Contest for Kids Aims to Find Out What Makes a House a Home

Written by Posted On Sunday, 27 November 2005 16:00

It's not the size, the color, the number of rooms or how expensive it is that makes their homes special. Kids all across the country are finding creative ways to say what makes their house a home in a national contest sponsored by Coldwell Banker and Scholastic Professional Magazines.

The "My Home: The American Dream" contest is in celebration of Coldwell Banker's 100th anniversary in business.

"For a lot of people, owning their own house is an American dream and through their kids and family the house becomes a home through their lifestyle," says Michael Harris, Director of Marketing at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

The contest aims to find out what makes a house a home in kids' eyes. But it also is meant to spark a creative interest in real estate by encouraging contestants to learn about their homes by answering thought-provoking questions. Questions such as: "What is the history of your home, when was it built and what changes have occurred since it was built, What have you done to make your home better, have you created a piece of art that has become a part of your home or decorated your room in a special way?"

"Submissions can be in the form of a short film on DVD or VHS or a storyboard such as a comic strip or series of photographs with text or even just an essay with some illustrations," says Harris.

Harris says there are three different categories ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade, "So then an eighth grader isn't competing with a kindergartner."

There are various prizes given out. There will be one grand-prize winner for each of the three grade categories: K-2, 3-5, 6-8.

"They will each receive $2,000 cash [scholarship from Coldwell Banker] and then there are 30 finalists, 10 in each category, and they each win $100 [savings bond]," says Harris.

And there's incentive for the teachers or parents who currently teach or homeschool the grand-prize winners; each will receive a digital video camera worth approximately $600.

The contest crosses all socio-economic barriers.

"It doesn't matter whether it's a condo, a three bedroom home or a six bedroom home … really truly what makes a home are the people inside," says Harris.

Harris says this is clearly evident when a home is being listed. Often realtors will tell the sellers to take down pictures and items that might make it difficult for potential buyers to imagine their own belongings in the home.

"That's why you see … when you resell your home it takes on a whole new character once the new family comes in," says Harris.

The national contest comes at a time when the market, at least in San Diego, has started to slow a bit. Typically, holidays create a little quieter time on the market.

"The market is adjusting a little bit but it's almost like a 'Goldilocks' atmosphere: it's not too hot and it's not too cold. It's right in between," says Harris.

The message behind the contest is perhaps the real prize. Harris says when families have to move, communicate this with your children, "Really talk with your kids and explain that their home is anywhere they are and wherever they go they will create their new home together," says Harris.

Entries for the contest should be postmarked by December 23, 2005. For more details visit .

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Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is an award-winning journalist, an author, customer service trainer/speaker, and founder of Setting the Service Standard, a customer service training and consulting program offered by Live Fit Enterprises (LFE) based in San Diego, California. She is the publisher of Live Fit Magazine, an online publication that features information on real estate/finance, physical fitness, travel, and philanthropy. Her company, LFE, specializes in media services including marketing, PR, writing, commercials, corporate videos, customer service training, and keynotes & seminars. Visit her magazine website:

Phoebe's articles, feature stories, and columns appear in various publications including The Coast News, Del Mar Village Voice, Rancho Santa Fe Review, and Today's Local News in San Diego, as well as numerous Internet sites. She holds a California real estate license. Phoebe worked for KGTV/10News in San Diego as a Newscaster, Reporter and Community Affairs Specialist for more than a decade. Phoebe's writing is also featured in Donald Trump's book: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buying Foreclosures. She is the author of If the Trash Stinks, TAKE IT OUT! 14 Worriless Principles for Your Success.

Contact Phoebe at (858) 259-3646 or Visit for more information.

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