Rodney Smith Jr. is on a mission to change the world, one lawn at a time.
It was 2015 when Smith, then 26, came up with his idea. Smith was driving home from school one day near his home in Huntsville, Alabama, when he saw an elderly man struggling to mow his lawn. Without giving it a second thought, Smith pulled over and helped. The man was so grateful that Smith realized how difficult it was for many people to keep up with the basic lawn care and maintenance.
"There are so many people who are elderly, disabled, single moms, and veterans who cannot afford to pay for lawn care service," said Smith on his Instagram account. For many of those folks, it can be a choice between paying for expensive lawn care or paying the fines imposed by the local government for not keeping their lawns in order.
Smith wrote a post on Facebook letting people in his community know that he wanted to offer free lawn care services for those in need who lacked the time, ability or resources to maintain their own yards. He set a personal goal to mow 40 yards. Within two months, he had mowed over 100.
A few months later, Smith founded Raising Men Lawn Care Service with the mission to inspire boys (and girls) to help their neighbors in need. This year, he took things one step further by organizing the 50 Yard Challenge, inspiring kids worldwide to mow 50 lawns for free for people in their community who are elderly, disabled, veterans or single moms.
The challenge has a reward system similar to the belts used in the martial arts. Kids are rewarded with a new colored T-shirt for every 10 lawns they cut until they reach their goal of 50 lawns. Once they hit that milestone, they get a black T-shirt, a visit from Smith, and a brand new lawnmower to continue their work. Smith and his co-founder, Terrence Stroy, keep Raising Men Lawn Care going via donations from private sponsors and through dollars raised on their GoFundMe account.
There are currently around 60 kids participating in the Huntsville chapter of Raising Men Lawn Care, another six chapters operating across the state and more kids pledging to take part every day as word spreads about Smith and his mission.
Recently, Smith decided to spread the word about Raising Men Lawn Care Service to every corner of the country by volunteering to mow a lawn for someone in need in all 50 U.S. states. He estimates that he and his team have now mowed over 1,000 lawns across the country.
Smith embarked on his journey in early May by mowing a lawn for an elderly woman in Fulton, Mississippi, and then finished up his national tour by mowing a lawn for a quadriplegic man in Honolulu, Hawaii. In less than two months, Smith mowed lawns in every state in the country, sharing his mission with people of all ages.
And he's not stopping there. No sooner did he get back from his national tour then he announced his lawn-mowing plans for next summer:
There's a famous quote that says "Don't tell me the sky is the limit when there's foot prints on the moon". With that being said I would like to officially announce that plans for next year are under way, "7 Continents 7 Lawns". Similar to 50 States 50 Lawns, but this time mowing one lawn on each continent .The goal of Raising Men Lawn Care Service is to encourage kids to get out there and make a difference in their community one lawn at a time by mowing lawn FREE for the elderly, disabled, single moms and veterans in their community . So many people have reached out to me world wide wishing they had RMLCS in their country or kids taking part in the 50 yard challenge near them, so the best way to get more kids involved and inspire others is to go there . The goal is to spend 4 days in each place, 2 full days of mowing lawns then 2 days visiting schools and other organization talking to kids about Raising Men Lawn Care Service and letting kids know that with just a lawn mower they too can also make a difference one lawn at a time . The FREE lawn care service that we provide to the elderly, disabled, single parent moms and veterans isn't just a need here in the USA, but a need world wide. The countries on each continent listed on the picture are just an idea for now, some are for sure while 1-2 of them might be switched. The logistics will take some time to plan out. Some might be wondering about Antarctica(Lol) . In the fall and winter we rake leaves and and for the cities/states where it snows, we shovel snow from drive ways. But I have been informed recently there are Lawns there . This might seem like an impossible task to some, but I am a firm believer that when God gives you an idea, it's for a reason . 50 States 50 Lawns was his idea and look at the impact it has had. We were also able to get 20+ new kids to take part in the 50 yard challenge while I've been doing 50 States 50 Lawns. The goal like I said before is to encourage kids that they too can make a difference with a lawn mower, one lawn at a time . To our RMLCS family around the world , See you next year 2018, 7 Continents 7 Lawns .
That's right, Smith will mow lawns for people in need on all seven continents, spreading his mission, and changing the world, one lawn at a time.