Groundbreaking youth development advocate, Jacklyn Atkins, regularly transforms youth from all walks of life and any imagined barrier. Her vision and talent fuels her “Champions of Life” teaching model that propels the New Jersey Give a Kid a Dream Foundation (NJGAKAD).
Though she blushes at the number of Coach of the Year awards she’s won and that she’s been inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame, Jacklyn has developed a reputation for being a miracle worker with her fighters.
Matter-of-fact excellence is Jacklyn’s norm; through her work with NJGAKAD, she’s also now recognized as a child advocate, including winning the Monmouth County Mental Health Association’s Tony Dowling Child Advocacy Award in 2016.
After graduating from North Carolina State University with a degree in computer science and then CUNY with a degree in business management, Jacklyn was employed at AT&T Bell Labs/Avaya in the role of Executive Director of Research & Development. Jacklyn lead global teams developing call center software during the beginning of the computer telephony era. After 28 years at AT&T, Jacklyn retired in 2012 to devote herself to unleashing potential in and outside the ring.
In the face of reluctance to build a women’s boxing program at West Point that was as prestigious as its male program, Jacklyn convinced athletic directors to create one. Volunteering her time and using her network within the boxing community, Jacklyn trained a team of novices to be fight-ready in four months. In the two years under her leadership, the team won the USIBA National Collegiate Team Championship both years.
Jacklyn forged a partnership with Bruce Silverglade of Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, the long-running boxing institution that birthed some of the greatest professional boxers in history. The duo expanded Gleason’s Gym into Long Branch, NJ and launched the New Jersey Give A Kid a Dream program.
In addition, Jacklyn is an internationally certified Krav Maga self-defense instructor, a nationally certified personal trainer, a USA Boxing level 2 Coach, an internationally accredited AIBA Star 1 boxing instructor, a level 3 USA Boxing Official and a NJ State Athletic Control Board official. Jacklyn attributes her success and training ethics to the many mentors who have influenced her life.
Starting with her parents and continuing with the coaches and instructors who invested in her for many years, the learning continues to this day.