Grade five student Nathan Papps won $30,000 for Habitat for Humanity Victoria with his poem, ‘Where the Heart Lives.’ (Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity Victoria)

Grade five student Nathan Papps won $30,000 for Habitat for Humanity Victoria with his poem, ‘Where the Heart Lives.’ (Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity Victoria)

Vancouver Island students win thousands for Habitat for Humanity

Students writing about home helps fund builds in Island communities

What’s in a home?

According to a Grade 5 student in Victoria it’s “Where the Heart Lives” and his poem, which is titled the same, won the grand prize in The Meaning of Home national writing contest with Habitat for Humanity.

Along with the title of grand prize winner, Nathan Papps won $30,000 for Habitat for Humanity Victoria. The money will help build 11 new affordable homes for Greater Victoria families this year with 10 in North Saanich and one in Central Saanich.

“Nathan’s entry really does express how a house becomes a home when you bring in a family,” said Kelly King, communications director for Habitat for Humanity Victoria. “And the importance of being able to have a secure and safe home in which to live has never been clearer that it is right now.”

READ ALSO: Winners of Habitat for Humanity Victoria’s Gingerbread Showcase announced

Nathan’s poem reflects on the many things that make up a home such as its frame, siding, and plumbing likening them to parts of the human body like its skeleton, skin and blood. In it, he notes that the home’s heart is missing until the day his family moves in.

“We are my home’s heart,” the poem reads. “Beating life and love into our new home.”

There are three grand prize winners in Grade 4, 5 and 6 with one winner from each grade. Each of them won a $30,000 grant towards a local Habitat for Humanity build. Nine runners up have also won a $10,000 grant towards their local Habitat and each student entry earned a $10 donation for their local Habitat.

Among the runners-up was a Comox student has won $10,000 for Habitat For Humanity Vancouver Island North (Habitat VIN). Alice Hopkins, a student at École Robb Road in Comox, was a runner up in the Grade 5 category of the national writing contest.

Habitat VIN executive director Pat McKenna said the $11,060 cash infusion came at an ideal time.

“It will go straight to our current projects (10-unit Courtenay development and 11-unit Campbell River development) because we are in desperate need of funds right now,” he said.

The impact of the contest is not lost on the children themselves, as was evident with a response from Hopkins, in a Habitat press release.

“The Meaning of Home contest gives something for people to work together on. Even if they don’t win, they are making a difference together,” she said. “I hear about a lot of young people making a big difference. I didn’t know I could make such a difference. Now I know anyone can make a difference if you try.”

McKenna divulged that Hopkins also did a little giving back of her own.

“She won a pizza party as part of the prize, and she can’t have it – probably because of COVID-19 – so she wants to donate her pizzas party to the volunteers on the builds,” said McKenna.

The contest itself helped raise over $280,000 according to a release from Habitat for Humanity Victoria. More than 300 students in the Greater Victoria area entered, resulting in over $3,000 in additional funds to go towards building homes for families in need of a safe and secure place to call home.

To read other award winning poems from the contest, visit meaningofhome.ca/winners-2020/.

READ ALSO: Habitat for Humanity seeks applicants for 11 new homes on the Saanich Peninsula

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


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