National Meaning of Home youth writing contest raises $170,000 for Habitat for Humanity

Nine-year old winner chooses Habitat for Humanity Manitoba to receive $50,000 grant.

TORONTO, March 5, 2018 /CNW/ – Genworth Canada is pleased to announce the winners from the 11th annual Meaning of Home contest in support of Habitat for Humanity Canada. Over 7,000 grade 4, 5 and 6 students from coast to coast submitted entries expressing what home means to them.

This year, the grand prize winner of the Meaning of Home contest is nine-year-old Ryan Mota, from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Ryan wrote about ancestors, family and hope in his winning essay. He has chosen Habitat for Humanity Manitoba as the beneficiary of his $50,000 grant, providing him with the opportunity to make a difference in his community by helping to build a home for a family in need of housing.  Along with the ability to direct his grant, Ryan will receive an iPad, a pizza party for his class, and a $1,000 donation to his school.

“We are very proud of this initiative as it continues to increase awareness about the need for affordable homeownership in Canada,” said Stuart Levings, President and CEO of Genworth Canada. “It is rewarding to see our youth take great pride in their homes and families with words of hopes and dreams; we are pleased to see this contest positively impacting so many students across Canada.”

Habitat for Humanity Canada’s model of affordable homeownership 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.

Since the Meaning of Home contest launched in 2007, the national contest has received more than 50,000 essays from elementary school students. The contest has helped to direct more than $1,000,000 to Habitat for Humanity Canada and local Habitats in every province and territory.

Selected among more than 7,000 submissions across the country, Ryan’s winning entry describes what home means to him in a thought-provoking poem. Below is an excerpt:

To me a home is a place where I feel secure
From the rain, the snow
And all of my fears.
A home is a place where I am free to play
And would love for all others
To have fun in this way.

“While we want to protect our children from the harsh realities of life, sometimes we forget how many of our children are already living that reality,” said Mark Rodgers, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Canada. “The families who apply to become Habitat homeowners are making incredibly difficult decisions every day. Do I pay the rent today? Or do I buy food? That’s why the Meaning of Home contest is so important – it helps raise awareness amongst the leaders of tomorrow about one of today’s most concerning problems, affordable housing. It shows them that they have the power to make a difference.”

Eleven runners-up from across Canada have each been awarded a $5,000 grant to direct to the local Habitat for Humanity of their choice. In addition, 11 classrooms will enjoy a pizza party courtesy of each winning entrant. The 11 runners-up and their Habitat for Humanity beneficiaries are:

Ayomipo Olutoto

Winnipeg, Manitoba – Habitat for Humanity Manitoba

Keira Finn

Peterborough, Ontario – Habitat for Humanity Peterborough & Kawartha Region

Catharine Marcus

Scarborough, Ontario – Habitat for Humanity GTA

Samara Jacob

Whitehorse, Yukon – Habitat for Humanity Yukon

Kiawna Leas

Whitehorse, Yukon – Habitat for Humanity Yukon

Evan Papps

Victoria, British Columbia – Habitat for Humanity Victoria

Madisen Fehst

Kamloops, British Columbia – Habitat for Humanity Kamloops

Abigail Smith

Paradise, Newfoundland – Habitat for Humanity Newfoundland and Labrador

Faith Ross

Paradise, Newfoundland – Habitat for Humanity Newfoundland and Labrador

Nada Aiyar

Blainville, Quebec – Habitat for Humanity Quebec

Livia Carpentier-Gravel    

Blainville, Quebec – Habitat for Humanity Quebec

Students were also invited to submit videos describing what home means to them for a chance to win additional prizes. View the winning video from Jayson Brown from London, Ontario, at

About Genworth MI Canada Inc.
Genworth MI Canada Inc. (TSX: MIC) through its subsidiary, Genworth Financial Mortgage Insurance Company Canada (“Genworth Canada”), is the largest private residential mortgage insurer in Canada. The Company provides mortgage default insurance to Canadian residential mortgage lenders, making homeownership more accessible to first-time homebuyers. Genworth Canada differentiates itself through customer service excellence, innovative processing technology and a robust risk management framework. For more than two decades, Genworth Canada has supported the housing market by providing thought leadership and a focus on the safety and soundness of the mortgage finance system.  As at December 31, 2017, Genworth Canada had $6.9 billion total assets and $4.0 billion total shareholders’ equity. Find out more at

About Habitat for Humanity Canada
Founded in 1985, Habitat for Humanity Canada is a national, nonprofit 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 56 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 nonprofit working in more than 70 countries. For more information, please visit

SOURCE Genworth MI Canada


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