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Habitat for Humanity announces winner of Youth Programs’ video advocacy contest

College student Matt Deyo-Svendsen receives first-place award and $1,000 scholarship

ATLANTA and Americus, Ga. (April 30, 2007) — Habitat for Humanity today announced the winner of its “Act! Speak! Build! Week” video contest. A short film produced by 21-year-old Matt Deyo-Svendsen of Menomonie, Wis., took first-place honors. Deyo-Svendsen is currently a senior at Stetson University in DeLand, Fla., where he majors in math/computer science. His award includes a $1,000 scholarship to participate in a Habitat Global Village trip or a Habitat Collegiate Challenge trip.

Habitat’s video advocacy contest invited youth, ages 18 to 25, to participate in a video letter-writing campaign targeted toward a congressional audience. The contest is part of “Act! Speak! Build! Week,” a national Habitat for Humanity student-initiated advocacy program that empowers young people to educate themselves and their communities. “Act! Speak! Build! Week” activities took place nationwide April 16 to 22, 2007.

The winning film depicts a team of Habitat volunteers building an “imaginary” Habitat home. The video concludes with a scene of the volunteer team in front of a West Volusia Habitat for Humanity build site and the message, “Please support an increase of poverty-focused development assistance by $5 billion in FY 2008.” Deyo-Svendsen’s video will be sent to appropriate government officials and used as an advocacy tool.

Deyo-Svendsen has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity for the past four years through the Stetson University Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter in partnership with West Volusia Habitat for Humanity in DeLand, Fla. His video features fellow Stetson University students Dave Dowd and Kari Sapp and is available to view on and Contest winners were chosen based on the number of hits their video received and feedback from Habitat judges.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in Americus, Ga., in 1976, Habitat has built more than 225,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit