Banyan Buzz
January 2020
It’s a New Year, and yet living in poverty brings nothing new. Life can be long, hard and filled with sameness. Banyan Community comes alongside families and youth to grow a community of belonging and connection bringing newness and support that nurtures hope and celebration. This edition of Banyan Buzz shares our stories of belonging and community building- an important approach to the New Year. Thanks for reading and supporting our work.  
Joani Essenburg, Co-Founder & Executive Director
Upcoming Events
Mark your calendar
Happy Valentines Day!
Friday, February 14
Banyan Leadership Breakfast
Friday, April 24
7:30 - 9:00 am
Join us for a conversation about leadership, connections, and urban America. Register Now!
Winter Recess
Banyan started the year in high gear as school break continued until January 6. Here are just a few highlights from our time together before school started! 
Grand Slam!
Banyan Scholars (our college youth) prove you're never too old to join in the fun at Grand Slam!
Snowman Toss!
Games of skill and chance brought fun and excitement into the mix.
Fishing  for
Candy Canes
It's harder than you might think, but the rewards are so worth it!
Making Pancakes
A real treat-especially when topped with fruit and other goodies!
And of course...
No time off would be complete without games and excercise in the Banyan Gym!
Welcome to the Team
Keri Clifton
Keri joins Banyan in our new Development Officer role. She brings a passion and excitement for supporting diverse communities to thrive through programming, engagement, and development. She has a breadth of experience including Mixed Blood Theatre, NAMI MN, and The Emily Program/Foundation.
Keri’s work at Banyan focuses on sharing the Banyan story with donors and building strategic relationships. Keri holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Leadership from Augsburg University.
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:
Tom Hubler, Chair
Jeffrey Wertz, Vice Chair
Michael O'Keefe, Secretary
Susan Haffield, Treasurer
Iris Cornelius
Mike Cronin
Dan Farley
Stanley Jackson
Susan Mack
Dan Neitz
Judy Pennington
Heidi Thorson
Mike Wilczynski
Carol Wolfe
Happy New Year!
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We want to start the year off right by letting you know how grateful we are to have you by our side, and we look forward to sharing the adventures ahead! Here's to an exceptional 2020!
Tales from The Timberwolves
Noah Vonleh and Crunch breathe life into an old classic 
The story of The Three Little Pigs has been around since 1886, but this was the first we'd heard that the wolf may have been framed! The classic tale was read by Noah Vonleh of the Minnesota Timberwolves and reenacted by Crunch, the Wolves mascot, to the delight of dozens of Banyan youth. After the story, the kids visited the FastBreak Foundation's Book Mobile to choose a book of their own!
Reminiscences and Imaginings
Middle school youth reflect and plan for 2020
The New Year is a time of reflection and goal setting, including our Banyan youth in grades 6 - 8. Meeting new people, getting good grades, training a new dog...are some of the achievements Banyan youth celebrated from 2019. 
What lies in store for the year ahead? Plans include snow tubing, learning to play an instrument, and the transition from middle school to high school (for the 8th graders). 2020 brings great excitement, with just a little trepidation!
Ladies Winter Tea
A time to relax, connect, and be celebrated
Article ImageBanyan moms came together for a special evening–just for women–
that included tea service, cookies, and conversation. The Tea was a great opportunity to be treated and share common interests and experiences.
"There was no agenda," says Maricruz Arocho, Family Advocate and longtime member of Banyan Community. "It was a chance to come together and enjoy a special evening, without the children or the men. It was an event just for ladies!" 
2020 Census 
Neighborhood leaders learn about the count
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The Lighthouse Network block club leaders come together once a month to explore and share ways to build a safer and more connected community. 
Last month, Alberder Gillespie, 2020 Census Operations & Engagement Manager for the City of Minneapolis, addressed the importance of getting an accurate census count. Undercounting will result in a loss of critical funds for the city infrastructure (schools, hospitals, roads, representatives, etc.). 
Banyan has been established as a Census Count Committee to begin leveraging our trust based relationships to increase participation. We are doing our best to be a bridge between the US census and our neighbors as we are grapple with how to bring resources and yet maintain trust. More to come!
Cardz for Kidz
Banyan families join global effort to care for kids in need
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More than 65 community members of all ages came to Banyan to participate in a Cardz for Kidz evening. Parents and youth used their artistic talents and plenty of heart to create warm wishes of encouragement to children in need. Cardz for Kidz is a global effort to reach out to kids who are hospitalized or coping with traumatic events. The network is active in more than 40 countries worldwide which allowed parents and youth to write messages in their native language. Those notes will be delivered to Spanish, English, and Somali speaking youth around the world! 
"There were a lot of hugs at the end of the evening," says Gale Cannon, Community Educator and Program Manager. "We always have a good turnout at our community service events, but this one was really special. It meant a lot to parents, especially those who have had serious illness in their family, to have their kids engaged."
A Visual of Banyan Happenings
The centerfold of the Annual Report held a treasure
We created a new graphic to visually demonstrate our work with youth, families, and community. It is in the shape of a circle to represent the ongoing, year round work of Banyan. In the center of the circle are the youngest youth, the 3-5 year old preschoolers. The rings show the aging of the youth (all the way through college!) and are filled with examples of activities and programs. The blue ring depicts our work with families, it surrounds and supports the work with youth. All these elements of our work are rooted in our neighborhood, and our work creating community (in green).
We hope you find this graphic insightful as you piece together the many Banyan programs that bring about transformation. Click here to see the image in full screen!
Board Member Transitions
Hellos, Goodbyes, and Thank You's
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Banyan is blessed with a hard-working and dedicated Board of Directors. It is bittersweet this time of year when a few members roll off to make room for new members.
We celebrated and said goodbye to two outstanding board members at our last meeting. Shout out to Lisa Mauer and Justin Hanratty - thank you for your service to Banyan! 
We also welcomed a new board chair, Tom Hubler; and vice chair, Jeff Wertz. We look forward to your leadership. A huge thank you was also given to outgoing board chair, Michael Wilzcynski; and vice chair, Carol Frey. They both remain active members of the board. 
Banyan is pleased to welcome Iris Cornelius, Dan Neitz, and Susan Mack to the Board of Directors as the Class of 2025. 
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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Address postal inquiries to:
Banyan Community
2529 13th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55404