Grade Six student uses words to build a home
Toronto (February 9, 2009) – It was the childhood experience of his mother that helped Jackson Topo, define the meaning of home and turn the dream of homeownership into reality for a deserving family.
Jackson, a Grade 6 student from Mississauga, Ontario, won the grand prize in the second annual “Meaning of Home” national writing contest sponsored by Genworth Financial Canada in support of Habitat for Humanity Canada.
Selected from over 2,000 submissions, Jackson’s winning entry earned him the ultimate prize: a $60,000 donation to build a Habitat for Humanity Home.Jackson chose to donate the home to Sudbury – the community where his late grandfather lived. In addition, Jackson received a new computer to help him further develop his writing skills.
It was his mother’s own past that truly helped Jackson appreciate the meaning of home: “When my mom was a child, she lived with her three siblings and her mother. My granny was living on Social Assistance and my mom was often jostled around from one house to another. At one point, she and her siblings were sent to different foster homes. For a few months, they had to live in a person’s basement with no kitchen or bathroom of their own. My mother will never forget these years of her life. Now that she is an adult, she truly appreciates having a home.”
The Meaning of Home contest was incepted to raise awareness among students on the importance of having a home. According to Habitat for Humanity statistics, 4 million people are without affordable housing. By putting pen to paper, students have the opportunity to express their feelings and make a difference in their community.
“Through the simple act of writing, the Meaning of Home contest provides a young generation with a voice – a voice that helps provide families across Canada with a home of their own,“ said Peter Vukanovich, President of Genworth Financial Canada.
From October 6 to November 14, 2008, students across Canada were invited to submit a short story, poem or essay online, expressing their thoughts on what “home” really means to them. Teachers were encouraged to download education modules from www.meaningofhome.ca to help bring the notion of community giving into the classroom.
Congratulations to the runners up: Jeremiah Votary (Grade 6) of Edmonton, Alberta; Allandra Power (Grade 6) of Edmonton, Alberta; Michelle Stoopler (Grade 5) of St. Laurent, Quebec; Ivana Brainerd (Grade 6) of Gloucester, Ontario, and Jessica Jaikaran (Grade 4) of North York, Ontario.
To read all the winning entries, and for more information about The Meaning of Home Contest, please visit www.meaningofhome.ca.
About Habitat for Humanity Canada:
Habitat for Humanity Canada is a national, non-profit, faith-based organization working for a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live. The mission of the organization is to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting homeownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty. Habitat for Humanity Canada was founded in 1985, consists of over 35,000 volunteers and 72 affiliate organizations from coast to coast, and is a member of Habitat for Humanity International which spans 93 countries, has built over 300,000 homes, and is now building a new home every 10 minutes.
Additional information about Habitat for Humanity Canada is available at www.habitat.ca.
About Genworth Financial Canada:
Our products help people make their dreams of home ownership come true. At Genworth, we believe in delivering value to the communities where our people live and work. Our partnerships with Habitat for Humanity and other charitable initiatives are tangible ways to demonstrate our commitment to affordable and accessible homeownership. In helping to build homes, we help to build a brighter future for both our young people and for people in need. Genworth Financial Canada, The Homeownership Company, works with lenders, mortgage brokers, real estate agents and builders to make homeownership more affordable and accessible throughout Canada.
The company combines global experience in mortgage insurance with technological and service leadership to deliver innovation to the mortgage marketplace.
Additional information about Genworth Financial Canada is available at www.genworth.ca or through mortgage lenders.
About Genworth Financial:
Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE:GNW) is a leading Fortune 500 global financial security company. Genworth has more than $100 billion in assets and employs approximately 6,000 people with a presence in more than 25 countries. Its products and services help meet the investment, protection, retirement and lifestyle needs of more than 15 million customers. Genworth operates through four segments: Retirement & Protection, US Mortgage Insurance, International and Investments. Its products and services are offered through financial intermediaries, advisors, independent distributors and sales specialists. Genworth Financial, which traces its roots back to 1871, became a public company in 2004 and is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. For more information, visit Genworth.com.