Helping others can be as simple as spotting a need and then doing what you can to fulfill it.
Take Alabama resident Rodney Smith Jr., for example. While out driving one day, he just happened to notice an elderly man struggling to mow his lawn. Smith decided to pull over and mow the man’s lawn for him on the spot. That act of service then led to something amazing — a foundation dedicated to helping the elderly, disabled, veterans, and single mothers nationwide.
Since that day, Smith has visited all 50 states to provide free lawn care, and he has even inspired youth to follow in his footsteps.
His foundation, Raising Men Lawn Care Service, encourages youth to join a “50-yard challenge” to mow 50 lawns for free in their city for those in need. He also provides them incentives along the way. Smith tells Babble that once a young person decides to help, he or she is asked to make a sign saying “I accept the 50-yard challenge.” The foundation then sends them a t-shirt along with shades and ear protection to wear when they mow the lawns.
How cool is that? I know my 10-year-old son would be all over this.
“Once they mow 10 lawns, they earn an orange shirt; 20 lawns earns a green, 30 a blue, 40 a red, and 50 earns a black shirt,” Smith explains.
Not only that — once they earn a black shirt, someone from the foundation will fly to them, mow additional lawns with them, and then give them their own brand new lawn mower for future endeavors!
According to Smith, the idea for Raising Men Lawn Care Service came to him after he had a “one-on-one convo with God” and asked to be used as a vessel for good. Smith admits that he did not receive an answer to his prayer right away. In fact, his “mission” didn’t become clear to him until years later when he mowed the lawn for that man in need, and then watched a documentary about a man who traveled the world doing acts of kindness for others.
“Something went off in my head,” he tells Babble. “Fifty states, 50 lawns.”
And so began his travels to all 50 states in search of those who could use a helping hand and a freshly cut lawn.
Smith says the foundation finds those in need of their services through social media and their website, and notes that there is a “great need” nationwide.
“One thing I love about this is meeting new people and hearing their story,” he says.
With all 50 states now under his belt, Smith plans to visit the rest of the world with his mower!
“Next year, I am planning seven continents, seven lawns,” he says.
Smith says he also hopes to encourage kids worldwide to take part in the 50-yard challenge.
“I would like to let kids know that an idea as simple as mowing a lawn can make a huge difference in the world,” he says.
His advice to kids is that if they are thinking of something that they could do to help another, to “just go out there and do it.” It’s a simple concept, but how amazing would it be if we all acted on our inclinations to do good, each and every time?
By acting on his inspiration to help an elderly man tend to his lawn that day, Smith has found a way to make a real difference in the world — and inspire the next generation to follow in his well-traveled, grass-clipping-covered footsteps.