Banyan Buzz
May 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
Hey Banyan! 
Tuesday, June 18 
A discussion of the book "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" by Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority in the psychology of racism.
Sign Up Here (free to attend)
Annual Banyan Dinner
Sunday, October 27
Celebrate the partnership of our supporters and community members as we work to close the opportunity gap. Partner with us to create transformation in the lives of youth and families. 
Interested in sponsoring the event? Contact us for details.
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When life 
gives you lemons... Banyan, we make volcanos! Did you know that mixing lemons (citric acid) with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) gets you a fun and fizzy mess? (The blue food coloring is just for fun!)
Banyan youth do a lot of experimenting - in the classroom, in the gym, on the playground, just about everywhere. We are grateful for the space to do the 'messy' learning and the amazing educators who foster curiosity and make science fun! 
College Graduates
from the Phillips neighborhood!
May is an exciting month for many Banyan youth who are celebrating graduation from preschool, elementary, middle, and high school. But none are quite as excited as our college graduates.
Let's give a special shout out to the Banyan Scholars who have completed their college journey!
Congratulations to:
Bethel University
BA Psychology
Bethel University
BS Economics & Finance
University of St. Thomas 
BA Creative Multimedia
Old Dominion University
BS Information Technology
Dunwoody College
AAS Automotive Technician
Augsburg University
BS Finance 
UST middle school
On Campus Early
University of St. Thomas
Our middle school youth had a memorable visit to the University of St. Thomas campus. University student leaders gave Banyan youth a very personal and intentional look at college. The tour started with some great UST swag and was followed up with games and panel discussions on college, scholarships, and careers. Small groups of youth were then toured around campus landmarks including the arch, dining halls, and sports facilities.
What is Ours?
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This image displays a manifestation of our social and emotional work with youth. Our middle school youth took time to reflect on the things in their lives they can control and influence.
After tracing their hands, each youth identified and wrote one thing on each finger that they have responsibility over. The exercise helped the youth realize that in a world of chaos, their voice and actions matter. The responsibility is literally in their hands!
A few examples of what was written on the fingers:
  • My grades
  • My future
  • My thoughts
  • My actions
  • My attitude
  • My hamster
  • Myself!
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Mother's Day Bingo
On the Tuesday after
Mother's Day, the mothers of Banyan Community gathered for Bingo. It was a welcome chance to laugh, play, and enjoy fellowship - with just the ladies!
Join the Banyan Team!
We are looking for a few new team members! Please share the opportunity to lead our summer Physical Education program working with youth in kindergarten through 8th grade. Click here to learn more!
We are also looking for an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow. This is an amazing opportunity to join an organization that is impacting the lives of youth and families. You can also gain youth development skills and build your resume. Click here to learn more!
WE ARE 2065 
The Changing Face of America
Banyan hosted the opening reception for WE ARE 2065, an art exhibit that takes a closer look at the changing face of America by Joanna Hallstrom.
The exhibit featured sixteen portraits, three of which were Banyan youth, and reflects what the USA will look like in 2065, when 54% percent of the country will be people of color.
As the "gateway community" for many new Americans, the Phillips neighborhood -particularly Banyan - was a natural home for the premier feature of the exhibit. 
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!
Introducing the Class of 2019!
National College Signing Day
As the class of 2019 gathered at Banyan to announce the colleges of their choice, their pride and joy was contagious. We are immensely proud of our graduates who were all accepted into at least three colleges and in the position to choose the one that best fits their needs and goals. Here are their final decisions. 
From left to right:
Sammy, Concordia College, Moorhead
Christian, Dakota County Technical College, Rosemount
Sofia, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Iyana, Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Jennifer, University of Minnesota, Rochester
Triston, Drake University, Des Moines, IA
Erik, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
It has been an honor to be on this journey with the youth and families. #Proud #Grateful
The Future Looks Bright!  
Highlights from the Banyan Leadership Breakfast
Banyan partnered with the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal to host a panel of 40 Under 40 honorees for this year's leadership breakfast. The compelling discussion touched on challenges faced by first generation leaders, stories of success, and words of wisdom. 
Here are a few of our favorite memories. Dr. Jokho Farah of People's Center Clinics and Services reminded us of the value of a variety of mentors; Anthony Lando of Bank of America is confident the future looks bright for the next generation of leaders; and Taqee Khaled of the Nerdery encouraged all in attendance to mentor - to take someone under your wing.
We also were thrilled with all the Banyan Scholars who attended. Rey, Marissa, and Diamond (shown above) reminisced about Banyan's presence in their lives and a few of their favorite memories - summer camp, apple picking, homework in the study lounge. They also discussed the challenge to professionalize their passions.
Special thank you to Kathy Robideau and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal for your partnership. 

We are proud of our 1st generation leaders - and we agree, the future is bright!
Banyan Family Celebration
Face-painting, balloons, bouncy houses, and games for all
Article ImageOn a chilly May afternoon, nearly 250 youth and parents enjoyed time together at Banyan's annual family celebration (one of our quarterly gatherings designed to build connections and create community). The gym, dining room, hallways, and classrooms were filled with activities and children raced while parents strolled, from one activity to the next.
Our community was strengthened as neighbors stepped onto the cake walk and visited with one another while their children fished for prizes and tried their hand at the bow and arrow and a variety of skills-based games. There was a photo booth that captured some of the silly moments.
#friendship #family #community
Join us as we discuss a classic... the 'Banyan Book Club' on June 18th
book club
The Hey Banyan! book club is an opportunity to read (or re-read) and discuss thought-provoking books that explore topics of race, class, and culture. 
Our first book in the series is Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? It is a classic, bestselling book by Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism. Tatum argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides. 
Discussion led by: Shamayne Braman, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at HealthPartners.
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? can be purchased at Barnes and Noble, Target, Amazon, or your favorite neighborhood book store. It is also available at Hennepin County and St. Paul Public Libraries. 
Let us know if you can join us!
I am forever grateful – God bless you all!
A parent's heartwarming message to Banyan Community
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We thought we'd share this note from a proud mother whose daughter is launching her career. It made our day, hope it does yours!
"I just wanted to reach out and thank you for everything the Banyan has done to impact Akeyvianna’s education and life. I am one proud mom as Akeyvianna graduates from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA on May 11th, 2019. She will receive her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, with a major in Information Systems & Technology, and a Business Analytics minor. 
"Keyvee has accepted a job offer from Newport News Shipbuilding as a Systems Application Analyst.
"I am forever grateful and may God Bless you all! I am overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for without Banyan much of Keyvee’s opportunity would not have been possible." 
Elementary youth are challenged with a new riddle each afternoon as a part of the daily check-in to welcome and greet youth and 'warm up' the brain. 
Try your hand at some of this year's favorites!
Your mother and your father have a child. It is not your brother and it is not your sister. Who could it be?
Answer: You!
If a dozen eggs cost 12 cents, how much do 100 eggs cost?
Answer: 1 dollar/100 cents (These math/logic problems are good practice for standardized tests and decoding the language of a math problem in order to perform the actual operations.)
You take off the outside to cook the inside. Then you eat the outside and throw away the inside. What am I?
Answer: Corn on the cob.
A man is sitting in his cabin Colorado. Three hours later, he gets out of his cabin in Texas. How is this possible?
Answer: He was on an airplane! (This riddle is an example of how we work on identifying synonyms. We also work on word play/double meanings through our riddle time, as well as using context for identifying the meaning of an unfamiliar word.)
campA Banyan Summer 
A balance of play, learning, and experiences
Summertime in our urban neighborhood can be particularly challenging for youth and families, with long hours to fill while working parents juggle the many tasks of keeping a household afloat. The lack of academic opportunity increases the achievement gap, and "summer slide" is frequently a problem.
Not so for Banyan youth! We take advantage of summer in Minnesota from A-Z, from the Arboretum to the Zoo. Our schedule also includes plenty of water fun at local swimming pools and beaches. Then there are the guests who come to us sharing knowledge about reptiles, science, and art, to name a few. 
For our 3rd - 8th graders, the highlight of summer is camp. Banyan elementary kids have a traditional residential camp experience riding horses, ziplining, playing group games, and trying new foods! Our middle school youth head to the Namekagon River for a canoeing adventure. The opportunity to get away from the city and go to camp is a first for many and a priceless experience. 
When you meet a Banyan kid, be sure to ask about camp. You are guaranteed some great stories of trial, perseverance, laughter, and mosquitos!
As you make your summer plans, please keep Banyan youth in mind. Your support ensures another amazing set of experiences. 
Building Hope, Trust, and Connectedness
Community Council
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Members of the Banyan Community Council meet monthly to help plan and summarize quarterly gatherings, share feedback they have gathered from community members, give insight to the work of Banyan, and develop as community leaders. 
The Community Council recently developed a mission statement which reads, "As parent leaders of Banyan, we are committed to building a community of hope, trust and connectedness for all Banyan families. We will encourage other parents to invest in their children's education and to reach out to each other. Banyan's mission for youth, families, and community has our support and gratitude."
Grateful for the parent leadership in our community!

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Address postal inquiries to:
Banyan Community
2529 13th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55404