A Huntsville, Alabama, man started mowing lawns for free for those in need in his locale. But it soon turned into a movement with kids from across the country, and beyond, joining in to give back to their communities—one lawn at a time.
Rodney Smith founded Raising Men Lawn Care Service in 2015 to mow lawns, free of charge, for the elderly, the disabled, single parents, and veterans.
The idea was conceived when he came across an elderly man struggling to mow his lawn one day, and Rodney stopped to help him.
“That night, I just decided I’ll start mowing free lawn for the elderly, disabled, single parents, and veterans,” he told The Epoch Times. “And eventually, that one small act of kindness changed my life forever.
“At first, my goal was to mow 40 lawns by the end of winter, but I mowed 40 lawns so quick that I upped my goal to 100.”
A month and a half later, he hit the 100-lawn mark.
“And that’s when the idea of Raising Men Lawn Care Service came about,” Rodney said.
He decided to enlist 30 to 40 kids from Huntsville for the endeavor. Soon, more children started joining—not only locally but nationally, and even worldwide.
He started the “50 Yard Challenge,” where kids are tasked to mow 50 lawns free of charge for those in their community who are in need. Rodney hopes to teach these kids what it means to give back.
“If they accept this challenge, they make a sign saying they accept the challenge and in return, we send them a white Raising Men, or even a Raising Women, T-shirt along with shades and ear protection,” Rodney explained.
The challenge awards kids incrementally for their efforts—after 10 lawns awarding an orange shirt; at 20, a green one; a blue one at 30; a red shirt at 40; and after completing 50 lawns, the kids are awarded a black shirt, plus something special at completion. “I personally deliver them their brand new mower for completing the challenge,” Rodney said.
The effort has already attracted over 1,500 kids worldwide to take the challenge. So far, over 100 have brought the challenge to completion.
Meanwhile, parents really take pride in the kids making such positive contributions to their community, Rodney said.
The endeavor has also beneficially impacted their own lives.
Even during the pandemic, more children continued to join the challenge, allowing them to get outside in the sun and fresh air for some healthy, productive exercise.
The challenge has helped kids who were once isolated and lonely to connect with others in their community.
“I remember one parent in Michigan.” Rodney said. “She told me her son was isolated and he kept to himself. But when he started taking the 50 Yard Challenge, he started becoming friendly with everyone.”
On a more profound note, Rodney expressed his belief that he’s on a mission from God to continue offering kindness to others.
“God turned something I dislike and turned it into something I love to do,” he said. “And every single day I’m outside mowing free lawns for those in need, and it’s a beautiful thing to see kids wanting to do the same.
“No one’s forcing them, and they’re wanting to get out there and make a difference in their community—one lawn at a time.”
Kids aged 7 to 17 can join Raising Men and take part in the 50 Yard Challenge. If you or your child are interested in taking the challenge, you can sign up at: https://weareraisingmen.com.