherwise lost youth gain the skills to be successful in all aspects of life. Today, the school is co-ed and the mission continues with a student population drawn children from families of low income, limited resource and having other social needs. The mission and goal is still focused on preparing students to lead productive and fulfilled lives by providing FREE private, coeducational home and school for all students. Yes that’s right “FREE”.

How is it done? The Hershey Company is partially owned by a Trust. The Trust runs the school. How’s that for impact? How’s that for corporate America really making a difference? So what if this model was replicated around the world and a proportion of our lost youth had such an opportunity? The ripple effect would be amazing. I am sure the administration of MHS would be happy to provide guidance. The White House is hosting a summit this week to discuss how to prevent the radicalization of our youth globally. I hope they consider the need for excellent education in a supportive environment….it is THE foundation for building exceptional lives……….Milton and Catherine Hershey amazingly had the resolve to bring this to reality….we should learn from their actions.

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