Banyan Buzz
May 2020
Welcome
Our graduation celebrations are all about thriving. Each and every graduation celebration is one that we all identify with as we project our own children, whether they are in 1st grade or 9th grade, on to the graduate. Each graduate benefits themselves, their family, our community and beyond. Each graduate is successful because of individual commitment and courage with family support and Banyan navigation. That is why graduation is so much more in our neighborhood than a “diploma.” It is a community act that means the difference between opportunity and oppression, because education is one of the strongest antipoverty strategies.
 
This issue celebrates strength, hope, courage, accomplishment, overcoming, and thriving. Join us as we celebrate graduation- Banyan style!
 
Joani Essenburg
Co-Founder & Executive Director
Bits of Wisdom
To support the graduating seniors, Banyan staff dug out their senior photos (which we reluctantly shared on social media) and offered these words of wisdom:
 
Take advantage of the opportunity and flexibility to explore your interests and try new things! - Sara
 
Work hard, but don’t forget to have fun! - Keri
 
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” -Martin Luther King Jr. - Allison
 
Authentic growth oftentimes takes you backwards and sideways; it can turn you inside out and keep you put. Life is not always about moving forward. Stay curious, and don’t buy into the myth that there is one type of success or path to get there.  - Cyndi
 
Work smarter not harder and always listen to your mother. - Linda
 
Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not evil, to give you a future and a hope. Remember God’s phone number Jeremiah 33:3. - Dan O
 
The world is waiting. Go and get it. AND, the greatest thing that you can do with your life is to make it interesting. - Sue
 
'This too shall pass' and you have a future to plan, live, learn and grow towards. - Gale
 
My advice would be to meet plenty of new people and be open to new experiences! - Diamond
 
Plan and work for your future, but don’t forget to take time to enjoy the present. - Katie 
 
Life is often compared to a roller coaster, it has ups and downs. Like a roller coaster, the only ones to get injured are those who choose to jump off the ride before it's over. So my message to you graduates, is to Stay On The Ride of Life through the ups and downs, because like a roller coaster ride, you will soon discover it was worth it. - Demaya
 
This important milestone is only one of many you may achieve in your lifetime. How many you reach is up to you. Never stop learning and enjoy the process. “If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.” –Anonymous  - Dan W
 
Congratulations Class of 2020! 
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Leadership Breakfast
Thank You for Tuning In
COVID-19 had us revamping our annual gathering to build bridges between Banyan's college-aged youth and community professionals like you! 
 
Via video, several of our Scholars shared their Banyan experiences and hopes for the future. Alene Tchourumoff, Senior Vice President of Community 
Development and Engagement, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, shared a special message on the future workforce.
 
During these unprecedented times, Banyan’s work to build bridges for future leaders has never been more important. From preschool through college graduation, we walk alongside our youth and families to ensure they are fully prepared for the future. We all have a role to play in ensuring the success of the next generation of leaders.
 
Although we couldn’t come together this year, over 450 people tuned in to watch and lend support! Many financial gifts were doubled as a result of a generous matching gift from Bell Lumber & Pole! We appreciate your generosity.
 
If you have not yet experienced the 2020 Banyan Leadership Breakfast video, watch it on our website or below.
Thank You
Sponsors
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Didn't Get Enough?
Hear More Scholar Stories
We've created video summaries of past Leadership Breakfast events to share more stories of impact. You can access them on our website or below. Enjoy the memories!
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
Judy Pennington
Heidi Thorson
Mike Wilczynski
Carol Wolfe
Support Us Online
Banyan accepts donations online! This is a convenient and secure way to support the work of Banyan. Give it a try!
Class of 2020
Reflections from Banyan's Graduates
Congratulations to the Class of 2020! Although we couldn't celebrate in our typical fashion this year, we are immensely proud of our four graduating high school seniors and five graduating Scholars.
 
We caught up with them over the last month to hear how they are doing and learn more about their plans for the future. We hope this special issue helps to commemorate their tremendous accomplishments! This brings the total of Banyan high school graduates to 60 and college graduates to 25!
 
Congratulations Class of 2020! #YouGotThis
WILL
Found his “true passion” 
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Most proud? 
In high school, Will found his true passion - photography and graphic design. He is excited about what the future holds and “going into the field and learning” about photography, graphic design, and the business side of the work.
 
Banyan was “always there for me” and he appreciates everything that was done to support him. He says, “I feel like I am really well prepared after these last four years.”
 
Future plans?
Attending Dougherty Family College
JOSSELYN
Relationships during school
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What will you miss? 
Her teachers taught her important things about school and life, and she will miss everyone who made her feel welcome. "It was hard, but I did it. I have come a long way.” She's also missing the senior experience – from Prom to the graduation ceremony to saying good-bye to friends.
 
Josselyn is grateful for the “huge support” Banyan has offered throughout her life.
 
What's next?
Saint Paul College
DARIUS
Looking to the future
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What are you excited about?
Darius is looking forward to the freedom that college will bring and being the “master of my schedule.” He is going to miss all of the activities and the relationships that he built over the last four years - especially football. 
 
He is glad Banyan helped him stay on track and made sure he passed his classes, and he will carry with him so many great memories.
 
Future plans?
Normandale Community College
DASIYAH
Much to be excited about!
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What's exciting right now?
Dasiyah, who has been ready to graduate since high school started, can’t believe how fast it went! She is excited about college, building new relationships, practicing Spanish, learning pathways to a law degree, and eventually opening a cupcake place of her own!
 
There is lots to be excited about, and she is glad Banyan was there to support her. It has been a “safe place to express myself and grow as a person.”
 
What's next?
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota in Winona
Congratulations to Our College Graduates
 
ELIZABETH GUIRACOCHA
It almost “doesn’t feel real”
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Most proud?
As a 1st generation graduate from Augsburg University, Elizabeth is proud of her degree in Social Work and to be graduating with honors. It almost “doesn’t feel real” because she won’t have the opportunity to walk across the stage, but she is excited for what’s next.
 
Advice for others?
“No matter how hard it gets, don’t give up.” She’s grateful for support received from friends, family, and Banyan. Having started at Banyan in 5th grade, she said “college wouldn’t have been an option without Banyan,” and it was a “huge support.”
 
Future plans?
Taking the Social Work licensure exam and preparing for a job search where there are a broad array of options.  
MARISSA MOHAMMED
Feeling proud and grateful
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Most proud?
Marissa is happy to have made it through and feels well rounded having worked with the grounds crew to help pay her way at Macalester College earning a degree in Studio Art.
 
What did you learn?
Marissa is proud she learned to advocate for herself and stayed true to herself. She chose to put in the work every day and feels more opportunities opened up for her as a result. Marissa is grateful to Banyan Community for the ongoing academic support she got while at DeLaSalle which led to Macalester. She also learned the importance of networking and building strong relationships with individuals that will support her future.
 
What's next? 
Moving to Chicago this fall and beginning her career.
JORGE ‘REY’ RIERA
Anything is possible
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What are you reflecting on? 
Graduating from the U of M with a degree in Business and Marketing Education, Rey has a lot of plans. The celebration will likely be smaller, but he is moving forward with his dreams. Rey says, “I’m a goal and results oriented person.” Rey started as an Economics major, but by switching majors he found his passion and his way onto the Dean’s List. Through his years at Banyan, he came to know that his dreams could come true, and with hard work, anything is possible.
 
Advice for freshmen?
It's simple. “Don’t take 8am classes” and “Once you have been to one party, you’ve been to them all. Stay home and study too.”
 
Future plans?
Continue working with Minnesota United FC before venturing to work for a South American soccer team.
JANESSA BJORGO
Making dreams come true
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What are you excited about?
Janessa is excited to be wrapping up at Bethel University after lots of hard work. She graduates cum laude with a degree in Psychology and minor in Reconciliation. Post-graduation travel plans and parties will be postponed, but she’ll “be back and better when this is over.” She is grateful for opportunities she got at Banyan - particularly the Higher Ground Scholarship.
 
Best advice you received?
“You belong.” She wants to be a role model for youth like her and is proud of making both her and her grandmother’s dreams come true.
 
What's next? 
A break from school, but likely a master’s degree eventually. Along with a job opportunity this fall, she is exploring opportunities to work with communities and youth of color.
JASMINE ORTIZ VELEZ
Fully embracing the experience
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How are you feeling?
Jasmine is feeling accomplished and proud as she wraps up her Associate's Degree at Dougherty Family College. It is a milestone!
 
Best advice you received?
During her time at Dougherty, Jasmine was part of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and appreciated the advice she got to "fully embrace the college experience" from older brother (and fellow Tommie) Jason. She stepped outside her comfort zone to meet people, try new things, and find herself through the experience. She was glad to have Banyan by her side, a "second home," and a place where she could always find support.
 
Future plans?
Applying to the nursing program at St. Kate’s. 
Donor Information
With ever-changing federal policies, there are increased benefits to consider as you make decisions about giving. Be sure to work closely with your tax advisor for guidance in applying these rules to your situation.
 
Charitable deductions
A charitable deduction of up to $300 per individual ($600 per household) is allowed for those who do not itemize deductions. The adjusted gross income limitation is waived allowing the ability to offset more taxable income. This applies only to cash contributions and is not available for contributions to donor advised funds or other supporting organizations.
 
IRA distributions
Required minimum distribution rules are waived for 2020 distributions from IRAs, including inherited IRAs and 2019 distributions taken in 2020 which had a required beginning date of April 1, 2020. Qualified Charitable Distributions remain allowable this year up to $100K.

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Banyan Community
2529 13th Ave S
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