Gleason’s Jersey Shore gym is, less than one mile from the beach and yet the stairway leading to the brightly colored gym features champions of the past and present doing the hard work of the sweet science. Gleason's New Jersey combines the best of a laid-back beach atmosphere with a serious training environment built for comings and goings of busy New Jersey residents. The old gym environment encourages sweat, hard work, and a strong sense of camaraderie. In addition to coaches and trainers teaching the age old sweet science, the gym offers martial arts, group fitness classes, Capoiera, Krav Maga and is a home to many youth in the Long Branch community.
Gleason’s Jersey Shore gym is known as the “Home of Champions” where Boxing is tradition. In addition to training amateur and professional boxers, this location hosts the New Jersey Give a Kid a Dream program and is the training center for the Monmouth University Collegiate boxing team.
Where did it all begin? In September 1999, in the basement of the Annex school on Third Avenue in Long Branch. Jackie Atkins began volunteering at the Long Branch PAL Boxing Club assisting Navy Boxer Donald Lee. Coach Lee dedicated many years to the boxing program and when his health began to fail, Atkins was compelled to keep the doors open and keep the boxing program alive. At the time Officer Julio Cruz and now Captain Mike McGlennon were Long Branch Police Department Youth advocates and huge supporters of the program. Atkins had no idea how this small gesture would redirect her focus on a personal and professional level. Enrollment increased year over year and the program moved to the old Gregory School on Joline Avenue in Long Branch. The decision was made to convert the Gregory school into senior housing so again the program was in the need of a home. At this time economic constraints impacted the city as a whole and funding was cut across the board. Atkins and the team of volunteers were determined to keep the program alive, now serving over 50 youth and families in the city. The team located rental space in the old Pearl Gym warehouse in Long Branch and began renovating the space.
In 2005 Atkins participated in the Gleason’s Fantasy Boxing Camp with the focus on enhancing boxing program in Long Branch and surrounding communities. This marked the beginning of the business relationship and very special friendship with Gleason’s Brooklyn owner Bruce Silverglade and his wife Jo Ellen. The collaboration birthed the Gleason’s Jersey Shore Boxing gym and the New Jersey Give a Kid a Dream Program. Atkins and Silverglade partnered to continue Atkins’ efforts to revive boxing on the Jersey Shore and provide a safe haven for youth.
The program blossomed under the Jacklyn’s leadership while in parallel the Jersey Shore location increased enrollment and programming. The program reaffiliated itself with the National USA Boxing Association. Atkins integrated the physical fitness aspects of Olympic and Professional boxing, Martial Arts, Emotional wellness and personal excellence under one roof. The success stories are many.