Back to School
At Banyan that means 3 things:
1. Learning was never interrupted…
The summer learning gap is not present with Banyan kids. Cool Off Days (Banyan Summer Programming) is both fun and educationally enriching which keeps the brain in gear all summer long! Banyan kids return to school to continue
learning and bring to school additional insights
they gained during the summer.
2. Our youth are in many schools….BUT Banyan is not a school. Banyan is a community development organization that provides the wrap around services so that youth and adults can be successful in education and beyond. We have youth in over 20 schools; elementary, middle, high school, and college. The confidence and preparation needed for success comes from an environment of support through the encouragement and investment of the adults in the community.
3. Banyan Youth are Leaders… Both in the classroom and in the community, Banyan youth are leaders. Teachers often report that Banyan kids bring stability and leadership into the classroom. Many of our high school and some of our college youth work at Banyan in our After School Program, taking on leadership roles as community developers and educators. It all adds up to a great feeling this fall with so many community members engaged at Banyan.
Groundbreaking scheduled, September 2015!
Each week more names are added to the waiting list - which is already over 100 - as more youth and families learn about Banyan and want to be a part of the new 'norm' in the Phillips neighborhood.
We are poised to build a new permanent home that will double Banyan’s capacity to develop youth, strengthen families and create community. Banyan owns land at 2529 13th Ave S, right around the corner from our current space and centrally located in the Phillips neighborhood. The land is cleared, zoned, and ready to house the new Banyan Community Center. Banyan families eagerly care for the empty lot, mowing in the summer, shoveling in the winter, and praying for construction to begin. A new home will allow us to expand and graduate more youth, add a preschool, adult education, and embrace the hundreds of youth and families currently on the wait list.
To date we have raised $2 million dollars through the generous support of individuals, congregations, families, foundations, and local businesses that see the transformation Banyan is facilitating. We need to raise $1 million dollars by June 2015 to keep us on track for a groundbreaking ceremony next year at this time! The five million dollar Growing Responsibly Capital Campaign began in 2013 and will continue until we move in to the new space July 2016.
If we can grow the list of donors faster than the waiting list, we can make expanding Banyan Community a reality and embrace all those currently waiting. Won't you add your name to the list?
High School Challenge Day
Banyan tutor shares his experience
It is said that adversity and fear can bring out the best or worst in people. So when this year’s Banyan ASPIRE! students were subject to a ropes course during High School Challenge Day, they rose to the occasion exhibiting empathy, maturity and courage.
As expected the reaction was varied to climbing 15 feet up a pole then walking a steel cable with a partner; and some students wanted nothing to do with it. But everyone attempted the feat and even the most reluctant students accomplished far more than expected. Their teammates offered encouragement and advice, and were unbelievably patient; giving them all the time they needed to work through their fears. (This was even so when eager teammates knew giving up quickly could provide extra time for them to have a 2nd turn). Everyone in our group made it up the pole and most of the way across the cable.
As a 4th year ASPIRE! tutor I participate in Challenge Day to reconnect with existing students, meet the incoming freshman, and to interact with them in a setting outside tutoring. Its been enjoyable watching reserved freshman become confident seniors that look out for each other. As a long-time neighborhood resident with 30+ years of urban youth involvement, I am most impressed with the Banyan ASPIRE! students, and I feel they are being well equipped for successful futures.
Banyan Community Art Exhibit - Urban Principles
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Banyan Art Workshop started in the Essenburg home in 1999 over the MEA weekend. Each year middle school youth gather to paint a collection of pictures around a common theme. Artist, Anne C. Brink
has worked alongside us for 15 years to help youth with individual paintings as well as creating a group banner. Art Workshop creates a way for our middle school youth to work together on a common project…talking, painting, and realizing we have more strength together. The art work also allowed our youth the opportunity to have a painting displayed on their walls at home. Art Workshop continues each fall and has produced over 200 pieces of original art.
The theme this year -
Neighborhood Roots...Transformed Lives
At Banyan, our neighborhood is transforming as we build a new building. We are growing throughout our lifetime, we can also be the ones who change the world around us. Our hope is that together we will all work to make the world into a better place.
The collection will be on display at the Westminster Presbyterian Church Gallery from September 14 - November 23. Check their website
for available times to stop by and view the collection.
Home Visits and Pathways
Committed to Youth and Families
The long-term success of Banyan’s model depends on committed parents/guardians. This time of year, Banyan staff are scheduling home visits with each and every Banyan parent. At the same time, we are hosting parent meetings for all of our youth programs. When all is said and done, our Community Coordinator and Family Advocate will have met with at least 75 parents in their homes
to hear stories, learn about the love for their children, and help us create pathways for a successful future. At Banyan, we realiz that in order for our children to be successful their parents/guardians are the key!
That’s why our family advocates spend hundreds of hours in the first two months of the school year meeting with parents. Banyan parents are committed to all the children in our community because Banyan is committed to our parents.
18 Block Clubs
The Lighthouse Network added 4 new blocks clubs so far this year! Block clubs are also “adopting” blocks to encourage block club participation and show them how fun and easy being a block leader can be. Another example of transformation!
The Lighthouse Network Pledge reads:
By posting this sign our household is committed to getting to know our neighbors and keeping our community safe.
Welcome Kindergartners and
a Banyan Legacy
Ready, Set, Go
Most of us don’t remember our first day of kindergarten, but we often have the photos to prove that it happened. If you have children over five, you probably remember their first day of school – nervous, excited, butterflies in the stomach… and the kids had strong emotions too. At Banyan, kindergarten is the one grade that we get to fill every year with a fresh group of kids. Because of our retention rate (96%), every other grade at Banyan is mostly full going into a new school year. In fact, this year our kindergarten class was filled by those on our waiting list: and each one of them is related to another Banyan student.
One of our curious new kindergartners is our very first Banyan 'legacy' - which means his mom is a Banyan alum! It's hard to believe that is possible, but Banyan has been at work in the neighborhood for over 15 years, making it more than possible. This demonstrates Banyan's roots!
How far in advance are our families planning? Well, the youngest child to be added to Banyan’s waitlist was just 16 months old at the time! Our families are making long-term plans for their children, and our kindergartners are eagerly waiting to start their Banyan career.
Banyan Youth and Christian Service
Giving Back is Integral to Banyan
Adriana is a Banyan high school student that served as a volunteer this summer at Banyan to complete her Christian Service hours. Here are some thoughts that she recently shared in the write up of her summer: “The Banyan Community is a place full of children with energy. The kids there are fun to work with and are funny! The Banyan kids are beautiful and wonderful because they are always making people smile, including myself. I never thought working with kids could be this fun. Every day when I woke up, I prayed to God to give me the strength to give me faith as big as the kids in the Banyan. That is what made my summer!! Looking at kids with their big smiles and seeing them believing in themselves. All the wonderful trips (including camp) were unbelievable to share together!”
Banyan and Social Capital
Social Capital is one key to building lasting success and reducing the isolation that often accompanies low income communities. Banyan often defines itself as the LinkedIn account of the community and
is now on LinkedIn
! Be sure to follow us as we add another tool to share thoughts and insight on all the components of community development.
This summer SkyWaters Search Partners hosted a resume writing, interview skills, and social media session for Banyan college stud
ents and college graduates. It was a very valuable morning to learn from both sides of the table - the recruiters and hiring managers, and the coaches preparing candidates.