Sammi Szeto has lots going on to keep her busy -- including piano, ballet and singing -- but her recent entry into a national contest has changed her perspective on what it means to have a home.
"This was the first time I entered in the contest, but last year we had students in our school that have won," said Sammi from her Dartmouth home. "It looked fun and every entry you do gives $5 to a place that needs homes, and it's good to help the community."
The contest is called ‘The Meaning of Home,’ where students between Grades 4 and 6 write about what the word ‘home’ means to them. The contest is done through Genworth Financial.
Every entry in the contest generates $5 for Habitat for Humanity with $60,000 donated on behalf of the winner and $5,000 donated on behalf of each runner up, Szeto was one of those runner ups.
"A home is a place where you can do anything you want, you can do hobbies or have awkward habbits and everybody should have a place where they can say whatever they want and do whatever they want," Szeto said.
"The poem is about what home means to me. I also looked at the other winners and I saw that home means many different things to everyone.”
Szeto said that this contest showed her that a home is more than just shelter, it’s a place that builds character.
"It’s where the inner of yourself comes from,” she said. “This is where you really grow up and become who you are."
Szeto said she hopes that the poem she wrote, along with the other submissions, will inspire others to act by donating time or money to Habitat for Humanity, or other charities.
Her parents Iris Yuen and Ming Szteo were very excited to hear the news about her daughter being a runner up in a national contest. They were also admittedly surprised because Sammi took it on herself to contribute.
"I feel very proud of her and very happy for her at the same time,” said Ming Szeto. “Especially because she did that all on her own. We didn't even know about it until everything was done."
Sammi said this project has opened her mind to issues like homelessness and she plans to continue contributing where she can.
"People shouldn't take their home for granted," she said. "Before I wrote the poem I never thought that a really bad natural disaster could damage our house, but after I wrote the poem I understood better and I treat it better now."
Sammi's Winning Poem
Let me say it from my heart,
houses are special right from the start
We take them for granted as you may see,
but they are special like you and me
A house is a place to cry and weep,
a place to always play and sleep
A home to have a lot of fun,
for every single loved one
It is a place to be safe and free,
a comfortable place that is for you and me!
A home that is big, a home that is small,
a home that shall fit us all
A home to make you warm when cold,
a place to make you strong and bold
To rest in a comfy bed,
with a shelter over your head
I love my house forevermore,
I love my house from door to door!