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Nine-year-old wins Habitat essay competition

By James Buchok


WINNIPEG — A grade four student at Winnipeg’s St. Alphonsus Catholic School was chosen from more than 7,000 participants across Canada to receive a $50,000 grant for Habitat for Humanity.

Nine-year-old Ryan Mota wrote about ancestors, family and hope in his winning essay entry in Genworth Canada’s 11th annual Meaning of Home Contest in support of Habitat for Humanity.

Along with the ability to direct his grant to Habitat for Humanity Manitoba, Mota also receives an iPad, a pizza party for his class, and a $1,000 donation to his school.

“We are thrilled that the winner and one of the 11 runner-up students of this national contest are from Winnipeg,” said Habitat Manitoba CEO Sandy Hopkins. “The Meaning of Home Contest not only provides one more opportunity to discuss the importance of a safe, decent and affordable place to live, but it also is developing future philanthropists,” said Hopkins, adding that more than 1,000 Manitoba students from grades 4, 5 and 6 entered the competition this year, “and that means that over 1,000 more families are now talking about Habitat and the importance of affordable housing.”

Mota’s essay can be read in the Catholic Schools section of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg website.

Since the Meaning of Home contest launched in 2007, the national competition 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.

Habitat for Humanity Canada’s model of affordable home ownership 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.

Including Ayomipo Olutoto, also from Winnipeg, there are 11 runners-up from across Canada who have each been awarded a $5,000 grant to direct to a local Habitat for Humanity of their choice. In addition, 11 classrooms will enjoy a pizza party courtesy of each winning entrant.

Habitat for Humanity Manitoba was founded in 1987 and is the local affiliate of the global, nonprofit Habitat for Humanity International, which was established in 1976 and has grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 70 countries.

In the summer of 2017 former U.S. president Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn brought the 34th Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Habitat for Humanity Work Project to Canadian cities, including Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg, to build 150 homes for Canada’s 150th anniversary.

At the Winnipeg site, in five days, 1,600 volunteers built 15 permanent single-family dwellings, plus five more ready-to-move structures starting at pre-set foundations and going to walls, windows and roofs, ready for trades to put in electrical and plumbing. The homes were to be occupied by the end of 2017 and early 2018.

Genworth Financial Mortgage Insurance Company is a residential mortgage insurer providing mortgage default insurance to Canadian residential mortgage lenders working with first-time home-buyers.

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