Blog Contest Winners Selected

Congratulations are in order to Dawn Alley, as she is the first place winner of our blog contest, and the recipient of the $500 US Airways gift card!  And because we loved them both equally, we have a tie for 2nd place:  Christina McLachlan and Laura Temple are our runners-up and winners of $50 Home Depot gift cards!  These winners will be contacted by DC Habitat staff today about their prizes — kudos to the three of you for your blog writing talents!

We thank all of those who participated in our first-ever blog contest — we enjoyed reading what each of you had to say about what makes a house a home.  We also appreciate your continued interest in our work here at DC Habitat.  Please keep reading our blog, and make sure to keep a look out for the next contest.

Here are the winning entries:

1st Place – Dawn Alley

In many ways, of course, what makes a house a home is the people inside it. A home is a place to be surrounded by the comfort and warmth of family and friends. But maybe because this question is being asked by Habitat for Humanity, I can’t help but think about what it means to own your own home. For me, my home is all about permanence. When I was growing up, we moved a lot. There were some really great things about this: my family was incredibly close, and I got to see the country. But there were bad things, too. In one period of particular upheaval, I went to five different schools in four years. More than anything, I wanted to go somewhere and stay there.  Just stay there. Paint the walls. Know the neighbors. From that perspective, it’s not at all surprising that one of our first priorities when we got married was buying a house. I was ready to put down roots, both literally and figuratively. When you plant bulbs in the fall, it’s because you plan to be around in the spring to see the flowers. That is what a home means to me. It’s a place you invest in, because you’re planning to stick around for a lifetime of bar-b-ques and Thanksgiving dinners. It’s neighbors you know and pets that greet you at the door. It’s a place you take care of — and that takes care of you.

2nd Place – Christina McLachlan

What exactly makes a house a home? It’s not the amount of televisions one has, or the name brand recliner that sits in the living room, or even the shag carpeting that’s been nailed to the floor since the seventies. What makes a house a home are the feelings, the smells, and the memories that one relates to being in a place so comforting they call it a home. As a child, I grew up in one home. We lived in this home until I was 18 years old. It was such a large part of me and every memory I’ve ever had of a home was here. I can remember coming back from school in September; my mom would have the windows open, flowers on the table, the wind blowing the curtains; My mom sitting on the front porch ready to greet me with a smile on her face. Or at Christmas time: the first night we put up our tree. With the fresh pine in the air, the warm smell of cinnamon, the dusty smell of ornaments that have been in the attic all year, and the brisk smell of the winter’s night. Or the first thunder storm of the summer. I can remember watching the sky getting dark, the leaves turning up, and the smell of the cold rain on the hot pavement after taking refuge on the front porch. My home is where all of these memories happened. Being in a place where I felt so comfortable, relaxed, happy and loved is something that my 22-year-old self cherishes. These are the smells and feelings of my home that my memory will keep forever. We have since moved out of this home and it is still the only residence that I consider my “home.” You can live somewhere your entire life and never really feel like its home. The feeling of utter comfort and happiness that comes with a home is due to the people, the memories, and the experiences that come with it. The sheer love that exudes through the rooftop, being in a place that is yours, where you can relax around the people you cherish, and make memories that last a lifetime, is what makes a house a home.

2nd Place – Laura Temple

My favorite 20 minutes of the week is Saturday afternoon when my house is finally clean, my husband and four-year-old boy are on their way home and I can sit for a few minutes, appreciating my freshly-vacuumed house with everything in its place and fresh flowers on the dining table, taking comfort in the knowledge that this is OUR home. The minute my family walks in, the cleanliness and calm begin to evaporate, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Home is chaotic. Home is often messy, like a toy store blew up in the living room. Home is a noisy child in a superhero cape jumping from couch to chair fighting villains. Home is a neighbor crossing the street to have a cold drink sitting in a lawn chair in the driveway while our children play in the cul de sac. Home is having a regular place to put up the Christmas tree every year. Home is participating in neighborhood holiday traditions like sharing the tall ladder to put up the outside lights, group trick-or-treating, and block party cook-outs. More than anything to me, “home” means a safe, comfortable place for my family to live and love and appreciate what we have in life and in each other.

DC Habitat believes that everyone deserves a house they want to call home. That's why we work to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness in the nation's capital by building (and rehabilitating) affordable, energy- and resource-efficient homes for people in need.