Habitat for Humanity Vernon Chapter

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Template letter to teachers

August 20, 2011

I am writing to tell you about a great way teachers can challenge their students to make a difference in their community, while meeting core curriculum requirements.

From October 3 to November 11, 2011, students in grades 4, 5 and 6 can enter the annual Meaning of Home writing contest in support of Habitat for Humanity Canada (HFHC). The contest is a fantastic opportunity for students to put their creative writing skills to work for a good cause. This year is the fifth anniversary of the contest, which has received more than 7,000 entries, donated nearly $360,000 to Habitat for Humanity and inspired hundreds of children across the country to make writing a priority early in life.

The winner of the contest will be part of the ultimate gift: A $60,000 contribution towards the building of a Habitat home in or near the winner’s community. The winner also receives a laptop, while each runner-up will be given an iPod Touch! The winner will also get to enjoy a pizza party for their entire school.

We’ve also built in some new incentives including the “Dollars for Essays” program. With this program, five dollars is donated to a local Habitat for Humanity affiliate each time an entry is submitted. This means that each of the students participating will have a chance to make a difference and experience first-hand what it means to give back to their communities.

The best part is: teachers can incorporate the writing contest into their classroom activities and assignments. As you know, one of the key elements of language learning is to interact and connect with individuals. Here’s how the writing contest helps teachers meet some core requirements:

  • The writing contest provides students with the opportunity to produce an original piece of creative work that reflects their capacity for independent critical thought.
  • The contest is an activity that students will see as meaningful; one that challenges them to think creatively about a topic that directly impacts their lives—the meaning of home—and will ultimately improve their writing skills.

You can download a complete, ready-to-go Education Module including a lesson plan, activity ideas, writing tips and a Habitat for Humanity Canada fact sheet, as well as full contest details, at meaningofhome.ca. The site will be live by September 1, 2011. Also, by referring a colleague to participate in the contest you are in turn helping Habitat through our new “Dollars for Essays” program mentioned above. You can make referrals easily by clicking here, starting today.

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Meaning of Home contest, a commemorative book is being created that will highlight the last five years of winning entries and finalists. This means that several student participants will be able to call themselves published authors. The book will be available for purchase in February 2012. However, you can place an advance order for your classroom (or school) in time for the launch of this year’s contest October 3, 2011. All net proceeds will be donated to Habitat for Humanity Canada.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Many thanks for your support!

Glory Westwell
Chair of Habitat for Humanity Vernon Chapter