National student writing contest raises over $280,000 for Habitat for Humanity in Canada

TORONTO, June 03, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- 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. Over 10,200 students entered this year’s Meaning of Home contest, which sets a new record. There are three grand prize winners, one from each grade, who have won a $30,000 grant towards a local Habitat for Humanity build. Nine runners up have won a $10,000 grant towards their local Habitat. Each student entry also earned a $10 donation for their local Habitat. During a time when many local Habitats are struggling with the financial impact from COVID-19 on their operations, this contest helped raise over $280,000. These much-needed funds will go towards building homes for families in need of a safe and secure place to call home.

Grand prize winners

The Grade 6 grand prize winner is Nyra Calamiong, from Toronto, Ontario, who is directing her grant to help build homes with Habitat for Humanity GTA. Click here to read Nyra’s winning poem: “My Home is the Most Important Place to Me”.

Nathan Papps is the Grade 5 grand prize winner, from Victoria, British Columbia. His grant will be directed to Habitat for Humanity Victoria. Click here to read Nathan’s winning poem: “Where the Heart Lives”.

Ines Casanova, from Toronto, Ontario, is the Grade 4 grand prize winner and will be directing her $30,000 grant to Habitat for Humanity GTA. Click here to read Ines’ winning poem “Home: The endless possibilities”.

“Reading through these students’ entries about what home means to them is very inspiring,” said Julia Deans, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Canada. “A decent and affordable place to call home is something too many Canadians don’t have. And the importance of being able to have a secure and safe home to live in has never been clearer as it is during these challenging times.”

The Meaning of Home contest would not be possible without the generous support of founding sponsor, Genworth Canada.

“I’d like to congratulate each of the contest winners and thank all the students who submitted entries on what home means to them. Since 2007, the Meaning of Home contest has been empowering youth to become engaged and compassionate members of the community while educating them on the importance of affordable housing. We’re proud to be a founding sponsor of this initiative,” said Stuart Levings, President and CEO, Genworth Canada.

In addition to the support of founding sponsor Genworth Canada, the Meaning of Home contest would not have been possible without the support of awards sponsor, Revera Inc. and judging sponsor, The Silver Hotel Group. 

To read all the winning entries, please visit

Runners up - Grade 4

Tiana SankoGilbert Plains, ManitobaHabitat for Humanity Manitoba
Lake SeverinKingsville, OntarioHabitat for Humanity Windsor-Essex
Christopher ValdesToronto, OntarioHabitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area

Runners up - Grade 5

Mehtab CheemaEdmonton, AlbertaHabitat for Humanity Edmonton
Alice HopkinsComox, British ColumbiaHabitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North
Cortez RiveraHeadingley, ManitobaHabitat for Humanity Manitoba

Runners up - Grade 6

Siena Hopkins-PrestPeterborough, OntarioHabitat for Humanity Peterborough and Kawartha Region
Emily PhillipsLondon, OntarioHabitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario
Natalie ZhouRichmond Hill, OntarioHabitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area

About founding sponsor: 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 March 31, 2020, Genworth Canada had $6.6 billion total assets and $3.4 billion total shareholders equity. Find out more at

About Habitat for Humanity Canada

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 53 local Habitats working in every province and territory, we provide a solid foundation for better, healthier lives in Canada and around the world. For more information, please visit

For more information please contact:

Sarah Austin, Director, Communications
Habitat for Humanity Canada
Phone: 437-241-6974 

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