Banyan Buzz
September, 2017
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
Upcoming Events
Mark your calendar
Annual Banyan Dinner
Sunday, October 29
5:00 - 8:00 pm
Banyan Community Center
2529 13th Ave S
Apples and Pumpkins
Saturday, October 7
Banyan families will take over Afton Apple Orchard for a family gathering to create memories, connect with neighbors, build community.....and pick apples and pumpkins!
Clean Sweep
October 14
The Phillips community comes together to clean up the neighborhood. Banyan youth and families are key partners in this work.
Art Workshop
October 19 - 20
Banyan Middle School youth along with artist Anne Brink will work together to create a banner and canvases themed 'Race to Win'. 
We Are Growing!
Welcome New Staff
As we continue to bring in more youth and families, our team expands to meet the need. Please join us in welcoming Andrew, Josselyne, and Sara.
Andrew Lamkin
Program Director
Article ImageAndrew brings experience to Banyan in developing teams that successfully collaborate with at risk youth and families by creating meaningful programs that align with a community mission. He works closely with community members and staff to bring about the very best youth, family, and community programs. Andrew holds a Master’s Degree in Public and Nonprofit Administration from Metropolitan State University with an emphasis on Nonprofit Management.
Josselyne Bunay
AmeriCorps Promise Fellow
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Josselyne returns to Banyan as a full time volunteer through AmeriCorps in a one-year position that works closely with our middle school youth and our ninth and tenth graders. Josselyne ensures that youth are attending school and engaging in academics, as well as watching over their social emotional growth.
She is a bilingual Spanish/English Banyan youth who grew up in our programs and brings an inside perspective. Josselyne is passionate about youth success and is planning to continue her post-secondary education this school year at Normandale Community College.
Sara Johnson
Development Associate
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Sara joins us as our Development Associate managing the donor database, assisting with events, and providing grant support.
She brings experience to Banyan in data analysis and management that will help us continue to grow and be responsive to donors.
Sara holds an ScD in Epidemiology & Nutrition from the Harvard School of Public Health. Her gifts and talents are a real asset to Banyan.
Building Brand
Yard Signs Displayed in the Neighborhood
Article Image'We Are Banyan' is the tag line on lawn signs displayed around the neighborhood. Banyan families are proudly showing their pride and building our brand in the neighborhood.
Seeing all the yard signs in the 100 block area of East and Midtown Phillips that Banyan serves gives a real sense of community.
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:
Brian Provost, Chair
Mike Wilczynski, Vice Chair
Trevor Knight, Secretary
Dan Farley, Treasurer
Susan Haffield
Justin Hanratty
Barry Lieske
Lisa Mauer
David Tynes
Carol Wolfe
Support Banyan Online
Banyan now accepts donations online! This is a convenient and secure way to support the work of Banyan. Give it a try!
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Annual Banyan Dinner
An Amazing Race to Close the Opportunity Gap
Article ImageJoin us for a behind the scenes look at the transformational work of Banyan. You will see firsthand how a neighborhood faced with many challenges (52% of children living in poverty, 14% unemployment rate, and just over half of high school students graduating from high school) is finding a new norm: one where 100% of youth graduate from high school, families are invested in a hopeful vision of the future, and community members believe they can make the neighborhood a better place.
Celebrate the partnership of our supporters and community members as we close the opportunity gap! Register Now!
Opportunity Gap
Tim Essenburg, Banyan Scholar in Residence
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“Closing the Achievement Gap” is part and parcel of the written and verbal aspirations of the concerned citizens of the Twin Cities’ upper-middle and upper socioeconomic classes. And this is good, so far as it goes.
The K – college educational gap between whites (considered to set the benchmark) and black, Hispanic, and Native American Indians is stark. The gap is less stark for Americans of Asian descent (that’s another story…). This gap does not bode well for people of color as they pursue economic self-determination. Furthermore, this persistent gap compromises the ability of the Twin Cities to continue with its thriving social, economic, cultural, and political stability.
Importantly, the Achievement Gap is but a symptom of a larger “problem,” which I call the Opportunity Gap. What is important in our society is having access to the social processes that allow individuals and families to accrue high quality assets in five important categories: financial, physical, human, political, and social. The Opportunity Gap is a gap in access to those assets. It exists because we stratify ourselves racially and economically, by choice and by law, and individuals with power fail to be sufficiently entrepreneurial with that power.
What is missing in the objective that “everyone has access to housing, education, and employment” is the reality that access states nothing Read More
Banyan is a School's Best Friend
After School and Family Support
Banyan provides the wraparound services (such as after school programs) to ensure youth are successful in school. We work with families to find a school that fits their needs and help parents navigate and advocate for their kids. We build a pathway to education as a means of transformation. High school and college graduations are now happening in our neighborhood - for Banyan kids! 
Fall is a new beginning, and we are so proud of all Banyan kids heading back to school!
Back to School - Elementary
Banyan Kids Are Prepared!
Article ImageBanyan youth are ready to head to school in the fall with a backpack full of supplies (a partnership with St. Bartholomew Catholic Church) and a rich summer of experiences and new learnings to build on.
Summer slide is not affecting the 70+ Banyan elementary youth! They step in to classrooms curious, engaged abd excited to start the new school year. Over the summer, our youth went on on field trips to see and learn new things, hosted musicians and scientists, and went to summer camp!
At Banyan after school, we focus on educational enrichment, building developmental assets, homework help, gym tim,e and a hearty healthy snack.
"I am so excited for school to start! My favorite class is Art." - 2nd grade youth
Back to School - Middle School
A New Transition
Article ImageMiddle School is a time of transition, moving from elementary and beginning the preparations for high school and beyond.
At Banyan, most of our 35 youth have been with us since kindergarten (we have a 96% retention rate), making the transition to our middle school program smooth. We support classroom learning and build on it with programming focused on life skills, education and career pathways, service learning, and teamwork with adventure education.  
We help youth identify their passions and skills, build leadership skills, and navigate these years with gender specific programs.
"Wow, there's a lot of homework in middle school! Lucky I can finish it at Banyan!" - 6th grade youth
Back to School - High School
Cheering on the Team
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This year Banyan has 24 youth attending DeLaSalle High School through our Higher Ground Scholarship Program and our ASPIRE! tutoring program.
Banyan youth are committed to their academics and attend tutoring twice a week at Banyan with a battery of volunteer tutors to provide assistance. Many are here after school studying in our high school lounge or working in our after school programs.
Banyan youth are also involved in the DeLaSalle community through clubs, sports, dance, and ministry.
"I'm working on my time management skills, working at Banyan, cheer team, and homework!" - 10th grade youth
Back to School - College
Moving and Settling In
Article ImageWe have five new Scholars in our college program - each of them attending a four year college and living on campus!
In total, our College and Career Counselor is working with 25 college students as they navigate college and work to become the first in their families to earn a college degree!
"I think I am going to enjoy my classes, and living on campus! College is pretty busy so far, and I'm meeting lots of new people!" - college freshman
National Night Out
Over 31 blocks represented!
Article ImageNational Night Out is the largest gathering of neighbors in Phillips. This year was no exception! Lighthouse Network (Banyan's block club program) currently has 34 registered clubs and hosted 18 parties (representing 31 block clubs) on August 1st.
There was food, games, dancing, music, and community building. Neighbors got to know neighbors by sharing a meal and stories, reflecting on the neighborhood and dreaming about the future.
Innovative Field Goals for Charity
Banyan is the Chosen Partner!
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During the NFL regular season, each time the Minnesota Vikings successfully kick a field goal, Innovative Office Solutions will donate $250 (up to $5,000) to Banyan Community! Innovative has been running the Field Goals for Charity program for 8 years and has donated over $45,000 to local charities!
We are proud to be selected as the partner this season. Join us as we cheer on the Minnesota Vikings and place kicker Kai Forbath to support Banyan through the Field Goals for Charity program.

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