Rodney Smith is motivating young people to accept the "50 Yard Challenge" and join him.
One day, Rodney Smith was driving past an elderly man who was having trouble mowing his lawn. So Smith stepped out of his car to lend a helping hand. This simple act of kindness would not only inspire Smith to continue mowing lawns for others in need, but to also launch a country-wide program for young men and women to help out in their communities
Smith initially challenged himself to mow the lawns of veterans, the handicapped, the elderly, and single moms in 50 states — a task he succeeded at thanks to supporters along the way. But this year, the graduate in computer sciences wants to do it all again while motivating others to join his cause. So he set up the Raising Men Lawn Care Service, which aims to “establish an inspiring program to keep our youth (girls and boys) on a positive path while learning and understanding their value in society.”
It’s a program that takes us back to what a community truly is: looking out for the vulnerable, while taking care of our surroundings. As Smith said to CNN: “This is what I believe my purpose is in life.” So he goes into schools and community centers to talk of his challenge, and he is quickly gaining support.
His program encourages kids to accept the “50 yard challenge” to get mowing, offering them protective goggles and a white t-shirt to get them started. Their smiling faces signing up to the challenge are posted all over the association’s Instagram page. Yet, he is also challenging kids to push themselves further by issuing different colored t-shirts as the child mows more and more lawns — similar to the belt-system in martial arts. With 150 kids already signed up, and 2,000 lawns mowed to date, Smith is making an impact.
The Fedaralist reported last Tuesday that Smith is already halfway through this year’s challenge, by mowing the lawns of those in need in 25 states. Yet, what sets this kind-hearted man apart is the real sense of satisfaction he gets from helping others. He regularly posts on the association’s Facebook page photos of those he’s helped. His posts always start with “I had the pleasure of mowing a lawn for … ” For him, servicing yards is not a chore, but an opportunity to look out for others. As he says: “Making a difference, one lawn at a time.”