Sibeko Jywanza was born and raised in Indianapolis. He graduated from a boarding school in Piney Woods, Mississippi, called Piney Woods Country Life School. His next stop was Tallahassee to attend Florida A&M University, where he graduated in 2005 with a B.A in Business Administration. A year later he moved back to Indianapolis, IN in order to reengage with his family and community. He found work with a private practice dental office. He worked there for 8 years, five of those as the financial administrator. Sibeko participated in the Community Leadership Certificate program through the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center (INRC) and was a part of the 2013 class. Through the INRC he found out about Public Allies/AmeriCorps and started his 10 month term with Public Allies in the fall of 2014 serving as a Community Catalyst for Near East Area Renewal; a Near Eastside housing community development corporation. Now Sibeko is a Neighborhood Specialist with INRC.
How long have you lived in Indy?
Born and raised in Indianapolis, IN. Left the city at 14 and returned in 2006 to live.
Why have you focused your career on the nonprofit sector?
Community development is a strong passion of mine. I wanted to be able to work every day on this passion. I feel that the nonprofit sector is a great way to not only help communities in Indianapolis but also pay some bills while I’m working.
How did you find your current position?
I joined AmeriCorps as a Public Ally in 2014. Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center houses this great organization. After my 10 months of service as an Ally, I wanted to continue the type of work I was involved in with Public Allies and INRC had a great opportunity shortly after my term ended.
What would you say to another young professional considering a nonprofit job?
This is not easy work. You have to have a big picture view of your work. If helping people and communities are your passions, nonprofit work is for you.
If you could learn a brand new skill, what would it be?
Learn a different language.
If you were an inanimate object, what would you be and why?
A chess game. You have to think three steps ahead and even in a loss I can learn and will improve.
What do you hope to accomplish that you haven’t yet?
I want to be a catalyst for the next generation of leaders in Indianapolis.
Share a little-known treasure of Indianapolis with us.
All of our youth in Indianapolis are treasures. Some need to be polished, some need their value verified by the community, and some are just waiting to be discovered!
Most important question: what's your favorite holiday?
Kwanzaa, this holiday is based off of harvest festivals in some African regions. It is a great way to end the year focusing on the seven principles of Unity, Self-determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith.
Want to support Sibeko's work?
Follow the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center. Get out and get involved in your neighborhood association - Sibeko might just be at your next meeting! You say there's no organization of neighbors in your neck of the woods? Sibeko can help you get started. His three super powers - active listening; collaboration; and a knack for asset-based community development - will get you on the right track!