Last year, a Comox student was picked as a runner-up in a writing contest about the meaning of home, in the process winning a $10,000 grant for the local Habitat for Humanity project on Lake Trail Road.
For her poem, Alice Hopkins also won a tablet and a pizza party, which she donated to Habitat volunteers. In a video interview for Habitat, she said she liked reading the other participants’ poems, and as to what she learned from the experience, she added, “To me home isn’t one place. It’s a bunch of different places.”
This year, Habitat for Humanity North Island is hoping for more contributions than ever from across the region for the upcoming Meaning of Home writing contest. Students in grades 4, 5 and 6 can submit a poem or short essay about what home means to them, which in a time of pandemic has taken on that much more importance. Last year, Hopkins was one of about 100 students from north Vancouver Island that took part.
For the contest, there is a grand prize winner and three runners-up from each grade level. Winners get $30,000 to direct to a local Habitat project, while each runner-up gets $10,000. Every student who submits an entry though generates a $10 donation toward a local Habitat project. Hopkins encourages other students to take part in this year’s event. “It’s really fun, and it’s a great experience.”
For Habitat for Humanity, the contest not only raises money but educates young people about the importance of quality housing for everyone.
The Meaning of Home was started by Sagen, a private mortgage insurance company, and to date has raised more than $1.7 million for affordable housing in communities in the country. As founding sponsor, it is joined by award sponsors Revera Living Inc. and Swiffer.
“In 2020, Sagen was proud to celebrate 20 years of affiliation with Habitat for Humanity Canada—The Meaning of Home writing contest, in particular, is an initiative near and dear to us,” Sagen president and CEO Stuart Levings said in a news release. “We’ve watched the program grow year over year, engaging over 68,000 students in Canada, and, as a founding sponsor of this contest, we’ve raised over $1.7 million to create affordable housing in communities across Canada.”
Teachers or parents interested in having Grade 4, 5 or 6 students take part can get more information online at meaningofhome.ca. This includes writing tips and information on affordable housing issues in Canada. The Meaning of Home contest started Jan. 4 and runs to Feb. 19. Contest winners for 2021 will be announced in June.