NJGAKAD combines the best of social services and the sweet science of boxing, with essential life skills serving as the glue connecting both of them. These services are free of charge for the children, whom are hand-selected by NJGAKAD’s founder Jackie Atkins, and often referred by social service facilities across the Jersey Shore.
NJGAKAD recipients visit the gym at least three days a week for traditional boxing training, followed by tutoring for schoolwork. In addition, staffers coordinate with social service workers to ensure a continuity of care for the child and their families long after training ends.
Often, children are dealing with adversity when they arrive to NJGAKAD. In the process of major undertaking, NJGAKAD pledges to teach pertinent life skills as a way to come out on top of the endless cycle of poor health, poor choices, bullying and all unfavorable issues afflicting today’s youth. The program strives to provide social etiquette lessons, interviewing skills, hygiene and leadership skills that can be applied in everyday life.
Though most of the work — exercise and homework — takes place at NJGAKAD’s headquarters at Gleason’s Gym Jersey Shore, the group also takes field trips and excursions to expose children to wider varieties of living. With visits to parks or businesses for job mentoring, staffers help show children how to live life — in the actual world.
Recipients are divided in two age groups — affectionately called “warriors” and “wee warriors,” which includes all children under 12. To help develop leadership skills, longtime members are often called to lead the wee warriors through training and a separate team helps foster those with desire and ability to box competitively.
Social service organizations or individuals can apply for NJGAKAD inclusion by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.