Dec. 5—As a mother, wife and woman of God, Brittany Hankinson continues to make an impact with the children in the Aiken community.
Hankinson is the wife of James Hankinson and the mother of Tyriona, Jabreiona and James. She also helps children with the Hankinson Boxing Gym's "Gloves Up, Gloves Down" initiative Monday through Thursday.
Hankinson Boxing Gym offers amateur boxing training as well as fitness training, tutoring, Bible study, career development, sex education, mentoring, life skills, nutrition classes and more.
"What I love most about giving back to my community is being able to see the smiles on people's faces when they receive my help," Brittany Hankinson said.
She was born and raised in Aiken and graduated from Aiken High School. Working and serving the community, all while being a mom, can be a lot to handle, but Hankinson said she finds a way to do it all.
"I tie it all together. My kids are a part of the boxing gym, so I'm always with my kids," Hankinson said.
She added she mostly helps with the children in the boxing program, but they participate in different activities like working on homework, taking trips to the movies, going skating and going out to eat at different restaurants.
Hankinson said they try to do different things just to make it fun. In her free time, she enjoys shopping, eating, sleeping, watching TV and reading.
Donna Moore-Wesby has known Hankinson for roughly eight years and said she would describe her "as a Proverbs 31 young woman — she is extremely loving and caring, and she's very humble and unique, a very gentle woman."
"She and her husband are unselfish people; and as a wife and a mother, she still is able to balance very well. She still makes the time every day to care for other people's children and to be very much hands on to make sure other people's children, in addition to her own, can succeed in life with support and help," Moore-Wesby said.
Hankinson said after having kids of her own she wanted to set a better example. When working with other children, she said she has to set a better example because kids always look up to older people.
Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon said Hankinson is always caring for others, willing to reach out and help those in need and is a "wonderful role model" for the young people she is around — from her own kids to the athletes who participate in the Hankinson Boxing Gym.
Osbon has known Hankinson and her husband for six years and said there are so many ways she has made an impact in the community. Osbon and Moore-Wesby met Hankinson and her husband through the boxing gym program.
"She has made an impact by her willingness to serve the needs of others and by being an outstanding role model for young women within our community," Osbon said.
Moore-Wesby said looking at the numbers of children the Hankinsons have impacted, whether it's one or 100, Brittany has helped to keep at-risk children involved in constructive activities to keep them out of trouble. The couple has helped the Aiken community be safer, and they teach young people the value of life and that their lives matter, she said.
Hankinson said she would like to be remembered for helping children. Her favorite childhood memory was spending time with her grandmother, Catherine Jones, who made the biggest impact in her life.
"She instilled in me good values, like how to believe in God, how to be a woman, cook and clean up. She instilled good values I could use later on in life," Hankinson said.
Hankinson has attended Bible Way Church of Aiken since 2009.
Growing up, Hankinson said she face trials and tribulations. The most difficult obstacle Hankinson had to get through in life was giving birth to her daughter in 2014 and her passing away.
"Don't blame yourself, and always take care of yourself; and trust in God because it's his timing," Hankinson said.
Hankinson added her children motivate her to keep going every day.
"In terms of her example, I would love for young ladies to look at Brittany as a living example of someone in our own area who can be a loving wife and mother but also someone who recognizes the Godly values of serving others," Moore-Wesby said. "... My spiritual belief is that the greatest among us will serve, and Brittany is great because she serves and without complaining."
Hankinson said the boxing gym program has a lot of success stories to come out of it. Some of the children that entered the boxing program have graduated and attended college. One person became an active member in the military, and some earn their permits and drivers licenses, she said.
The Hankinson Boxing Gym's "Gloves Up, Guns Down" program has been open since May 2015. Participants can sign up for a membership with USA Boxing, and the gym accepts children beginning at the age of 8.
For ages 8 to 17, the gym is open from 4 to 6 p.m. There is also an adult class option from 7 to 9 pm Monday through Thursday.
"When young people see others — especially those who are not their biological parents — who are willing to take time with them, to teach them, to guide them, to mold them, and to help them experience things they've never experienced before, it's a tremendous impact and one that can virtually be priceless," Moore-Wesby said.
She added the impact made on the children the Hankinsons help will multiplied once those children grow up and become parents one day, and they will get to pass on the life lessons that Hankinson and her husband have taught them.
"We'll never be able to truly measure, in quantity, the impact they they've made, we just know it is significant," Moore-Wesby said.