Alice Hopkins, a Grade 5 student from École Robb Road Elementary in Comox, was a runner up in a national student writing contest, earning $10,000 for Habitat For Humanity Vancouver Island North. Photo by Karen McKinnon

Comox student wins $10,000 for Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North

Local Habitat chapter received a total of $11,060 through the Meaning of Home writing contest

A Comox student has won $10,000 for Habitat For Humanity Vancouver Island North (Habitat VIN).

Alice Hopkins, a student at École Robb Road in Comox, was a runner up in the Grade 5 category of the national writing contest.

The Meaning of Home is a national writing contest in support of Habitat for Humanity Canada that asks students in Grade 4, 5 and 6 to share what home means to them. Genworth Canada is the corporate sponsor of the contest.

More than 10,200 students entered this year’s Meaning of Home contest, which sets a new record.

Hopkins is one of three Grade 5 runners up in the contest, helping win a $10,000 grant that will go towards Habitat VIN’s affordable housing projects.

Everyone who entered the contest locally helped earn funds for Habitat VIN. Every entry received from the Habitat VIN area of operations was worth $10 for the local chapter. With 106 students from the area entering the contest, Habitat VIN received an additional $1,060 donation.

ALSO: Habitat VIN wins national award for innovative approach to building

Habitat VIN executive director Pat McKenna said the $11,060 cash infusion came at an ideal time.

“It will go straight to our current projects (10-unit Courtenay development and 11-unit Campbell River development) because we are in desperate need of funds right now,” he said.

McKenna said he was not overly surprised with the 100+ entries coming from the Comox Valley/Campbell River area.

“We have had fairly consistent participation, and it’s because of the connection we have with the schoolteachers. Tom Beshr (Habitat VIN resource development) has been the collaborator on this project for us. He provides the teachers with the opportunity to do a lesson plan on it, but they are the ones that really drive the program for us, because they are the ones who are connecting the kids to the story. And these poems are incredible.”

The impact of the contest is not lost on the children themselves, as was evident with a response from Hopkins, in a Habitat press release.

“The Meaning of Home contest gives something for people to work together on. Even if they don’t win, they are making a difference together,” she said. “I hear about a lot of young people making a big difference. I didn’t know I could make such a difference. Now I know anyone can make a difference if you try.”

With a guaranteed $10 donation from Genworth Canada to Habitat for each entry received, McKenna said the program has the potential for enormous growth.

“I don’t know what September will look like, but if people are still doing virtual learning, I could easily step into any classroom in the Comox Valley, Campbell River, and anywhere in between and do a half-hour talk on Habitat, and promote [this initiative],” he said. “Imagine if 500 students from our area were to participate… that would bring in $5,000 annually to our charity. We would love for everybody to pick it up.”

In addition to the donation to Habitat, Hopkins will receive a tablet as her prize, which she plans to use to learn about coding.

McKenna divulged that Hopkins also did a little giving back of her own.

“She won a pizza party as part of the prize, and she can’t have it – probably because of COVID-19 – so she wants to donate her pizzas party to the volunteers on the builds,” said McKenna.

The following is Alice’s winning entry:

HOME

By Alice Hopkins

As I wake, the sky lightens and my heart soars.

I’m at home here, among the birds

I don’t need a house, I don’t need a ceiling or walls

Because, I know that I wouldn’t feel at home.

I need the birds to wake me up each morning,

I need the cool breeze on my face,

I wouldn’t be at home anywhere else.

-Home among the birds

I walk down the hall,

Mom is making breakfast.

My family is sitting around the table,

They waited for me.

Even though it’s a small gesture,

I appreciate it.

I eat and get ready for school.

My friends are waiting for me at the bus stop.

Even though I made them late,

They still waited.

It makes me happy to know that they wait.

It makes me feel safe.

-Simple home

I’ve been told many times that Home is where the heart is.

But what if my heart isn’t in one place?

What if my heart is with my parents?

What if it belongs with my community?

Maybe my home is with my friends and family?

Maybe my home is the world?

What if my home isn’t one place, but a thousand?

-A thousand homes

A mother’s love,

A father’s encouragement,

A sister’s arguments,

A family’s warmth.

These are simple things,

I often take for granted.

But I pity those without these gifts,

Because I cannot imagine my life without them.

I know that in this world many live without them.

Without a home or love.

I wish that I knew more

So, I could help them.

But I will do the best I can,

To help them every day.

I will do the best I can,

To help them on their way.

-My home, my community



terry.farrell@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Comox Valley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New bench boss re-builds Comox Valley Glacier Kings

The new head coach/general manager of the beleaguered Comox Valley Glacier Kings… Continue reading

Courtenay clothing store continues to thrive 25 years later

Sharon Anderson continues to see some of the same customers she served… Continue reading

Float-plane crash near Oyster River leaves pilot injured

The plane crashed shortly after take-off from a private property and had no other passengers on board

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

BC Liberal Party leader Andrew Wilkinson in Courtenay to campaign with Brennan Day

BC Liberal Party leader Andrew Wilkinson was in Courtenay Tuesday, helping local… Continue reading

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

U.S. boater fined $1,000 for violation of Quarantine Act

49-year-old man entered Canada to visit girlfriend in Surrey

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

B.C. VOTES 2020: Businesses now owe $6 billion in deferred tax payments

COVID-19 relief from remittance to province ends with September

Most Read