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    The Secret is Out, Banyan Youth are Ready for College! There are currently 25+ Banyan youth in college! We have six seniors who are working to join them by finalizing their college applications for enrollment and scholarships. This fall, four college admissions counselors hosted sessions for our juniors and seniors at Banyan! This is a first – and […]

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    Tim Essenburg, Banyan Scholar in Residence “Closing the Achievement Gap” is part and parcel of the written and verbal aspirations of the concerned citizens of the Twin Cities’ upper-middle and upper socioeconomic classes. And this is good, so far as it goes. The K – college educational gap between whites (considered to set the benchmark) […]

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    Every year it seems like the school supplies show up in stores earlier and earlier! That works for the School’s Cool program (managed by St. Bartholomew Church) which prepares a fully loaded backpack for each Banyan youth, Kindergarten through High School – we are already in full swing for the fall. The most important thing that […]

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    As the days get longer and the temperature rises, summer planning kicks into high gear at Banyan. Summertime is particularly challenging for youth and families in our urban neighborhood. Violence keeps our kids inside of homes, and lack of opportunities increase the achievement gap. But, Banyan youth and families have a different type of summer. […]

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    (Part 4 of 4) The first three parts in the series introduced the concept of community development, assets or capitals (importantly social capital), and alliances. We can now bring these together in a four-level framework offered by Ferguson and Stoutland. Level one are the grassroots organizations without paid staff. A block club is a good […]

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    (Part 3 of 4) In Part 2 you may recall that I introduced five different assets or capitals, the last of which was social capital, defined as the “norms, shared understandings, trust, and other factors that make relationships feasible and productive,” where productive is thought of in terms of “education, economic opportunity, and social mobility,” […]

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    (Part 2 of 4) Part 1 of this series introduced the idea of focusing on assets rather than liabilities when doing community development. This begs the question, “What is community development?” Community refers to a contiguous geographic space and the residents of that space. East Phillips, a community, is located inside an ecology of social […]

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    (Part 1 of 4) Joani and I were raised in the middle and upper-middle socioeconomic class. Because of this, the overwhelming impression after year one of living in East Phillips was that “everything is broken”— windows, cars, homes, streets, sidewalks, relationships, schools, employment, furniture, attitudes, policing. We were overwhelmed with the liabilities we saw, so […]

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    Every summer middle school youth ‘go to work’, to learn about career opportunities and the education needed to get there. Banyan is intentional about helping youth discover career interests and building educational maps to achieve their goals. These site visits are a wonderful ‘hands on’ look at what it means to be an engineer, a […]

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    The graduation ceremony is behind them, caps and gowns have been put away, diplomas are proudly displayed, and celebrations are numerous! The Banyan seniors are now college students and looking to the future. We couldn’t be more proud! Banyan youth graduate high school at 100%, but what is even more impressive is they continue that journey to college. These […]

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