Banyan Buzz
March, 2015
Banyan Community invites you to join us under the Banyan tree as we share our joys, challenges and life events while living and growing together! Banyan Buzz is our attempt to bring you into the center of our conversations to celebrate with us. Enjoy!
Joani Essenburg, Co-Founder & Executive Director
Welcome to our New College & Career Counselor
Banyan Keeps Growing!
Article ImageMai Shoua Khang joins Banyan as our new College and Career Counselor. Mai Shoua was a first generation college graduate who went on to complete her Masters in School Counseling from the University of Wisconsin - Stout. She brings a wealth of experience working with high school and college students, most recently as a TRiO Upward Bound Advisor. Mai Shoua will work with Banyan’s high school and college youth, as well as their parents, to successfully navigate the path to and through college.
Volunteer Spotlight
Mary Ann Dorsher
Article Image Mary Ann Dorsher, founder of ACT Ready, has volunteered her time to prepare Banyan Juniors for the ACT test since 2010. Mary Ann brings passion and enthusiasm to her work along with a strong strategy to approach the ACT test. The ACT prep class is provided pro-bono by ACT Ready. Together the students and Mary Ann work hard and the rewards are great. Strong ACT scores translate into college acceptances and scholarship awards. We are grateful for Mary Ann and ACT Ready’s commitment to our community!
Prestigious Scholarship Awarded to a Banyan Youth!
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Congratulations to Diamond! She has been selected to receive a full scholarship for tuition to Bethel University through the ACTSIX Scholarship Program. We are incredibly proud of Diamond for rising to the top of a pool of 200+ applicants!
In Search of
Career Mentors
We are seeking a few volunteers who are interested in making a difference in a young person’s life by becoming a Banyan Scholar Career Mentor! As a Career Mentor, you are paired with a Junior or Senior college student and will provide career guidance and mentorship. Career mentors with a background in Business/Entrepreneurship and Economics are currently in need as soon as possible. For more information and if you are interested, please contact Mai Shoua.
Growing Responsibly
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We are now $550,000 away from our fundraising goal to break ground on a permanent home that will double our capacity (and serve the 100+ youth on our waiting list) to develop youth, strengthen families, and create community in the Phillips neighborhood of south Minneapolis.
Thank you if you have already made a financial commitment to Banyan's future. If you haven't joined in yet, there is still time to make a gift or pledge to ensure a new and permanent home for Banyan. Contact us to make your gift today.
Banyan 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:
Kyle Didier, Chair
Sheila Jones, Vice Chair
Sue Jensen, Secretary
Sven Wehrwein, Treasurer
Dan Farley
Trevor Knight
Barry Lieske
Ayo Olawole
Brian Provost
Mark Schulze
David Tynes
Upcoming Events
Mark your calendar
Business Leaders Breakfast
Tuesday, April 14
7:30 - 8:30 AM
College Decision Day
Friday, May 1
Your supportive thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated by the seniors as they make their college choices.
Banyan Family Carnival
Thursday, May 14
A Banyan Gathering for families! The Banyan Center is transformed into a traditional carnival setting for a grand celebration.
Help Make All This Happen!
Support Banyan
As you are making summer plans, consider sharing some of your summer vacation plans with the Banyan kids by making a gift today!
It feels good as you head out of town to know that an urban child and family will have an enriching summer experience too.   WE ARE THANKFUL FOR YOUR SUPPORT TO HELP US MAKE EACH SUMMER MEANINGFUL AND FUN!
Banyan now accepts donations online! This is a convenient and secure way to support the work of Banyan. Give it a try!
Schedule Your Recurring Gift Today
Why give this way as opposed to another method? Consistency! Predictablity! You understand the need for good management, budgeting and stewardship of funds. A recurring gift is a "Living Endowment" which can be used to develop youth, strengthen families, and create community.
Recurring gifts (either bank draft or credit card) provide Banyan with consistent and predictable monthly funding to support our programming.
Fine print: this method of giving can be cancelled or changed at any time. Paying by bank draft or credit card is safe and secure.
Business Leaders Breakfast
Tuesday, April 14th
7:30 - 8:30 AM
Each year Banyan Community brings together 200+ Business Leaders for an inspirational morning to network and discuss the future of urban America.
Banyan Community recognizes that in order for people in poverty to thrive and succeed, whole families AND the larger community must be connected. Banyan creates educational pathways for youth to develop leadership skills, engage in positive and meaningful relationships with peers and adults, and broaden their horizons. Likened to a “LinkedIn” social capital network that dissipates the ghetto like situation of poverty neighborhoods.
As an attendee you have the opportunity to provide the financial support that builds the bridge to opportunities for Banyan youth, the future work force and 1st generation business leaders and add to our “LinkedIn” account.
Coach Jerry Kill’s commitment to youth development and the importance of higher education, as well as the voice he gives to overcoming obstacles and pursuing your dreams, have us very excited to welcome him to Banyan!
Spring Break...
Banyan Style
Article ImageIn the coming weeks schools will be taking a spring break, a time many Minnesotans leave town and celebrate by heading south.
Meanwhile, Banyan will be a lively hub of fun and exploration for the whole family! When school is off, we are on.  
Elementary and middle school youth will have days full of active play and field trips to keep them busy and learning. Their fun will peak on Thursday when they go swimming with all their friends at an indoor water park! High school youth won’t come to their normal tutoring sessions. Instead, they’ll be exploring college campuses at Northwestern and Macalester and finding ways to serve their community.
Every Summer at Banyan Has a Story!
Memories in the Making
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The ice is melting and the birds are singing, could it be that summer is coming? Summertime is particularly challenging for youth and families in our urban neighborhood. Violence keeps our kids inside of homes, and lack of opportunities increase the achievement gap. BUT… BANYAN YOUTH AND FAMILIES have a different type of summer. Banyan summers provide:
  • Academic enrichment: through a variety of experiences from the Arboretum to the Zoos—with a few pools thrown in!
  • Youth employment and leadership development: Banyan employs high school and college youth to implement best practices in community youth development!
  • Community building: Our youth and families have opportunities to enjoy summer together with joint field trips in and out of the metro!
  • Summer camps! Banyan has a camp experience for all youth and parents at Banyan!
Staff members are busy planning summer, even as you read this newsletter! Kids and parents are getting excited!   We just can’t wait!! How many days until summer??
"Banyan Effect"
A new measure of Banyan's impact in Phillips
Social Capital, Bonding Capital, Bridging Capital, Neighborhood Effects, Collective Efficacy, and Banyan Effect--what do all these terms mean? How does the work of Banyan as a community development organization interact and influence residential stability, making the community a better place, social interaction and trusting neighbors? These are some of the things that we study at Banyan because these actions, relationships, and indicators matter in our community. The great news is that the “Banyan Effect” is strong, very strong. Stay tuned as we share more in the coming months…..
Acceptance Season
8th graders making High School plansArticle Image 
At Banyan this is the “acceptance season.” High School seniors are waiting on their college acceptance letters and our 8th graders are just now hearing about their high school acceptances. A lot of planning goes into the education of Banyan kids from elementary all the way to college. Many of our 8th graders have been accepted and are planning to attend DeLaSalle High School.
Banyan 8th graders will apply for the Banyan Higher Ground Scholarship to help cover the tuition costs. They each write two essays that are reviewed by the Higher Ground Committee. The committee will then look for sponsors to support the scholarships (a $6,000 commitment for 4 years). If you are interested in providing a scholarship, please contact Sue Riesgraf.
This scholarship program has invested over $1M in high school youth and has graduated 25 kids with 27 currently in the program. Our high school youth are leaders in amazing ways because of this great investment by so many people!
Roller Skating
Banyan Families roll into another Gathering
Article Image Banyan Gatherings happen four times a year. They provide the opportunity for families and neighbors to come together and experience new things and build traditions. Here are a few highlights from Bethany, Banyan's Elementary Educator and Program Manager: 
Esmeralda (2nd grader) was super brave, flopping all over the place on the rink, but kept trying and trying, choosing to even let go of my hand at times. This was her first time skating.  Out of the blue, after falling down multiple times, she said, “Rollerskating is so fun!!”
Kiaree (1st grader) was super brave as well—she was teaching other kids, encouraging them, etc. as she skated and fell down, got up and laughed a lot.  As I was commenting to her mom afterwards, her mom said, “Yeah!  This was completely opposite of last year!  She was scared and didn’t want to do it!  She’s improved a lot!”
Emily (5th grader) ASKED TO HOLD MY HAND!!!  We skated around a couple times, me trying to get over my awe of a 5th grader being willing to skate hand in hand with a staff member! But as we skated we chatted—and she said, “I don’t get to do things like this very much. This is why I come to Banyan! This is so fun!
Banyan Parents Explore College
Along with their youth!
Article Image College acceptance letters are coming in and Banyan seniors have some hard choices to make. Our staff work with parents and students alike to help them decide which college they will attend. Most Banyan parents have not gone to college themselves, so we’ve created several different ways for parents to learn more about college.
Banyan parents meet with our staff one-on-one, some attend classes to walk them through the processes and terminology associated with college, and most even join us on college tours. The result of all this work is parents who are incredibly supportive of their youth’s education! The success of our youth is an inspiration to families. Now Banyan has over a dozen parents who are planning on going back to school! 
College-based Enrichment Programs
Now Available for Banyan youth!
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This summer, our high school students have an incredible opportunity. Through our partnership with the MN Office of Higher Education, we will be sending several of our 2nd and 3rd year high school students to learn, explore and live on college campuses across the state. Minnesota has some of the best college-based summer enrichment programs in the country, with opportunities to explore law, engineering, business, science, politics, language, and much more. Our youth are researching their options and writing their applications right now, hoping to explore what may someday become their career.
Who Are We??
Article Image I came to Banyan in 2008 when I was one year old and my partner came to Banyan in 2010 when he was three years old, we are now both 8. We are close friends at Banyan, we have already been to Camp Amnicon, Silver Birch Ranch, Cold Water Camp, Afton Apple Orchard, Day Away Retreat, Roller Gardens, Microsoft (that was a cool trip), grocery shopping trips (I hope nothing spills!), and to St. Bart's Parish to get LOTS of backpacks! We both have tattoos! If you haven’t guessed yet, my name is Bell and my partner is Bud. We are the Banyan Vans! Bud got his name from the book, “Watsons’ go to Birmingham” his name is Bud, not buddy. And I got my name, Bell from Bell Mobile, the shop I was purchased from by Banyan. We are great friends and look forward to more years of service as we bring kids home from programs every day and go on great trips year round, together.

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Banyan Community
2529 13th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55404