Winnipeg boy wins national contest, earns $50K to Habitat for Humanity

Nikki Jhutti / Global News

Ryan Mota was only nine years old when he decided to enter Genworth Canada’s Meaning of Home contest last fall.

The annual national contest invites students from Grades 4, 5 and 6 to write about what home means to them.

Mota chose to write a poem and was selected the winner from more than 6,700 entries.

On Friday, the now 10-year-old, got to read his poem to the entire student body at St. Alphonsus School — his fellow students responded by chanting his name.

“It’s really cool,” Mota said, grinning ear to ear.  “Just feels really good and awesome, not much words for it.”

Mota was awarded with an iPad, a pizza party for his class and a $1,000 donation to the school.

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The Grade 4 student’s poem talked about his home, family and his hope to help others.

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“I’m so fortunate to have a home here in Winnipeg and there’s a lot of families around Canada and Winnipeg that don’t, so I want to do what I can to help them,” Mota said.

Click here to read Ryan’s poem.

The contest award also included a $50,000 grant from Genworth Canada to donate to a Habitat for Humanity build of the winner’s choosing.

Mota decided to donate the money to the local Habitat’s new faith-based project in St. Boniface, which will break ground in June.

“It’s a major gift,” Michelle Pereira of Habitat for Humanity Manitoba said.

“It costs us $175,000 to build one Habitat house, not including land, and so $50,000 puts a big dent in what we’re going to do.”

Pereira added it’s been a while since a Winnipeg student has won the national contest.  She believes the last time was back in 2005.

She hopes youth will continue to follow in the footsteps of students like Mota to help others in the community.

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“What he’s doing is providing an opportunity for a family to have a better life and the kids within that family to have a better future.”

WATCH: Dream playhouse featured at Winnipeg Renovation Show supporting Habitat for Humanity

Click to play video: 'Dream playhouse featured at Winnipeg Renovation Show supporting Habitat for Humanity'
Dream playhouse featured at Winnipeg Renovation Show supporting Habitat for Humanity

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