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North Island student wins $10,000 for Habitat VIN in writing contest

Donates Samsung Galaxy Tab she won to Indigenous Education
Alexandra, a student in the North Island, won $10,000 for Habitat For Humanity Vancouver Island North, for her submission in the Meaning of Home writing contest. Photo supplied

Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North has once again received a $10,000 grant courtesy of Sagen, thanks to the efforts of a local student.

Alexandra, a Grade 4 student in the North Island, was one of the runners-up in the 2021 Meaning of Home writing contest.

The annual Meaning of Home writing contest encourages students in grades 4, 5 and 6 to share what home means to them through a poem or short essay.

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 (including Alexandra) who win a $10,000 grant towards Habitat VIN.

Last year, École Robb Road student Alice Hopkins won one of the $10,000 grants.

Aside from the major prize winners, every entry received earns $10 toward the local build. This year, 190 local students took part in the contest - accounting for a 55 per cent increase over the 2020 contest, and resulting in an additional $1,900 for Habitat VIN.

“Every year we’re inspired by the submissions we get to this contest, and the strong understanding youth have around the need for a safe and decent place to live,” said Cady Corman, Habitat VIN’s director of communications. “We are so grateful to the teachers and parents in our community who championed this program, and to Alexandra for her moving essay. This grant will have a life-changing impact on local families.”

Alexandra’s impact on others did not end there. As a runner-up, Alexandra also won a Samsung Galaxy Tab A. She has decided to pass along the prize, so others can learn.

“Alexandra and her classmates were quite devastated to hear about the news that came out of Kamloops,” said Corman. “Alexandra would like to dedicate her poem to the 215 children, and all Indigenous children who never made it home. She is donating the tablet she won through this contest to the Indigenous Education Program at her school.”

The Meaning of Home contest is made possible through the support of founding sponsor, Sagen (formerly known as Genworth Canada) and award sponsors Revera and Swiffer.

Below is Alexandra’s winning entry:

The feelings of home

by Alexandra

To me, home is not a place, but a feeling. Home is about love, connection and belonging. Home is about being understood and accepted for being your authentic self.

Home is about comfort and security.

Home can’t be contained in four walls because home is much broader than that. Home is something greater than ourselves and our immediate families. Home is about my community, my province, my country, and my world.

Home is striving to make a positive difference in the lives of the people with whom we are all connected. Home is collectively working together to make the world a better place.

My home has never been the same. My home constantly changes.

But the feelings of home remain the same. Home is the people I meet and the different cultures I experience. Home is the community that embraces me and where I embrace others. Home is the place that I give and make certain sacrifices such as having my dad deploy so that others may have the same feelings that I do: that they are worthy of love, connection, freedom, peace and security. They are worthy of the feelings of home.

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