We had to stop and remember who we are… for a moment it seemed only like a dream and then we remembered, this new home is really ours! It is our home to develop youth, strengthen families and create community. We have been in our new home for one year now and it is still amazing.

This year has been a year of growth and discovery.  With all things new, we first grounded ourselves in the truth of who we are.  Our middle schoolers did a great job this year painting their “I am” statements that reminded us all of very important truths like: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalm 139, “I’m not everything I want to be, but I’m more than I was, and I’m still learning.” C. Eriksson, or “I am what I choose to become.”  C.G. Jung. Then we welcomed new youth and families to Banyan for the first time in years.  It has been so exciting to see Banyan through “new eyes” as the “new kids” discover what our current kids may have taken for granted.  Our ambassadors have done a great job of folding in our new kids and families at every level. This new energy reminds us all of the treasures that we have in Banyan and in the new friends that we’ve made who expand our reach and our horizons.

As we have grown, we have discovered a newfound strength and pride in ourselves as Banyan Community. Our building is shining brightly but not brighter than the smiles on our faces and the sounds of joy that come from our yard! Our name is spreading and a deeper understanding of who we are is developing as we explain the impact of Banyan in our lives to our friends and neighbors.

The impactful work of Banyan happens in large part because of the generous and supportive donors who hold Banyan as a priority in their own lives. Together we are building an unprecedented urban neighborhood that is achieving new levels of success. Banyan is a dedicated work that has large dividends – changed lives, strong futures, and a stable community.

Thank you so much for coming along with us on this dreamy journey. Take a moment to read our annual report where each page tells the story that we have all had an impact in creating.

 Joani Essenburg
Co-founder, Executive Director

What does “Banyan” mean?

Banyan-TreeThe word Banyan comes from a Banyan tree. Banyan trees are fig trees with a large center trunk. Long branches send out roots which grow downward into the ground and form new trunks. A grove of trees, or large community, is created around the center trunk; all interconnected.

That is our vision for community! Banyan works by having youth, family and community linked together in complementary program strategies. Banyan has the potential of a 17 year imprint in a child’s life, as programs are developed for every age group of youth from Kindergarten through College. Key core values include: listening to community; developing reciprocal relationships, and implementing best practices.