Banyan Buzz
May, 2015
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
You Can Help Banyan Double in Size
And Double Your Dollar!
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The Rose Francis Foundation has offered a very generous matching gift challenge that if met, will allow us to build our new home debt free! The expansion of Banyan will double the number of youth and families we serve, so it seems appropriate that the match also doubles every dollar given.
The challenge is to raise $200,000 in new gifts by July 15th and they will be matched dollar for dollar.
Every gift matters and is extremely helpful in meeting this challenge.
Won't you help Banyan add more youth?
At Banyan, Dreams Become Reality
Proven Outcomes
Article ImageThis new video highlights the importance of dreaming dreams, and the role Banyan plays in making those dreams a reality. Click here to watch.
Family and Funders
Hopes and Dreams; Opportunities and Obstacles
Special thank you to The Minneapolis Foundation, the Catholic Community Foundation, and Oakfish Foundation for participating in a dialogue facilitated by Banyan between funders, parents and high school youth.  
This small group gathering gave both the families and funders a chance to talk about what is most pressing, including:
  • Transforming our Neighborhood
  • Support for Families
  • Education for Our Future
  • Growth of Banyan
The conversation was enlightening and insightful for all those at the table.
WOW! That's Engineering
Hosted by the Society of Women Engineers
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Banyan middle school girls spent a Saturday in April learning about Chemical, Industrial, Electrical, and Mechanical engineering with hands on experiments!
The girls learned about engineering through 4 experiments:
  • Brilliant Bracelets - girls built their own bracelet as efficiently as an industrial engineer
  • Egg Mobile - worked as a team to protect a raw egg from damage on a lego vehicle
  • Made a Circuit Bug with light‐up eyes
  • TOOTHPASTE! - learned chemistry and mixed their own toothpaste
Upcoming Events
Mark your calendar
Groundbreaking Ceremony
Stay tuned for more details 
2529 13th Ave S.
Annual Banyan Dinner 
Sunday, November 15
Saint Mary's University Center
2540 Park Avenue
Calling Party Planners
Join the Team!
Planning is starting now to ensure the Annual Banyan Dinner is a fabulous evening. We need you, your energy, and ideas!
Contact Sue for more information about how to get involved.
Banyan Buzz
One Year Anniversary
The Banyan Buzz has been buzzing in your inbox for ONE YEAR now! Over the year you have been on the journey with us, learning about all the amazing accomplishments of our youth and the leadership of our adults. Banyan is a community that shares our joys and our challenges. Our desire is that this newsletter gives you a front row seat. The entire year collection is available on our website if you want to “go back” in time and visit our year.   Thank you for joining us in our conversations under the Banyan tree- here in the Phillips Neighborhood of South Minneapolis.
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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:
Kyle Didier, Chair
Sheila Jones, Vice Chair
Sue Jensen, Secretary
Sven Wehrwein, Treasurer
Dan Farley
Trevor Knight
Barry Lieske
Ayo Olawole
Brian Provost
Mark Schulze
David Tynes
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!
Time to Celebrate at Banyan
Article Image We have many graduations here at Banyan… milestones that Banyan kids are reaching AND prepared to move onto the next level. Our FIFTH GRADERS are leaders and are preparing to enter MIDDLE SCHOOL. Our EIGHTH GRADERS are applying to the Higher Ground Scholarship and preparing to enter HIGH SCHOOL our SENIORS have their college plans in place- after they graduate in May they will work this summer and then OFF TO COLLEGE they go! Our college kids are also graduating and making the transition to CAREERS. These graduations give us a reason to pause and celebrate. Banyan kids “grow up” at Banyan because we are family. We are excited as a family to see our youth make successful transitions. We know that it truly takes a village for this to work- Youth, Parents, Staff, Volunteers, and Donors all coming together. Thank you for doing your part!
Decision Day
May 1, 2015
Article Image Commitment Day, Decision Day, Signing Day, etc. - May 1st is the date high school seniors must declare their intentions for the fall.
The Banyan graduates had many college options to choose from - both near and far, big and small, urban and rural. But after years of planning for this decision, countless meetings with parents and youth, applications completed, FAFSA forms filled out and sendt in, scholarship applications submitted (all with the guidance of our College and Career Counselor) - they chose.
Look out - Bethel University, Augsburg College, Loyola University, Minneapolis Community & Technical College, Minnesota State University, Mankato, and the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities - Banyan youth will be on your campuses this fall, ready to make a difference!
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Farewell Messages
Graduates share thoughts with Banyan youth and staff
As one door closes another opens; graduation from high school is not the end, but the beginning for our youth. They are now part of a group called Banyan Scholars, where our work continues as we provide support to them through their graduation from college and into their career.
However, they wouldn't miss an opportunity to say thank you and pass along their wisdom:
  • I am really grateful to have been a part of a community like Banyan. They are not just a community, it’s like a family. Thank you for all of the good memories. I am going to miss all of you.   Elizabeth
  • I thank all of you for the memories I have from over the last 17 years. I will forever be grateful for all of the relationships, fun times, and times to come.    Isaiah
  • For the Banyan staff: Thank you for the level of motivation and help you all have given me to get this far. For the Banyan students: Give high school all of your efforts so you leave with no regrets. Walter
  • I want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me make it through all four years of high school. Remember my freshmen year when the struggle was real, now that the struggle is over, I am happy to say that I am happy I made it.     Jamal
  • As you move onto a new journey, allow yourself to embrace all the different opportunities in your life.    Sia
  • I have loved going to school at DeLaSalle; and I am grateful for Banyan for helping to make it possible.    Javan
  • Dream big. Don’t give up!      Manuel
Community Council
Neighborhood Leaders
Article ImageThe Community Council at Banyan is a very engaged group of adult leaders that help to shape Banyan’s future. Throughout this year the council meetings have been devoted to firming up Banyan’s strategic plan and providing thoughts and direction on the design of our new building. The insights of community leaders ensure that Banyan’s work accurately reflects the need and the vibe of our community. The excitement is “building” as we look forward to ground breaking!
Business Leaders Breakfast -
Building Bridges
Coach Jerry Kill Inspired
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On April 14th, over 160 business leaders came to the Phillips neighborhood to be inspired and learn how together we can build bridges to 1st generation business leaders.
Walter, class of '15, shared his story growing up in Banyan and how that has shaped his future - one that takes him to Loyola University in the fall.
Coach Kill's remarks were heartfelt, insightful, and lent tremendous support to the work of Banyan. He highlighted the many parallels to his role as a coach working with high caliber athletes and Banyan's work in community development. Focusing on the importance of creating pathways for youth, starting as early as possible, and engaging the entire family and community – the core of Banyan.
Joani shared how leadership principles are being applied at Banyan every day - ensuring successful outcomes for youth, families, and the community.
Thank you for providing your support to build bridges to opportunities for Banyan youth, the future work force and 1st generation business leaders.
5th Grade Leaders
Write and Sign a Pledge at Banyan
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Leadership development is a key component in all of Banyan's work. The 5th grade leaders are yet another example. At the start of the school year they wrote their own pledge and all signed it:
As a member of Banyan Community's 2014-2015 fifth grade class, we promise to do these things to the best of our ability:
  1. We promise to be respectful and follow the Golden Rule.
  2. We promise to participate in new things every time.
  3. We promise to do our best work and never give up.
  4. We promise to be positive leaders by showing others how to act.
  5. We promise to trust and follow our conscience.
Bethany (elementary educator and program manager) shared these thoughts with the group at their last meeting of the year, with a mix of pride and sorrow:
2015 Class of 5th Graders, you have been an incredible class! It is obvious being a positive leader matters to you!  We saw you model kindness, respect, and great leadership to your peers and the younger Banyan youth.  You became more confident in expressing your ideas and concerns, as well as in greeting Banyan guests. You also took your academics seriously—being highly responsible with your homework and projects every day!  We will miss you in the Elementary Afterschool Program, but we know you are fully ready to take the next step as leaders in Middle School!
Letter Writing Campaign Helps Win Approval
In both the Minnesota House and Senate
Article ImageDid you hear Banyan’s name mentioned on the MN Senate floor this week?  A significant piece of legislation (SF814/HF1193) that ensures access to after school programs passed the House last week, and this week it passed the Senate with unanimous support. 
Banyan has been working on this issue for over 3 years, culminating with a letter writing campaign by youth and families to convince elected Representatives of the importance of maintaining access to programs like Banyan’s. 
The impact of Banyan’s work was overwhelmingly evident in the 45 letters that landed in the Capitol building.  One mother wrote, “Banyan has been a huge part of our family, we get support with important decision making when it comes to our kids futures.”  Another mother said, “Banyan has been a very important part of our family… They have always gone above and beyond to make sure our family’s needs have been met, for that we will be forever grateful.”  Students also shared from the heart; one high school senior wrote, “Banyan provided me with good role models at a young age who gave me hope that I could succeed and do what I want in life.” 
It is truly awesome to see Banyan families speak out and advocate for our work!

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