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Habitat committee hopes for a repeat of last year’s Meaning of Home success

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Habitat For Humanity Dauphin Branch is hoping to repeat the success it enjoyed last year in this year’s edition of The Meaning of Home.
Last year, Tiana Sanko, a Grade 4 student from Gilbert Plains earned a $10,000 donation for the local chapter with her poem “Home.”
Entries for the national writing contest for students in Grades 4 to 6 opened Jan. 4 and will be accepted until Feb. 19.
Students are invited to submit a poem or essay explaining what home means to them.
It is a way for students to engage in an interactive and fun way, while learning the importance of safe, affordable housing.
Each entry results in a $10 donation to the local Habitat chapter while the national winner in each grade gets to direct a $30,000 grant to their local Habitat build. Three runners-up per grade will also get to direct a $10,000 grant towards their local Habitat build.
Additional prizes include an iPad, and class pizza party for each of the grand prize winners.
Locally the Habitat chapter has once again partnered with the Dauphin and District Chamber of Commerce to offer an additional prize of 200 Chamber Bucks.
“Essentially anybody in Grades 4, 5 or 6 who participates gets entered for an opportunity to win those chamber bucks,” said Mariann Harvey of the local Habitat chapter.
“Then those submissions are submitted nationally and then that national pool or board or whatever, they decide who is the grand prize winner in each class.”
Last year, the contest drew 216 local entries, mostly through the classroom. This year entries are slow, Harvey said, as COVID-19 has presented many challenges in and out of school.
“But I have touched base with all of the schools in Mountain View, Turtle River and Frontier school divisions. I even touched base with some home school people.” Harvey said.
“Let’s say that I’m optimistic, but at this moment it does appear nationally that things are off to a slow start.”
Last year, she added, youth ambassadors Kara and Ava Paziuk were able to visit schools to generate interest in the contest
“This year they created a powerpoint presentation with audio and we sent that off to local schools,” Harvey said, encouraging anyone thinking about taking part to take the plunge.
“Talking with Tiana last year, she said ‘I didn’t even like feel like doing it she didn’t feel like doing it,’ Then she just wrote down a bunch of stuff and submitted it and won. You never know.”
Since its inception in 2007, more than 68,000 students across Canada have participated in the Meaning of Home Contest. The contest has raised more than $1.7 million which have helped local Habitats in more than 43 communities across the country.