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GSS Alumna Organizes Annual Self-Esteem Walk for June 4 


According to the Mayo Clinic, “Self-esteem is your overall opinion of yourself — how you feel about your abilities and limitations. When you have healthy self-esteem, you feel good about yourself and see yourself as deserving the respect of others. When you have low self-esteem, you put little value on your opinions and ideas.”

A “healthy” or “high” sense of self-esteem can sometimes be an elusive trait for many, and very difficult to cultivate. And once you enter a cycle of low self-esteem, it becomes even more challenging to break through the barrier and confidently acknowledge the respect you deserve.

Social workers know the importance of surrounding oneself with others who can aid in the practice of building your self-esteem. Even poet John Donne noticed this way back in 1624, when he wrote “no man is an island.”

A high and healthy sense of self-esteem can not only be a boost for the individual, but also the community. And since 2017, in an effort to bring this movement of healthy self-esteem to her community, GSS alumna Nerrissa Jenkins-Sherrills, GSS ‘11, has organized an annual Self-Esteem Awareness Walk. The next walk will take place on Saturday, June 4, 2022.

The festivities kick off at 2 p.m., at the Harlem State Building on 163 W 125th Street. The day begins with a series of speakers Jenkins-Sherrills organized for the event. The speakers will address the topic of self-esteem through the lens of wisdom. 

“We’ve had speakers every year,” Jenkins-Sherrills said. “Ranging on topics such as self-esteem and mental health, self-esteem and hope, and more.”

After the speakers finish, the Self-Esteem Awareness Walk begins, with Jenkins-Sherrills leading the pack for 12 blocks. She acts as the beacon and the catalyst for the walk’s emotional power, inviting participants to chant mantras like “I am you, you are me, together we are one!” through the streets. The walk finishes at St. Nicholas Park, where light refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

“It’s such a feel-good moment, stepping outside yourself,” Jenkins-Sherrills said. “We leave feeling inspired and motivated. Even if we are going through tough times, we know life is not over.

Aside from being a dedicated social worker and organizer of the annual walk, Jenkins-Sherrills finds the written word to be another significant outlet for creativity and bolstering self-esteem. She has released a volume of poetry, Mysterious Me (2014), and a guide to self-esteem titled Live, Love & Confidence (2015)

So, what does self-esteem mean to Jenkins-Sherrills? 

“Confidence, self-worth, self-value, self-care, self-love, they’re all involved in cultivating self-esteem,” she said.

Additionally, receiving her MSW has allowed Jenkins-Sherrills to understand the societal contribution and impact that can come through the individual—no opportunity for growth and to spread the message of self-esteem is too small.

“Fordham’s MSW program helped me develop as a social worker and know that one person really can make a difference,” she said. “It gave me the time to master my skills in discipline, empathy, and compassion.”

And why is she so passionate about the walk? 

“It’s given me the ability to create such a great movement and bring together an outstanding group of people, and we always welcome more,” she said. “I just want to pour into people in ways they can feel better about themselves and throughout life.”

If you are interested in more information about the walk, please visit


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