In Warner Robins, Georgia, a 9-year-old boy is making connections with his community by mowing lawns. As part of a service initiative called the “50 Yard Challenge,” Jesse Ward is reaching out to elderly and disabled neighbors, veterans, single moms, and health care workers.
“Some people, they can’t cut their grass, they have to hire somebody to do it,” the boy told 13 WMAZ. Jesse is offering his services for free.
The 50 Yard Challenge was started by Rodney Smith Jr. of Alabama and the youth initiative Raising Men Lawn Care Service (RMLCS). The challenge invites boys and girls aged 7 to 17 to step up by sending a photo of themselves holding a sign saying, “I accept the 50 Yard Challenge.”
RMLCS then sends a white T-shirt, earplugs, and safety glasses as a “starter kit.” Kids can earn a different colored shirt for every 10 lawns mowed, culminating in a black shirt for completion of the challenge.
After reaching 50 lawns, each child will also receive a visit from RMLCS team members, plus a brand-new lawn mower, weed eater, and blower.
“One person said, ‘This is the best my yard has ever looked,’” a proud Jesse told the news outlet. “And then the other person said, ‘My yard looks really good, thank you.’”
On Aug. 4, Jesse’s parents, Jennifer and Richard, started a Facebook page for their son to keep track of his progress, and for people who need their lawns mowed to connect with him.
Jesse has set himself an additional challenge: he plans to mow 50 lawns by the end of October. He seems set to meet his target; his Facebook page has nearly 500 followers.
The satisfaction of a job well done hasn’t been Jesse’s only reward. Since his venture went public, the industrious 9-year-old has received notes, gifts, and donations from well-wishers to help him along.
Jennifer says her son enjoys paying it forward. “Just because he feels good about himself doing it … it makes me feel good that it makes him happy,” she explained.
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