TORONTO – In a year when our homes played venue to online classrooms, boardrooms, milestones and mundane moments alike, Habitat for Humanity Canada was interested in hearing the answer to the question, what does home mean to you? Over 12,000 kids answered the call, making the 2021 annual Meaning of Home writing contest that encourages students in grades 4, 5 and 6 to share what home means to them through a poem or short essay, a record year in terms of number of submissions received. This year’s Meaning of Home contest also raised a record of $300,000 for local Habitat for Humanity organizations across Canada.
Every year, there are three grand prize winners, one from each grade, who win a $30,000 grant towards their local Habitat for Humanity build, and nine runners up who win a $10,000 grant towards their local Habitat. Additionally, each student entry also earns a $10 donation for their local Habitat. These much-needed funds will go towards building homes for families in need of a safe and secure place to call home.
“It is incredibly inspiring to see the number of young children across Canada who feel passionately about the need for everyone to have a safe and decent place to call home,” says Julia Deans, CEO and President, Habitat for Humanity Canada. “The entries were outstanding and we’re so grateful to the teachers and parents who brought this important writing contest to Canadian students and helped fuel the important work Habitat for Humanity does across Canada.”
The Meaning of Home contest would not be possible without the generous support of founding sponsor, SagenTM (formerly known as Genworth Canada) and award sponsors Revera and Swiffer. Thanks to their investments, students have an opportunity to give back to their communities in an engaging and meaningful way.
“During a time where we’ve all been spending so much time at home, it’s never been more relevant to engage kids on issues like affordable housing through our annual Meaning of Home contest,” said Stuart Levings, President and CEO of Sagen. “Once again, I’m amazed by the talent and commitment of students who’ve submitted their stories and I’m overwhelmed by the record-breaking number of submissions and funds raised. It’s never been more important to have kids involved and creating positive change in their communities.”
Habitat for Humanity Canada’s model of affordable housing helps families in need of housing buy their own home. Habitat homeowners volunteer up to 500 hours and pay an affordable mortgage geared to their income, helping them build a strong foundation and the financial stability to help plan for their children’s futures.
As a sponsor since 2000, Sagen has donated over $5 million in support of Habitat Canada and has helped thousands of Canadian families realize their dreams of affordable homeownership. While Sagen’s financial support provides crucial funding for their homeownership program, its support of Habitat Canada extends far beyond financial support. Throughout the sponsorship, Sagen employees from all levels of the organization, including President and CEO Stuart Levings and his executive team, have lent their leadership experience, industry knowledge and time to help launch many of Habitats’ signature programs, including the Sagen Homebuilding Grants, Global Village Volunteer Program in Canada and the Meaning of Home Contest. These programs, along with Sagen’s support and involvement in them has significantly increased their ability to raise funds, recruit volunteers and ultimately, support more families and build stronger communities.
Founded in 1985, Habitat for Humanity Canada is a national charitable organization working toward a world where everyone has a decent and affordable place to call home. Habitat for Humanity brings communities together to help families build strength, stability and independence through affordable homeownership. With the help of volunteers, Habitat homeowners and 50 local Habitats working in every province and territory, we provide a solid foundation for better, healthier lives in Canada and around the world. Habitat for Humanity Canada is a member of Habitat for Humanity International, which was established in 1976 and has grown to become a leading global non-profit working in more than 70 countries.