Banyan Buzz
March, 2019
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 a way to bring you into the center of our conversations to celebrate with us. Enjoy!
Joani Essenburg, Co-Founder & Executive Director
Upcoming Events
Mark your calendar
Spring Break @ Banyan
April 1 - 5
Kids will be enjoying special activities as we bring Spring Break to Banyan for a fun-filled week of continuous learning.
Banyan Leadership Breakfast
Friday, April 12th
7:30 - 9:00 am
Come to Banyan for a lively discussion on leadership, connections, and urban America.
MSPBJ logo
Interested in sponsoring the event? Contact us for details.
College Decision Day
Wednesday, May 1st
Stay tuned for news on which colleges Banyan youth choose for their next steps on the bridge of success! 
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Parents in the Classroom
Youth Share Experiences
Elementary youth recently had the unique opportunity to show their parents what they do every day at Banyan. After regular programs ended, parents and youth returned to Banyan for the first Bring Your Parent to Banyan night.
Scholar Maps (a tool used in our elementary programs to facilitate daily activities while allowing choice of order) served as the tool for youth to guide their parents through a variety of enrichment activities. Families experienced reading nooks, homework time, gym time, and snack time.
Parents saw firsthand the learning that takes place at Banyan on a daily basis, mostly under the guise of FUN!
Everyone worked up an appetite after the very competitive kids-versus-parents dodgeball game!
Pi Day Celebration
Like Banyan, a Constant
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Pi Day was celebrated on March 14th (3/14) at Banyan, and around the world.
Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. 
Pi Day is an annual opportunity for math enthusiasts to practice reciting the infinite digits of Pi, talk to their friends about math, and to eat pi(e).
Act Six Twin Cities
Congratulations Samantha!
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Banyan senior, Samantha was selected as an emerging leader in her community and received a full, four-year scholarship to Concordia College in Moorhead. The very competitive Act Six program recognizes both the scholars’ contribution to their community and potential to change their neighborhood.
We are so proud of her!
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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:
Mike Wilczynski, Chair
Carol Wolfe, Vice Chair
Michael O'Keefe, Secretary
Susan Haffield, Treasurer
Mike Cronin
Dan Farley
Justin Hanratty
Tom Hubler
Stanley Jackson
Lisa Mauer
Judy Pennington
Heidi Thorson
Jeffrey Wertz
Support Banyan Online
Banyan accepts donations online! This is a convenient and secure way to support the work of Banyan. Give it a try!
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Banyan Leadership Breakfast
Building Bridges for 1st Generation Leaders
Join us and our partner, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, as we host our annual breakfast focused on building bridges on Friday, April 12th. 
We welcome a panel of the business journal's 40 Under 40 honorees to share their insight - including Taqee Khaled, Director of Strategy at The Nerdery, and Anthony Lando, Senior Vice President, Private Client Division at U.S. Trust.
Kathy Robideau, Market President & Publisher of Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, will moderate the discussions. Don't miss this opportunity to network with Banyan college youth and fellow business and community leaders who are changing our urban American landscape for the better.
Gearing Up for Spring Break
When schools take a break, Banyan kicks into high gear
Article ImageWho would have thought that a staycation at Banyan could be so much fun?! Actually, Banyan has a strong history of providing fun and educational activities during school breaks - spring and winter breaks, school release days, and summer. This year's spring break is no exception! 
With field trips to Pump it Up, four different colleges, and the MN History Center, Banyan youth will have a full week. The activities will build curiosity, facilitate exploration, and offer continuous learning consistent with the playful nature of spring break and time away from school. Guest speakers from Microsoft and Dunwoody College of Technology will introduce kids to the exciting world of gaming and coding as well as 3D printing! A service project is also planned for high school youth. #BusyBreak
Learning the Basics of 3D Printing
Local expert to visit Banyan
Article ImageJasmine Darden, 3D Printing Instructor at Dunwoody College of Technology, will visit Banyan this April to teach the ins and outs of 3D printing. Jasmine, who has degrees in math, physics, and engineering drafting & design, will show elementary youth how 3D printing works, from concept to completion.
The day will begin with an introduction to design applications and how they're used throughout the industry. Banyan youth will then try their hand at using the CAD software to get a better understanding of how it works. Several 3D printers and printed objects will be available throughout the room so that all can see the construction of the printers and the final product. Youth will finish the day with an introductory understanding of 3D printing and go home with a printed souvenir so they can share what they've learned. 
Rollerskating Gathering
A Great Way Welcome Spring 
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Nearly 250 people attended our annual winter get-together. We bussed and caravaned to Roller Garden skating rink in St. Louis Park where we had the whole place to ourselves. This is one of four annual gathering events that brings youth, families, and staff together to connect and build community. 
Youth look forward to rollerskating all winter long, and this year felt like an especially long wait! It is a chance to brush up on skating skills, spend time with friends, and create lasting memories. “I fell down 23 times!”, exclaimed one youth, suggesting there are many different ways to have fun! 
Building Community at the Rink
Community Council Leads Icebreaker 
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Banyan's Community Council, our adult leadership development program, is always looking for ways to strengthen our community. This year at the rollerskating gathering, the Council created a questionnaire - Branching Out to Strengthen Our Roots - for parents to get to know each other.
Parents were challenged to meet two new people and learn a little bit about each other. At the end of the evening, there was a drawing for everyone who participated in the icebreaker!
“Families were talking to each other, laughing, and excited to turn in their questionnaires,” says Gale Cannon, Program Manager and Community Educator. “It was beautiful to see.”
Summer Plans Are Well Underway
Eliminating Summer Slide for Banyan Kids
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The days are getting longer, mud puddles abound and spring has sprung. Could it be that summer is coming? Summertime in our urban neighborhood is particularly challenging for youth and families. Working parents and neighborhood violence keep our kids inside of homes, and a lack of opportunities increases 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! A camp experience is available for all youth and parents at Banyan!
Staff members are busy planning this summer's activities. As you make your summer plans, keep Banyan youth in mind. Your support ensures another amazing set of experiences. We just can’t wait!! How many days until summer??
Creating Harmony
Sharing the Riches of Our Diverse Cultures 
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Earlier this month, the Community Council piloted a new program, Creating Harmony, designed to help us see our cultural similarities more clearly while celebrating our differences. This commitment is found in our mastery outcome of being reconciled people. 
Maricruz Arocho, a member of the Community Council and Family Advocate at Banyan, was the first to share a special cultural tradition from her home village of Axochiapan in Morelos, Mexico. She spoke of a 20 day festival in honor of the conversion of St. Paul, the patron saint of her village. She shared how neighbors come together to make hot cocoa to share with the larger community.
Hearing about this ritual reminded others in the group of traditional gatherings in their own culture that also celebrate family, community, and food. The whole experience stimulated a great conversation and sense of connection among the group.
Coffee with the Doc
Parenting Conversations 
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Dr. Jason Walker, a clinical psychologist who meets weekly with our middle school Boys Group, also connects with parents over coffee to explore a variety of parenting topics.
The first few coffees were well attended and covered a wide range of topics including youth development and teen behaviors, the difference between mental illness and mental health, when to be concerned about a child’s behavior or difficulty in learning.
It didn't take long for parents to feel comfortable engaging and sharing their parenting experiences with Dr. Walker – one of the benefits of having built social capital over years at Banyan. 

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Banyan Community
2529 13th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55404