top of page

On what it means to be weird…

A couple and two dogs pose in front of an archway made of mosaic materials.

Cheryl Tiberio was a Good Shepherd Volunteer in Washington Heights, NY from 2016-2017 and served as the Public Policy Fellow for Good Shepherd Services. She wrote this reflection at the end of program orientation in 2016 and ahead of starting her role. Cheryl is also a member of the GSV Board since 2022 and part of the Community Committee, which sponsors these reflections and our Zoom gathering planned for 3/19/24 at 7:00PM. Cheryl lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia with her husband, Greg, and 2 dogs, Margarita Monday (Rita) and Taco Tuesday (Taco). Cheryl works in government consulting and focuses on grants management for state clients. 

Night one of GSV training, something was put to words for me that I have been feeling for a while. As I jump into mission experience after mission experience for little money and challenging accommodations, I often feel as if I’m perceived as weird. Truthfully, what I’m doing is outside the norm, something that many do not have context for or an understanding of, yet it is something that is worthy and has been put on my heart.

The presenter started with “it’s okay to be weird. This year of service thing makes us all a little weird. What we are asking is for you to embrace that.” Sometimes, I will have to say no to a fancy lunch in Manhattan because it’s not in the budget, and it’s not simply living. Sometimes, I’ll have to miss the extra cool event because of my commitment to community. In the name of God, I am tasked to live in community, intentionally bonding with my sisters. This means not connecting nearly as much with my family and friends outside Good Shepherd Volunteers. This means eating dinner together and sharing about the injustices we are witnessing. This means loving at all times, knowing that the work I’m doing is changing the world around me.

Living simply is outside the norm. We are in a culture of want. We want so we get. This year, I will want, and I will wait. I will consider whether I really need or even want things. I will live in solidarity with the many who may want, but cannot get. I will pause to appreciate what I have, and to appreciate what or who is around me. I will lean in to my experiences, and notice all this world has to offer.

With a perceived weird calling, I must learn the importance of patiently describing and re-describing this calling. I hope for my home community to be on board with my commitment, to hold me accountable to my commitment, and to be able to describe this commitment to others. It is this hope that drives me to keep going and trust that this is where I am meant to be.

This year, I will set many goals for myself. On the top of that list is to “embrace the weird.”

- Cheryl Tiberio

GSV 2016-2017


bottom of page