Palatine's own 'Neon Ninja' to appear in nonprofit superhero 5K to help end suburban homelessness

  • Tavares Chamliss, American Ninja Warrior's "Neon Ninja," hoists Emily Labedz, development associate at JOURNEYS. Chambliss will appear at JOURNEYS the Road Home's Superhero 5K on June 16.JOURNEYS the Road Home

    Tavares Chamliss, American Ninja Warrior's "Neon Ninja," hoists Emily Labedz, development associate at JOURNEYS. Chambliss will appear at JOURNEYS the Road Home's Superhero 5K on June 16.JOURNEYS the Road Home

Updated 6/5/2018 8:09 AM

American Ninja Warrior Tavares Chambliss has partnered with JOURNEYS | The Road Home

Submitted by JOURNEYS | The Road Home


PALATINE, IL, (JUNE 4, 2018) -- JOURNEYS | The Road Home, a homeless service organization committed to individually assessing and serving the homeless and near-homeless in north/northwest suburban Cook County, is organizing its 11th annual 5K fun run/walk to take place on Saturday, June 16 at 8:30 a.m. in the Palatine Towne Square. This year, Tavares Chambliss, 36, of Palatine, better known as American Ninja Warrior's "Neon Ninja," will join ranks with staff and race registrants as a superhero for the homeless.

Chambliss, who grew up in Wheeling and attended Harper College, is no stranger to the harrowing realities of homelessness often amplified by a number of fortified barriers to stability, including poverty, domestic violence and a shortage of affordable housing. Prior to partnering with JOURNEYS in the effort to raise awareness and crucial funding for life-sustaining and life-changing programs, Chambliss and his mother periodically distributed homemade care packages in backpacks containing food and essential hygiene supplies to the homeless on the West side of Chicago.

Joining JOURNEYS in the fight to end the invisble plight of the suburban homeless throughout his own hometown and surrounding communities struck Chambliss as the distinctive next step in his adventure all the way to the top of famed Mt. Midoriyama on the national hit TV show American Ninja Warrior.

Chambliss, an accomplished athlete, personal trainer and acclaimed Neon Ninja makes tackling challenging obstacles look effortless and easy. For those facing homelessness or the risk of losing their homes due to eviction or foreclosure, tackling great obstacles with poise and prowess is not always possible, and many more families today are struggling to triumph in the fight against suburban poverty.

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Like Chambliss, JOURNEYS believes in empowering people to reach their full potential by breaking barriers and promoting healthier, happier lifestyles in the clients they serve-- more than half of whom are women and children experiencing a housing crisis. The agency connects people to critical services including emergency shelter, affordable housing, showers, clothing, ongoing food and welfare assistance, long-term case management and transportation vouchers, among a multitude of other resources.

According to the Brookings Institute, there are now more people living in poverty in suburban contexts outside of major metropolitan areas than there are people living in poverty in big cities, including Chicago.

This past winter, demand for JOURNEYS' supportive services outpaced the available space in the agency's network of emergency PADS shelters, necessitating the implementation of a lottery system for entry into the the shelters for the first time in its 29-year history. The agency welcomed the highest number of individuals and families during this period than ever before and also housed a record 164 people, making this year one for the record books.

Chambliss is no stranger to setting records, stretching limits, beating odds and exceeding remarkable goals and the agency looks forward to partnering with him to make their superhero 5K the biggest and best to date. Chambliss will be leading participants in a warmup and commencing the race. He will also award first-prize medals and take photos with participants and might bring along other familiar faces from the hit Ninja Warrior franchise.


Participants have the option of completing a 5K or one-mile event. The 5K race is a USATF certified timed race. Tap House Grill in Palatine will host a post-race party complete with free food and drinks for racers.

For more information on JOURNEYS or this event, please visit

About JOURNEYS | The Road Home

JOURNEYS | The Road Home is a non-profit agency that provides shelter, social services and housing to the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in 37 towns in north/northwest suburban Cook County. The mission of JOURNEYS is to individually assess and serve its clients, while broadening community awareness and involvement. The agency consists of the PADS Shelter Program, the HOPE Center Supportive Services Program, and the Pathways Housing Readiness Program focusing on intervention and assistance for those in need. In 2016-2017, we provided over 26,000 clinical services to 847 people across the north and northwest suburbs of Cook County.

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