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Toronto student announced as a grand prize winner in national writing contest

Grand prize winner joins two other local students to win grants helping to raise more than $60,000 for Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area.

TORONTO, June 14, 2023 – Three Toronto-area students are being celebrated as winners of Habitat for Humanity Canada’s Meaning of Home national writing contest. Daphne U. is the Grade 4 grand prize winner for her entry No Place Like Home. Her $30,000 grant will benefit Habitat for Humanity GTA. Daphne joins Grade 4 runner-up JL B.  for his entry, The Meaning of Home and Grade 5 runner-up Eldana A. for her entry The Foundation of My Heart, who each won a $10,000 grant towards Habitat for Humanity GTA. Combined with more than 1,200 students who made submissions, the three students helped raise more than $60,000 to support Habitat for Humanity GTA’s efforts to build affordable homes for working families in our communities.

Habitat for Humanity and representatives from Sagen, the founding sponsor of the writing contest, gathered to honour the three students at an event last night at Habitat for Humanity GTA’s Toronto office.

Since 2007, the Meaning of Home contest shares what home means to students in Grades 4, 5 and 6. This year, three grand prize winners and nine runners-up have joined over 12,000 students across Canada to raise $302,000 for Habitat for Humanity organizations across Canada through their entries. Three grand prize winners won a $30,000 grant to their local Habitat for Humanity organization. Runners-up have won a $10,000 grant for their local Habitat. Congratulations to all the winners and to everyone who entered and earned a $10 donation to their local Habitat for Humanity with their submission.

“To see over 1,200 students from the GTA alone reflect on the importance of home and what it means is inspiring. At Habitat for Humanity GTA, so much of what we do is really for the children. A strong, stable home base opens up resilience and possibilities for a child’s future, whether it’s having a place to study, play or just share a meal in the best company. The lifelong benefits of a home of your own are truly immeasurable,” said Ene Underwood, CEO for Habitat for Humanity GTA. “On behalf of Habitat for Humanity GTA, thank you to the students, teachers, school staff, parents and volunteers that made this year’s contest such a powerful one.”

“Safety, security, a place of love, a place to grow, play, learn and make memories – these are the things that children say matter most when asked what home means to them,” says Julia Deans, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Canada. “Housing provides a foundation for all these things, and we continue to build and advocate so more families can benefit from affordable homeownership.”

“Since the Meaning of Home contest began in 2007, over 100,000 students have shared what home means to them. With the support of Sagen as founding sponsor, these students have raised $2.3 million to help more families in need of homes build stronger lives through housing,” said Stuart Levings, President and CEO of Sagen.

The Meaning of Home contest would not be possible without the generous support of Founding Sponsor, SagenTM and Award Sponsors Urban Systems Foundation, Face to Face Games, and Home Trust. To read all the winning entries, please visit www.meaningofhome.ca/page/winners2023.


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Photo left to right: students Daphne U., JL B. and Eldana A, Sagen Vice President of Business Development Kiki Sauriol-Roode and Habitat for Humanity GTA CEO Ene Underwood.


About Sagen™

As a sponsor since 2000, Sagen has donated over $6.8 million in support of Habitat Canada and has helped thousands of Canadian families realize their dreams of affordable homeownership. While Sagen’s financial support provides crucial funding for their homeownership program, its support of Habitat Canada extends far beyond financial support. Throughout the sponsorship, Sagen employees from all levels of the organization, including President and CEO Stuart Levings and his executive team, have lent their leadership experience, industry knowledge and time to help launch many of Habitats’ signature programs, including the Sagen Homebuilding Grants, Global Village Volunteer Program in Canada and the Meaning of Home Contest. These programs, along with Sagen’s support and involvement in them has significantly increased their ability to raise funds, recruit volunteers and ultimately, support more families and build stronger communities. Find out more at www.sagen.ca

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 46 local Habitats working in every province and territory, we provide a solid foundation for better, healthier lives in Canada and around the world. Habitat for Humanity Canada is a member of Habitat for Humanity International, which was established in 1976 and has grown to become a leading global non-profit working in more than 70 countries. For more information, please visit www.habitat.ca.

About Habitat for Humanity GTA

Habitat for Humanity GTA is greater Toronto’s most recognized provider, and advocate, of solutions that tackle our region’s housing crisis. Our mission is to create a world where everyone has a safe, quality place to live. We focus on creative solutions to address the affordable housing crisis in Toronto, Brampton, Caledon, York Region and Durham Region. With the help of volunteers, donors and community partners, we unlock change for generations by bringing the benefits of home ownership to more people and communities. Since 1988, Habitat GTA has built 23 new communities, empowering more than 500 families. To learn more visit habitatgta.ca.


For media requests, please contact:


Johnny Keogh

Habitat for Humanity GTA

Communications Manager

Cell: 647-883-7572