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How the American Ninja Warrior community inspires kindness every day

American Ninja Warrior Junior - Season 1 Photo by: Eddy Chen/Universal Kids/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Today is World Kindness Day, which made me think about all the big and small ways that Ninjas impact their communities. Every single day, Ninjas are out there making a difference in the world and supporting each other and it’s one of my favorite things about ANW.

In a recent interview with Jessie Graff, she said: “I’ve found that one of the questions I get asked most is ‘everyone seems really warm and supportive on the show—is that true?’ They’re suspicious. And honestly, I always tell them it’s even truer in real life. It doesn’t even capture the level of love and support that we have in this community. Being able to get a deeper look at the relationships between the gyms and the Ninjas and just how new people are just brought in and supported will be really cool.”

What’s even cooler is that young Ninjas are growing up with some fantastic role models. “When I did Ninja Jr. this summer, I worked with so many kids who are just immersed in this world, who have been doing it for 5-6 years—they’re like 11 and they’ve been doing it for half their lives—and the maturity of these kids, they’d get to the top of the wall and it was a close race and the kid that wins, Akbar would be like ‘how’d you do it, that was amazing!’ and they’d slap the other kid on the back and be like ‘this guy was so amazing, he pushed me to my limits, and he had this incredible move.’ They were just so incredibly supportive beyond anything I’ve seen from an 11-year-old,” Jessie said. “I think that it’s so cool to see how that community was built and established on ANW and now it’s a whole community. We’re getting to see these kids who have grown up in that community and they’re not picking on each other or beating each other up, they’re coaching each other. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.”

From showing up at local competitions to supporting causes that are important to them, here are a few of the ways Ninjas have spread a little kindness lately.

Adam Rayl participated in the Grand Opening of the first public Ninja park and made time to take a picture with one of his biggest fans.

Zhanique Lovett showed her support for veterans at a local 8K race.

Tiana Webberley and the Wolfpack Ninjas are always doing something to inspire kids to be healthier.

How cool that some of the biggest names in Ninja came together to run a camp for kids!

And sometimes, they bravely share their stories in hopes that it helps someone else.

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i’m falling out of my body still. slipping. silently my forehead is full of tears desperate to escape this tiny fish tank where my frontal lobe should be everything is fuzzy like i’m buzzed but all I have in my hands is a decaf peppermint latte i’m too warm i’m too warm i’m too warm it’s as if the dams are about to burst like my body is about to expel melted precious metals leaving ash and burning holes in my skin i write and romanticize my tendency to tremble but it’s different when the pain is so desperate to escape my body that it uses an earthquake as a distraction . -Barclay Stockett #barclaywrites ——————————————— Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay and with that being said, I want to share a little of my own story. Only the closest people to me know that I have struggled off and on with anxiety and depression since I was 20 years old. Most of the time I don’t feel it, I don’t even think about it, until it hits me out of the blue and usually stays for months at a time. I wrote this poem immediately following an anxiety attack last November, and it helped me to feel like I had captured what my anxiety attacks feel like, that I would finally be able to explain to those who haven’t experienced them. I hope if you have struggled or are struggling with anxiety, depression, or any other mental illness that this poem brings you some comfort that you aren’t alone. You are loved, friend. We are all in this together ❤️

A post shared by Barclay Stockett✨ (@sparklyninja) on

Whether it’s a behind-the-scenes moment that the camera never catches or a public event, the Ninjas are an inspiring group. How have they inspired you?