Destiny Rose is challenging her Carroll Senior High School classmates to defy a Texas tradition and give up homecoming mums this year.
Instead, Rose, 16, wants them to donate the mum money — the cost can run as high as $1,000 — to charity. She’s calling it The Homecoming Challenge.
“It started just as a flower, an actual mum flower,” the junior said. “They got a little too excessive, people would feel bad if they didn’t get a huge mum.”
Today’s mums are often hung from the neck and are as long as a girl is tall. Rose thinks the money could be better used, so she started Mumz4Kidz an organization that challenges students to help provide Thanksgiving meals for families through the Dallas-based nonprofit Youth World Learning Center.
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“When people think of poverty they think of the starving in Africa and as far away from us,” she said. “When you’re surrounded in such a bubble it’s hard to look past what we see everyday and how privileged we are.”
Youth World helps at-risk children with meals, education and more.
Rose said $50 can feed a family of six. Last year,she and three friends decided to skip mums and donated enough to feed 16 families.
Darla Shirley, Youth World executive director, said last year the organization provided Thanksgiving groceries for more than 800 families.
“This will allow these kids, these families, to be able to have Thanksgiving dinner at their house, celebrating like you and I take for granted,” Shirley said. “It’s just a real blessing that she’s not only had the thought but then put it into action.”
Shawn Duhon, Carroll Senior High principal, said it’s wonderful to hear students are finding ways to give back.
“It validates the reason I’m in the business,” he said. “I’m glad our kids are able to put things like that in perspective and to do things from the heart.”
Those who participate are given a T-shirt spreading the word about The Homecoming Challenge and Youth World.