Banyan Buzz
September, 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
Upcoming Events
Mark your calendar
Give to the Max Day
Thursday, November 12
The Great Minnesota Give Together! Schedule your gift now!
Annual Banyan Dinner
This dinner is a celebration of the partnership of our supporters and community members as we close the opportunity gap and our year end funding gap! Please join us and be a part of the transformation at Banyan.
Sunday, November 15
5:00 - 8:00 pm
Saint Mary's University Center
2540 Park Avenue, Minneapolis
$75 per person to attend
Banyan is Growing
Welcome New Staff!
Article Image We are excited to welcome several new staff to our team! Lacey Reierson joins us as our full-time College and Career Counselor. She has a masters degree in Social Work from the University of St. Thomas/St. Kate's, and brings a passion to support youth in  successful transitions into college. She is working with our high school Juniors and Seniors, college students and any parents interested in going back to school! 
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Jayme Murphy is leading our Gym time as a part-time P.E. Specialist. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa with degrees in Health Promotion and Psychology. He is a D1 football player, turned medical sales rep, now following his passion to work with youth. He is also preparing for a masters program in Public Health.
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Greg Johnson, a long time community member, and regular on the Essenburg basketball court joins us to support youth at Banyan as a part-time Program Associate. For the past several years he has been coaching youth basketball teams and fostering a love for the game. Greg and his son Greg Jr (2nd grade) are lighting up Banyan with their smiles.
Church Partners Bring Lunch
To Cool Off Days
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Banyan is grateful to our numerous church partners. They are important to us for a variety of reasons:
1. An openness and commitment to share the Banyan story with their congregation;
2. Prayerful and financial support from a faith filled community that believes in Banyan;
3. Volunteers that willingly lend a hand to Banyan in a variety of ways - committee work, board service, KidsClub leaders, summer lunches, School's Cool - to name a few;
4. Prominent display of Banyan art at church to share the story.
Youth in our summer program, Cool Off Days, qualify for free/reduced lunch at a rate of 94%. This means that some youth eat their first meal of the day when they arrive at Banyan in the afternoon. On Thursdays, several church partners address this need by preparing and bringing lunch to us. Volunteer groups of youth, adults, and families gather at their church to prepare and pack lunches for Banyan youth and staff.
On behalf of Banyan youth and staff - THANK YOU!
Back To School -
Banyan Youth are Prepared!
Article Image At Banyan, learning was not interrupted over the summer.  Banyan youth participate in Cool Off Days (our summer program) which is both fun AND educationally enriching. Youth conduct science experiments, visit pools, do art projects, host visitors, go to camp, and more every summer.
Cool Off Days helps mind the gap over summer and our youth return to school with new knowledge and insights to share in their classrooms.
Additionally, the School's Cool program ensures every youth (kindergarten through college) has the tools they need to be ready for school - a backpack, school supplies, school uniforms, and an expectation to succeed.
It really does make a difference that year after year Banyan kids are prepared to go to school each fall. Years and years of this add up to one thing - GRADUATION!
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
Dan Farley, Treasurer
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!
Breaking New Ground
Joani's Reflection
On a beautiful fall afternoon many gathered on the site of our NEW HOME to participate in a meaningful and vibrant ceremony. Banyan Article Image
made history and many dreams come true when we broke NEW ground!  Over 500 people - community members, donors, supporters, and partners – shared in the celebration of this milestone in Banyan’s journey.
For me it was a bit surreal—a day that we have been talking about and planning for many years had finally arrived. 
It was a day of many, many smiles and lots of laughter. Blessings for our children, giving thanks for God’s provision for this great gift, and blessing the neighborhood that we are so much a part of. The kids said their favorite part was the food trucks, the bounce house, playing soccer, the dancing, the shovels, the dirt…. 
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I think Maricruz said it well with her closing thought:
Having a place to go is: HOME
Having a community is: FAMILY
Having both is: A BLESSING
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Banyan is a wonderful blessing, and we are so grateful for everyone’s part to make this dream come true!
Banyan Parents are College Students
Unexpected Outcomes
Article Image In addition to the eight high school graduates starting college this fall, we have two Banyan parents starting their college journey. Maria (mother of 3) and Bridget (mother of 5) took their first college classes in August at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.
Maria is pursing a Dental Assistant certificate and Bridget is pursing a Human Services Diploma. Juggling school and family will be the biggest challenge, but they are ready and Banyan is here to lend a hand. Together we celebrate the hard work it took to get here.
Adults at Banyan are ready for more - together we have been making a list of classes to be offered at our new building, it is currently 4 pages long! Parents have also created a long list of talents and skills to share with each other, everything from cultural cooking to changing a flat tire.
Parents sharing and wanting more is truly an unexpected outcome of our work with youth and families!
Block Clubs Celebrate Together
22 Parties on One Night, August 4th
Article Image Banyan's Lighthouse Network hosted 22 block parties for National Night Out. The streets were closed off to traffic and neighbors came together to share a meal, build community, play games, etc.
Block events result in a shift from residents being simply users of their community toward being leading citizens or designers, who are helping to shape and design our community into a place where residents thrive and have a sense of hope about making positive change.
Communities are built one person, one family, one block at a time. It is delightful to be a part of community building!
Day Away Retreat
A Banyan Family Gathering
Article Image Banyan Families (over 150 people) headed to Lake Rebecca on the last Saturday in July to have fun and celebrate together.
Banyan gatherings are about bringing whole families together to create memories, meet neighbors and support each other in trying new experiences.
The paddleboats were a new experience for many familes and a crowd favorite! Pitching a tent and preparing a campsite was another first for many of the families that spent the night. A special thanks to Wilderness Inquiry for making camping accessible, smooth, and enjoyable - bugs and all!
Home Visits Educate and Connect
Strengthening Families
Article Image Between September and December, the Banyan Community Coordinator and Family Advocate meet with every Banyan family, a highlight for families.
Home visits produce goals that each family is working towards, with particular emphasis on asset-development. As families participate in Banyan we form a team and together learn how to advocate for children and address needs in our community. Parents share ideas and concerns, and staff repond with suggestions to address and work towards solutions.
The hundreds of hours it takes to conduct home visits results in over 2,665 connections linking families to resources and are the key to strengthening Banyan families!
Middle School Goes to Work
Learning about Careers
Article Image To enhance our youth's educational road maps, Banyan middle schoolers explore a variety of career options during workplace visits. This summer we were hosted by Global Traffic Technologies, Walser Automotive, and superDimension.
Site visits are a wonderful opportunity to connect career concepts with the day to day work and the education required.
Our youth learned about a variety of engineering disciplines that can be applied to the medical, software, and automotive industries. We also explored the sales, marketing, and operations sides of business.
Banyan is very intentional about helping youth discover their career interests and map out a plan to achieve them. Interested in hosting us at your workplace? Email us with the types of career options you can share!

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