In 2016, Rodney Smith Jr. went viral after mowing an elderly person’s lawn. Now, he’s trying to start a movement.
It all started when Smith posted a picture on his Facebook page of him with a 93-year-old woman who was no longer able to mow her lawn.
In 2018, he decided to take that gesture across the United States. In May, he started a trip across all 50 states to promote his initiative that "provides free lawn care to our elders, those who are disabled, single mothers, and our veterans, who do not have the time, resources, and/or money to manicure their yards."
On July 17, he finished that 50-state journey and hopes it will inspire others to begin their own stories of service and connection with underserved communities.
Mission Complete . Two months on the road traveling to all 50 states mowing lawns FREE for the elderly, disabled, s… https://t.co/ycXtfioTgv— Rodney Smith Jr (@Rodney Smith Jr) 1531848215.0
His viral moment made a statement. Now, it’s his mission.
Smith used his cross-country trip to promote “We Are Raising Men Lawn Care.” The Alabama native says he’s already signed up 200 kids for his "50 Yard Challenge."
The group provides free lawn mowers and other incentives (T-shirts, parties, public recognition, and a new lawn mower) as the kids complete lawn care services. On his site, Smith says the goal is to bring together kids who want to be of service with people in their communities who need assistance but don’t necessarily know how or where to ask for it.
It might seem strange that lawn care could be the catalyst to bring communities together. But if Smith’s Twitter account is any indicator, he’s made real progress on his journey.
For my third lawn in Jacksonville,FL I had the pleasure of mowing Mr and Mrs. Swart’s lawn for them . So great meet… https://t.co/rwsXC1hhXQ— Rodney Smith Jr (@Rodney Smith Jr) 1528649744.0
I had the pleasure of mowing Mrs.Rivera’s lawn for her in Las Vegas, NV. She told me she loss her husband a few yea… https://t.co/BsdSxs9LGE— Rodney Smith Jr (@Rodney Smith Jr) 1530212731.0
Today I have Frankie, one of our kids taking part in the 50 yard challenge in Des Moines joining me on some yards .… https://t.co/bEsHX04wqw— Rodney Smith Jr (@Rodney Smith Jr) 1531319736.0
Smith said his goal in 2019 is to take the lawn care program across the globe.
What’s next ? There's a famous quote that says,"Don't tell me the sky is the limit when there's a footprint on the… https://t.co/JKiP9PisE9— Rodney Smith Jr (@Rodney Smith Jr) 1531852748.0
It’s easy to feel increasingly separated from our neighbors, but we all need a community to thrive. Being of service is one great way to bridge that gap.
There are countless ways to be of service. Sometimes it's just as simple as showing up.
For many of us growing up, mowing lawns was at best a way to earn a little money and at worst just another chore.
Smith has found a way to transform a seemingly common task into one that can build relationships, communities, and educate people about their neighbors.