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Breaking from tradition

Twin sisters Emily and Lauren Tucker are spending their school’s homecoming week breaking away from tradition.

They are volunteering as ambassadors of Mumz4Kidz, a non-profit organization that assists low-income families in need.

Emily and Lauren are seniors at Aubrey High School, where the hallowed Texas tradition of designing and decorating mums occurs the week of homecoming each year.

Instead of spending money toward having the most glamorous mum in town, the sisters wanted to do something different.

“I see mums as an activity that focuses on yourself, but we’re shifting the focus to helping others,” Emily Tucker said.

According to the Mumz4Kidz website, one of four children in the Dallas/Tarrant County area goes to bed hungry every night.

The organization was formed by four high school students in 2013 and so far has raised $86,221 and fed approximately 95,617.

Mumz4Kidz partners with Youth World Dallas Learning Center, a non-profit organization that’s served the Dallas community since 1998.

The website said that 700 families received meals in 2016 thanks to the partnership between the two organizations.

Anyone wanting to help can donate $50, which provides a meal for a family. High school students who donate $50 receive a T-shirt in the color of their school to wear to the homecoming game.

Emily and Lauren were introduced to the organization at a Bible study and instantly volunteered to become ambassadors.

To become an ambassador, students donate $50 and spread the message about tackling child hunger at their respective high schools.

Ten different school districts are currently represented by an ambassador, including Braswell High School.

“We were invited to a Bible study in Lantana where we first heard about it and we both were sold immediately,” Emily Tucker said. “This is a great opportunity for people to become leaders. I think people always want to help, but they don’t have an outlet to do it. I’ve always felt called by God to make a difference so when this opportunity came about I was so excited to do it.”

Lauren Tucker said this is a chance for people to “die to their comforts.”

“High school students are so afraid of not being cool, so being a part of this requires humility,” she said. “Whoever decides to join has to realize that this isn’t about them; it’s about feeding families that are in desperate need of help.”

Emily and Lauren said that they’d received minor criticism of their choice to go in a different direction, but they both understand why.

“Breaking away from tradition is difficult,” Emily Tucker said. “Aubrey has a rich tradition when it comes to mums. When you wear a mum, there’s a sense of pride that comes with that so some people are afraid of losing that pride.

“I remember when Justice Thompson’s mum was the talk of the town two years ago. I believe people became fascinated with having a mum that was just as good or better after that. We wanted to do something different.”

AHS principal Matt Gore said he was on board as soon as it came across his desk.

“I thought it was a great idea,” he said. “I think it’s an example of the kids we have here. They took the initiative. I turned it over to them and they ran with it.”

After graduation, Emily plans to join the Navy for boot camp in June to be an air traffic controller and Lauren will go to Africa in October for a three-month missionary training seminar.

Lauren currently sponsors Makafui, a 4-year-old girl from Ghana. Lauren will sponsor Makafui until she turns 18.

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