Feel the Trust

Stories-Circle-Cuevas-300I found out about Banyan through a neighborhood flier. I immediately knew this was the place I had been looking for, especially for my daughter Carleen, who was quiet and timid. I felt this was a place she could learn to be herself.

Joani was the first person I met at Banyan. You meet someone and they have a spirit about them. Even though I didn’t know Joani, I could feel the trust. Our whole family has benefitted from Banyan—things like homework help and field trips. There’s a sense of being home; it’s the feeling of familia or being in your own country.

When my husband lost his job, we lost our home on 16th Avenue. Banyan helped us move, cover immediate financial expenses, and find a new residence in the neighborhood. We could never think of moving away from Banyan. We were invited to live with family in California and Mexico, but this is where we have roots.

Our girls dream about the careers they will have with the help of the Banyan. The sky is the limit. This program is magical. Whoever finds Banyan has a future for their kids.

Maura Cuevas, Banyan Parent


Stories-Circle-Reynolds-300I have four children, and Darius is my youngest.  I first learned about Banyan when Darius was in 3rd grade. We started with the summer program, and then Darius joined the afterschool program.

In April 2011, we had a house fire. Banyan was instrumental in helping us replenish school supplies and school uniforms as well as find housing in the area. They also gave us gas vouchers so we could get around.

Banyan has become a place to belong for Darius. Last summer he attended camp for the first time. At first, I wasn’t going to let him go, because he had never left me. But Darius pleaded with me, and my older sons convinced me. I realize now that it’s good for Darius to get out. I trust Banyan because they have well-planned activities for his age group, and he’s not sitting around the house. I tell lots of people about Banyan.

Our family has set a goal of owning a home by Spring of 2013. I tell my children no more moving; this will be ours. I also plan to finish my nursing and social work license in 2014 —just as Darius will be working on enrollment at DeLaSalle High School, with Banyan’s help.

Linda Reynolds, Banyan Parent

Just like Family

Stories-Circle-Diamond-300Banyan feels just like family. They expect so much of me; it makes me work hard and set goals. They offer tutoring, a support system, and older people investing in me. I would never be at DeLaSalle High School without the scholarship through Banyan. That pushes me to succeed.

Banyan doesn’t just support me, but my whole family. When we had a fire, Banyan helped us figure out insurance and find another place to live. Growing up in Phillips is tough. I’ve been here my whole life, so I’m used to it, but it’s a dangerous neighborhood. Still, if anything were to happen, I’ll have someone on the street to go to. That’s because Banyan has connected the community through block clubs.

I come to Banyan for tutoring on Mondays and Wednesdays, and I help lead elementary kids on Tuesdays and Fridays. I spent more than 100 hours volunteering with the elementary kids this summer. It’s hard work leading elementary kids; it teaches me new appreciation for leaders I had!

When I think about my future, I see college, a Ph.D., traveling outside the country. I know these things are possible for me because of Banyan.

Diamond Jackson, Age 16