Banyan’s roots were established in the north east end of the city. The Kiwanis Club of Hamilton East, as a service club, provided the leadership and fundraising that led to the creation of the Hamilton East Kiwanis Boys’ (and Girls’) Club in the 1940s. Members of the Kiwanis Club provided the volunteer board leadership, and in many cases, the volunteer program delivery that evolved into a very vibrant and key organization in the northeast end of the city.
It was under the leadership of the Kiwanis Boys’ and Girls’ Club Board of Directors, and the Executive Director that the Kiwanis Boys’ and Girls’ Club took its first community development/service steps through the development of a group home for teenagers who found themselves in conflict with the law, George R. Force Group Home.
Over the decades, the organization provided services that included a preschool, non-profit housing, a non-profit long term care facility, a residential summer camp for disadvantaged and difficult to serve children (Camp Maple Leaf), residential group care home for difficult to serve children and a grocery delivery service for seniors and adults with disabilities.
In 1994, the organization was offered the opportunity to assume responsibility for a local secure custody youth justice program; Peninsula Youth Centre. The next step in our journey to acquire significant expertise and provide community leadership in the youth justice service sector occurred in 1999 when Arrell Youth Centre came under the management of the organization.
As the organization expanded, the geographic boundaries of service delivery grew as well. It became clear that the tribute to the east of Hamilton that was apparent in its name, although faithful to the roots of the organization, was beginning to portray it as a local entity only. In 2001, the organization changed its name to Banyan Community Services. In many cultures, the Banyan Tree represents community, children, health and prosperity.
In 2016, Banyan went through the process of re-branding the entire organization. While keeping in mind our history of the Banyan tree which represented our commitment of protection and safety to at-risk populations, our new logo’s imagery symbolizes the notion of ‘connection’. The new canopy design illustrates the outline of the Banyan tree top, but now includes a point where two sides join together. Our Banyan canopies reinforce the true meaning of Banyan’s strongly connected roots and protective nature. Our new brand embodies what Banyan offers the community, all while preserving the Banyan tree legacy in a crisp and modern way – by being Better. Together.
In 2018, Banyan underwent an accreditation process which opened its service delivery and business processes to outside scrutiny from the Canadian Centre for Accreditation (CCA). This consisted of ongoing consultation and in-depth on-site reviews. The CCA approved Banyan’s accreditation status for a period of four years from January 2019 to January 2023. We are proud of this official recognition that Banyan is guided by nationally recognized service standards and best practices.