Banyan Buzz
September, 2018
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
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Upcoming Events
Mark your calendar
Annual Phillips Clean Sweep
Saturday, October 13
Neighborhood clean up day!
Annual Banyan Dinner
Sunday, November 11
5pm at Banyan
Thursday, November 22
Enjoy the blessings of family and friends!
Community, Leadership, Education, and Connection
Adult Programs Piloted
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Over the years, adults at Banyan have been making lists of classes and progams they want to experience at Banyan. In 2018, we launched our Community, Leadership, Education, and Connection (CLEC) programming with over 20 oppportunities so far. Offerings have included Zumba, volleyball, crochet class, connection groups, Bingo, a prayer group, cooking classes, and more!
The opportunities fall into 3 categories: 1. Connect groups where parents connect, get to know each other, and enjoy a shared activity; 2. Classes where parents learn together about a common interest; and 3. Training groups where parents participate in curriculum based learning.
Since January, over 202 parents have taken part in the CLEC offerings. Through CLEC, Banyan is further strengthening families and creating community. 
Early Childhood Education 
Comes to Banyan!
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Banyan is proud to partner with St. David's Center for Child & Family Development to offer preschool! The launch of an early childhood education program in the Phillips neighborhood reflects the unique and responsive partnership between our organizations, leveraging over 75 years of expertise and exceptional results with children and families.
The new program opened this month with a capacity for 18, 4- to 5-year-olds and a team of five early childhood staff members. 
“We know the importance of the early years and the power of high-quality early learning
environments for all children, but particularly those facing opportunity gaps,” said Julie Sjordal, CEO, St. David’s Center. “This collaboration takes a critical step toward closing that gap in a
community that is already benefitting from Banyan’s presence.”
“This partnership brings experts in early childhood development and urban community development together,” said Joani Essenburg, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Banyan
Community. “The model leverages and extends Banyan’s success in using a community platform to improve educational outcomes for the youngest members of our community, intervening as early as possible to lay the groundwork for long-term educational success. St.
David’s Center’s expertise in early childhood mental health and early intervention adds
significant depth to support early childhood development.”
Read the full press release here.
Workplace Visits
Exploring Careers
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One element of our middle school curriculum is educational mapping. We plan for the future and research careers - what people 'do' in each field, the earning potential, lifestyle expectations, and the education required.
Visiting workplaces is one way to see careers in action. This summer middle school youth toured several places to learn about engineering, physical therapy, finance, accounting, HR, and software development.
Special thanks to Tennant Company, Global Traffic Technologies, and Physical Therapy Orthopaedic Specialists, Inc. for showing us what's possible! 
Service at Banyan
Middle School Gives Back
Article ImageEvery summer the middle school youth complete a service project to give back to the community.  
In response to the challenges in our world and neighborhood, Banyan youth realized they have a voice and wanted to share their thoughts. The group made a video of personal stories and hopes for the future. 
They have been working hard to promote the video (hoping it goes viral!) and positively impact decision-making by our leaders.
Watch the video here. Enjoy!
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
Trevor Knight, Secretary
Dan Farley, Treasurer
Susan Haffield
Justin Hanratty
Lisa Mauer
Michael O'Keefe
Judy Pennington
Brian Provost
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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Save the Date: Sunday, November 11
Come Celebrate 20 years of Transformation
Article ImageIf you've been to the dinner in the past, come again - we work hard to keep it fresh and exciting.
If you've never been - why not? Our brand of holistic community development has a long history of success and proven outcomes. Come get a closer look at the transformation happening in the Phillips neighborhood.
$75 per person
$600 for a table of 8
Highlights from Summer Camp
Another Opportunity for Growth
Article ImageMemories from summer camp are some of the best for Banyan kids. Kids are eligible for camp the summer after 3rd grade. For the 3rd-5th graders it is a traditional summer camp experience that includes horseback riding, ziplines, tubing behind a boat, campfires, group games, sleeping in a cabin, crafts, etc.
Banyan middle school and college youth have a slightly different camp experience - they spend a week canoeing! The experience creates opportunities for youth to lead and support one another in an unpredictable wilderness setting, facilitates the formation of a group identity during the trip, and gives youth the opportunity to challenge themselves. Here are a few thoughts from the middle schoolers after camp:
  • “MORAL SUPPORT!!!! We have to choose to encourage one another. Otherwise we will all be miserable.” Angelica
  • “I loved getting to know people in a way that I never would of at Banyan.”  Ja’Mirrah 
  • “My highlight was all the jokes we created with one another on the trip.”  Brian 
  • “I didn’t want to steer at first. The canoe is big and it seemed scary. But after a short period, I realized that it wasn’t too scary to steer and I actually enjoyed the leadership opportunity.”  Mayra
Overall, youth pushed past their comfort zone, were challenged in unexpected ways, and accomplished much more than they ever anticipated! #Goals achieved!
GEN Children's Charity Open 
Event Breaks Records!
The 2018 GEN Children's Charity Open broke previous records of support raised at the bi-annual event....this year for Banyan! Thank you to the sponsors, donors, and golfers who made the event a success.
Together we raised over $100,000 to celebrate Banyan's first 20 years and fuel future growth! In addition, we made lots of new friends and shared the Banyan story.
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Middle School Youth Build Boomboxes
Out of an Ice Cream Pail?
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This summer, each Banyan middle school youth turned a gallon ice cream bucket into a personal boom box! Banyan youth and staff ate a lot of ice cream in preparation for the Tronix Team to spend a week at Banyan.
The Tronix Team’s mission is to provide students with exciting, relevant hands-on projects. All of the projects meet Next Generation Science Standards and Minnesota State Academic Science Standards.  
Banyan strives to help eliminate the achievement gap in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) by providing this type of hands-on electronic project.
Through a curiosity sparked by Tronix, many Banyan youth have been inspired to pursue an engineering-related career. Special thanks to the Tronix Team for their support and guidance.
Day Away Retreat
Families Enjoy a Day at the Lake
Article ImageEvery summer busses and vans are loaded with Banyan youth, families, and staff who travel to Lake Rebecca (in the Three Rivers Park District) for a day away. Our gathering celebrates summer and community at the lake. What could be more Minnesotan?
The Day Away Retreat allows families to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, spend time with neighbors, build relationships with one another, and participate in new positive experiences. 
Memories were made playing camp games, sharing a BBQ meal, swimming, canoeing, playing volleyball and badminton, and paddleboating. A first for many!
Back to School
Banyan Equips Kids for the Classroom
Article ImageThe start of a new school year is full of excitement and promise - a fresh start with new goals and dreams. Banyan youth are ready for success! They are ready to be leaders in the classroom after a summer of enrichment, and they have all the school supplies on the list.
We are grateful for the partnership with St. Bartholomew Catholic Faith Community that coordinates filling backpacks for Banyan youth. 
This year we handed out over 140 backpacks overflowing with supplies. Many of our youth also received uniforms. School's Cool!
Water Parks, Beaches, and Pools - Oh My!
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Data suggests that swimming opportunities are much less available and less utilized by minority populations, especially in inner-city urban areas.
Cool Off Days (our summer program) includes a day each week in the water. We visit all kinds of swimming opportunities - lakes, pools, and water parks. Through exercise, outdoor time, friendship-building, and expanded experiences, water activities are another way that Banyan creates transformation. 
This summer, the favorite was the water park with the two-story water slide and multiple diving boards! Banyan youth love to try new things!
Eating Smart, Being Active
University of Minnesota Extension
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A 6 week parent/child cooking class was recently held at Banyan. The weekly interactive classes focused on family meals and movement. Families learned how to save dollars at the grocery store and prepare healthy, tasty meals that will become family favorites. Movement and exercise were also included as a part of developing a healthy lifestyle.
Each lesson started with parents and kids preparing a meal to share. Then parents and kids met separately. During that time discussions about the meal's nutritional value, making good food choices, incorporating exercise, shopping and meal planning occurred. 
Spending time together in the kitchen is quality time that isn't often available to families. This course helped kids AND parents see the value of time spent together making a meal, and how it is so much more than making a meal.
We've heard stories of an increased confidence in youth to cook and experiment in the kitchen, an increased willingness to try new foods (especially vegetables!), and stronger connections formed between parents and teenagers.
National Night Out
Celebrated on 20 blocks in Phillips
Article ImageNational Night Out is an annual nationwide event that encourages residents to get out in the community, holding block parties and getting to know their neighbors as a way to encourage crime prevention. It's a great way to promote community-police partnerships and enjoy a Minnesota summer evening surrounded by friends and family.
Banyan does National Night Out in grand fashion! This year our 34 Lighthouse Network blocks hosted 20 parties that included food, games, and hospitality. Minneapolis Police and/or Fire joined many of the parties, furthering the valuable relationship they have with our community.
"We really appreciate Banyan's help in providing so much for the event. It was very generous and helps to make it happen. Thanks." Tamara, Lighthouse Network Block Club Leader
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Address postal inquiries to:
Banyan Community
2529 13th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55404