Banyan Buzz
March 2020
One of the ways that I explain Banyan to people is to compare it to a community “LinkedIn” account. When families and youth come to Banyan they become connected to so much! The need for connection (in any way that’s possible) is even greater now with the COVID-19 outbreak.
In the best of times, our youth and families are working every day to overcome a variety of opportunity gaps. A pandemic hits, and those gaps get wider. Yet, I am hopeful because of God’s promises and the strength of Banyan Community youth, families, staff, board, volunteers, partners, and donors. 
Joani Essenburg
Co-Founder & Executive Director
Winter Wonderland!
Banyan youth spent President's Day sledding and skating at a local park. Year-round programming, including school release days, means Banyan is here to provide social, emotional, and academic learning, with more than a little fun included!
Upcoming Events
Mark your calendar
Banyan Leadership Breakfast
Friday, April 24
A new format for the Banyan Leadership Breakfast is being developed. We are committed to exploring new ways to build bridges for first generation leaders. Stay tuned for further details! 
College Decision Day
Friday, May 1st
Stay tuned for news on which colleges Banyan youth choose for the next steps on their journey! 
PACER has been delivering a series of workshops for Banyan parents as a part of our Community, Leadership, Education, and Connection program. The workshops provide information on how to address bullying, have a successful parent-teacher conference, and work with your child's individual educational plan. The sessions have been valuable to parents for building skills to advocate on their child's behalf.
Birthday Bash!
What do you do with more than 170 birthdays to celebrate in the course of a year? Have a once-a-year birthday bash that celebrates them all! 
#happybirthday #traditions
Preschool Storytime
Joani shares a book 
Joani, Co-Founder and Executive Director, was recently a guest reader. She shared The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, her grandson's favorite! 
Preschoolers bring so much joy and energy to Banyan everyday.
#grateful #earlylearners
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
Dan Neitz
Judy Pennington
Heidi Thorson
Mike Wilczynski
Carol Wolfe
What a Difference a Few Weeks Make
Sharing hope and perseverance
We were excited to share this newsletter with you last week, before we all altered our lives to help flatten the curve and keep those we love safe from this novel coronavirus.
We are navigating a new delivery of programs at Banyan to support youth and families, but want to share the stories of before with you! We have also included a few stories of how we've adapted and continue to support youth and families - stay tuned for more!
We wish you safety and health!
Staying Engaged During COVID-19 
Elementary educators deliver enrichment packets to youth
In support of youth and families during this time, Banyan educators assembled (using good social distancing!) and delivered custom enrichment packets to all our kindergarten through 8th grade youth.
Packets included math and reading worksheets, "how to" projects, books, art supplies, snacks, and a list of online educational resources.  #stillhere #stillbanyan 
Banyan Leadership Breakfast Update
Building Bridges during a Pandemic
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As a result of the CDC's recommendation to cancel or postpone events of more than 50 people, we are exploring an innovative new format for the Banyan Leadership Breakfast that builds bridges for first generation leaders.
Stay tuned for further details on how you can be a part of this important work.
Banyan Café
Young professionals and Banyan Scholars network
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Banyan builds pathways for youth to develop leadership skills, engage in positive and meaningful relationships with peers and adults, and broaden horizons.
One way we did that was our first ever Banyan Café. An event that brought professionals together with Banyan Scholars (our college youth) to deepen connections and build important networking skills at the same time.
Young professionals from a variety of backgrounds came together to learn more about our Banyan Scholars and their ambitions and to help build networks to support their future.
We look forward to hosting additional opportunities for young professionals to engage with our aspiring Scholars.
Community Building on Skates
Banyan takes over Roller Garden
Each year Banyan hosts four community gatherings that offer a time to connect with other parents and a chance to interact with Banyan educators and staff. Once again this year, Banyan Community rented an entire rink for an evening of four-wheeled fun and connection.
To facilitate engaging conversations, Banyan's Community Council created a Bingo icebreaker game for parents. Learnings included how many children in your family, how long you've lived in the neighborhood, introductions to neighbors living within blocks of each other, favorite colors, etc. It was an opportunity to branch out to strengthen our roots!
Preparing for the ACT 
The journey to higher education starts early 
Article ImageBanyan juniors are in the process of preparing to take the ACT. The ACT is a standardized test that measures skills in five core areas: English, math, reading, science, and writing. ACT scores, based on 75 questions in 45 minutes, are a part of the college application process. 
Demaya Walton, Banyan's College and Career Counselor, works extensively with youth to prepare for the exam by hosting a series of study and prep sessions and facilitating practice tests. 
College acceptances are coming in!
Now to find the best fit...academically and financially
Congratulations to our four DeLaSalle high school seniors for completing the arduous task of applying to at least five colleges and a wide range of scholarships. The results are coming in! All have been accepted into at least two colleges - congratulations!! Next step, evaluating the options and financial aid/scholarship packages. Keep the seniors in your prayers as National Decision Day is May 1st. #firstgenerationcollege
Will You Join Us?
As we continue supporting youth and families 
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Our family advocates and educators continue to work with families to navigate through this unprecedented situation. We continue to offer connections to resources (that are even more critical in a pandemic) and provide support to youth with enrichment and in their online learning. 
Your support of Banyan during this uncertain and challenging time is critical and allows us to be responsive to needs that arise. We rely on you and your support to fuel our work, now more than ever. 
Your commitment to Banyan has resulted in great transformation over the years. We cannot thank you enough. In these extraordinary times, we hope you’ll consider joining us in providing extraordinary support for youth and families. 
Please consider making a gift today.

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Banyan Community
2529 13th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55404