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Banyan Buzz
November 2020
Welcome and Thank You
This year, expressing gratitude (thankfulness for what we do have) is more essential than ever. Here are a few things we are grateful for at Banyan:
  • The strong relationships we have with each other (families, staff, board, and supporters)
  • Caring conversations on the phone, via Zoom, or at a distance with each other
  • Drive thru events at Banyan (School's Cool and Harvest Party)
  • Amazing memories of having fun with each other and the hope of doing it again soon
  • How thoughtful and supportive the larger community has been  
  • A reawakening that exposed the deep need for racial equity and justice
  • Children laughing and learning in the building
  • How quickly we have learned to pivot to continue with programming
  • That together, we are making a difference 
It is with gratitude that we wish you a blessed Thanksgiving. Enjoy our stories and thank you so much for your support.
 
Blessed,
 
Joani Essenburg
Co-Founder & Executive Director
Annual Report
Arriving Soon
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Watch your mailbox! This year's Annual Report has just gone to press and will be in your mailbox soon!
Giving Thanks! 
There are many individuals and organizations who have been supporting Banyan Community throughout the fall. Here are a few that we want to call out with a very special thank you.
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QBaskets Inspired Giving
Banyan Community was nominated to be part of the Qbaskets Giving Campaign. Each year QBaskets donates 10% of total sales – a minimum of $7,500 – to a local non-profit organization, and this year Banyan Community will receive this amazing gift!
 
Thanks to everyone who helped us earn this gift by voting during the giving campaign this fall.
XOXO, God
Thanks to XOXO, God. This organization is spreading hope and encouragement through God's love and is donating 100% of proceeds from merchandise sales to Banyan. You can do your part in spreading love by using the code BANYAN when making a purchase.
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AmazonSmile
Make additional impact this holiday season when shopping for gifts online. Consider shopping at smile.amazon.com to automatically generate contributions for Banyan Community.
Board of Directors
Banyan's Board of Directors is an active and engaged group ready to connect with you about resources for Banyan's future. Feel free to contact us.
 
Banyan Board:
Jeffrey Wertz, Interim Chair
Michael O'Keefe, Secretary
Susan Haffield, Treasurer
Iris Cornelius
Mike Cronin
Dan Farley
Stanley Jackson
Judy Pennington
Heidi Thorson
Mike Wilczynski
Carol Wolfe
Apples and Pumpkins come to Banyan
Fall Gathering Reimagined as Harvest Festival
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Although Banyan could not host our usual gathering at the apple orchard, we were able to bring the orchard to Banyan! Staff gathered to host a “drive-thru” event with families that included a photo booth, baking kits, treats for the kids, and plenty of pumpkins and apples! Families got to take home supplies to make their own caramel apples - a favorite annual treat. And, both parents and kids came dressed in their best Halloween costumes.
 
We were grateful to connect and gather safely outside on a gorgeous day. It was wonderful to see families coming together to celebrate fall with Banyan!
Young Voters at Banyan
Youth Hold Mock Election 
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Just like the rest of our country, our 3rd-5th grade youth were invested in this year’s election. During election week, youth learned about congress, the history of voting rights, the election process, and the importance of voting. They even had a chance to cast a vote for president, U.S. senator, and U.S. representative during a mock election!
 
As we waited for final results in the presidential race, we leaned into the curiosity and discussed the Electoral College, when the new president takes office, and how winners are chosen. We even discussed who can be president, how long a president can be in office, and when they could run for president (watch for 2048!). We thought critically about why things are the way they are and what would change if we were in charge. It is always a positive experience to have staff and youth learn together while engaged in current events.
 
Banyan youth were excited to hear whether their candidate had won – both in our mock elections and in the real election. Spoiler alert - they re-elected Tina Smith and Ilhan Omar and elected Joe Biden as president. We then discussed how to manage post-election-result feelings – it can be hard when a candidate you support doesn’t win! 
 
Young adults in the U.S. have comparatively low voting rates. It has been shown that youth who are civically engaged early tend to be civically engaged as young adults. Teaching youth about the voting process and democracy is critical to developing engaged citizens, and these youth are ready to raise their hands for what they believe. #Vote #2048
Thank You for Joining, Virtually!
Annual Event Supports Holistic Community Development
During the live broadcast on October 25th, we celebrated the successes of the past and our vision for the future. Through stories told by youth, families, and community members, we experienced how a neighborhood faced with many challenges is finding a new norm: one where youth are graduating from high school, community members believe they can make the neighborhood a better place to live, and families are invested in a hopeful vision of the future.
 
As we all continue to cope with the changes in everyday life caused by the ongoing global pandemic, Banyan's steadfast and holistic community development approach has never been more relevant or necessary. We are hopeful you enoyed the stories and got an insider's look into Banyan's work today.
 
We are incredibly grateful for the generous financial support of the event. While it was not quite our event goal, it is impactful and being put to good use, and there is still time to consider a year-end contribution. To see a 25 minute recording of the virtual event, visit banyancommunityevents.org
Staying Connected through Food
Virtual Cooking Class for Community Residents
Article ImageThroughout the fall, we continued our partnership with the University of Minnesota Extension to offer a virtual cooking class for families - Healthy Cooking, Healthy Eating.
 
Although we have held this program in the past, it looked quite different over Zoom. Both parents and youth learned to cook together while connecting with other families. The program was held first for Spanish-speaking families and is now underway for English-speaking families.
 
One parent noted that the isolation of the pandemic is getting really hard. She joined the cooking class because of a desire to socialize and meet new people in the community. It was also a great opportunity to learn new cooking skills alongside her child. It's just too bad the yummy smells from the kitchen do not travel through Zoom!
2 Millionth Meal Served
Partnership Fuels Healthy Minds and Bodies
Ed and Toni Egan with Banyan family celebrating high school graduation
Banyan Community has long partnered with Youthprise to serve hearty meals to youth (and adults) during our after-school programs. Access to nutrition helps youth learn and thrive in school. This year we were excited to be the site where Youthprise's two millionth meal was served.
 
Youthprise meals meet federal nutritional guidelines and help to combat food insecurity and nutritional deficiency. They also support an overall healthy lifestyle alongside the healthy fitness habits built during time in the gym each day. Youthprise’s partnership has been particularly valuable this year when our neighborhood lost two main grocery stores and sources of fresh produce.
 
Partnerships like these help us create meaningful and impactful programming that supports healthy bodies and minds that are ready to learn.

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