Upon the elderly woman’s discharge from the hospital, facing financial constraints, she received comforting assurance from two benevolent men who pledged to regularly mow her lawn without any cost.
Rodney Smith Jr. and Terrence Stroy diligently visit every fortnight to ensure the proper maintenance of her lawn, but more importantly, to convey a heartfelt message of love and care.
“During our visit today, we tended to this lady’s yard. She shared with us that her neighbor was charging her for lawn care, which she couldn’t afford as she relies on a fixed income and had recently been discharged from the hospital,” Rodney expressed.
Additionally, she shared her distressing experiences of being harassed by her neighbor for payment. Fortunately, she can now find solace in knowing that Raising Men Lawn Care Service will take care of her lawn at no cost, just as they do for all other lawns, ensuring it is maintained every two weeks. This newfound relief means she can allocate her finances towards vital needs like medication.
Rodney and Terrence operate Raising Men Lawn Care, a nonprofit organization committed to demonstrating kindness and compassion to elderly individuals, the disabled, single mothers, and veterans by providing complimentary lawn mowing services.
Rodney’s involvement in lawn care started when he observed an elderly man facing significant difficulties while trying to mow his own yard. This encounter sparked a realization within him: “I need to take action.” He set a personal goal to mow 40 lawns free of charge, aiming to assist elderly individuals and those who struggled with lawn maintenance. What initially began as a personal challenge soon transformed into a widespread initiative, involving over 400 young men and women from across the United States, all dedicated to mowing their neighbors’ lawns without charge.
Rodney introduced The 50 Yard Challenge, a call to action for children and teenagers across the nation to mow 50 lawns for individuals in need. Participants are invited to join by sharing a photo online, holding a sign that proudly declares, “I accept the 50 Yard Challenge,” and then embarking on their mission.
“For instance, if a child in New York accepts the challenge, all they have to do is create a sign with the words ‘I accept the 50 Yard Challenge.’ As a token of appreciation, we send them a white Raising Men Lawn Care Service T-shirt, along with sunglasses and ear protection. After mowing 10 lawns, they earn an orange shirt; at 20 lawns, a green one; 30 lawns, a blue one; 40 lawns, a red one, and upon reaching the milestone of 50 lawns, they receive a black shirt. Once they achieve the 50-lawn goal, we fly to their location, mow lawns together, and gift them brand-new lawnmowers,” Rodney elaborated on the rewarding progression of the challenge.
Raising Men Lawn Care aspires not only to assist those in need by tending to their lawns but also to establish an inspiring program that guides and empowers our young generation, both boys and girls, instilling in them a positive direction while fostering an understanding of their significance in society.
Rodney expressed his intent by saying, “I simply aim to motivate kids to make a meaningful impact. Far too many children spend their time indoors, engrossed in video games. What I’m doing, I believe, is my purpose. A few years ago, I had a personal conversation with God, where I asked to be a vessel for His work. His response didn’t come that day, nor in the following weeks or even months. It happened years later in 2015 when I encountered an elderly man struggling to mow his lawn. I pulled over and assisted him. At that time, I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree in computer science, and I initially set a goal to mow 40 lawns by the end of winter. However, I accomplished that goal much faster than anticipated, prompting me to raise my target to 100 lawns. Within a month and a half, I reached my 100th lawn, and that’s when the concept of Raising Men Lawn Care Service was born.”
Engaging in the 50 Yard Challenge provides young individuals with an opportunity to comprehend the significance of kindness and serving those in need.
Rodney emphasized the impact of the challenge by stating, “I make sure they understand that they are truly making a difference. I recall a particular young participant in Huntsville, my home base, who initially expressed reluctance, saying, ‘I don’t want to do this.’ However, after completing his first lawn, which happened to be for an elderly gentleman, I asked him on camera how it felt to realize that he had made a difference. His face instantly lit up, and he enthusiastically exclaimed, ‘Did you see his face just now? I finished mowing his lawn, and he had a big smile and thanked me. Oh man, oh man.’ Witnessing the sheer joy on his face after completing that first lawn is absolutely priceless, and we receive similar reactions from many other kids as well. It’s truly remarkable to witness how a simple idea has evolved into something that inspires children not just nationwide, but worldwide.”
Recently, Rodney made the decision to embark on a journey across all 50 states, offering his assistance in mowing lawns for those in need.
“Before commencing the tour, I reached out to my followers and requested their help in identifying individuals in each city and state I would be visiting. People began submitting lawns belonging to the elderly, disabled individuals, single mothers, and veterans. That’s how it all came together. On average, I mow three to four lawns in each city, although there are instances where the number exceeds that,” Rodney explained.
His tour has already gifted him numerous cherished experiences and lasting memories.
Rodney recalled a recent encounter where he met a widow who had neglected her lawn since her husband’s passing several years ago.
“She had let the lawn go because her husband used to handle its maintenance,” Rodney shared. “However, I took the initiative and mowed it for her. It had been left untouched for approximately three to four years.”
To witness a portion of Rodney’s remarkable journey and the impact he makes, please watch the attached video titled “You are Loved.”