This man's epic, cross-country lawn mowing mission is changing lives.
The power of a lawn mower and a good deed

He's lending a helping hand to those who need it most. Special thanks to Raising Men Lawn Care Service Huntsville

Posted by Upworthy Presents on Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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.

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.

Smith said his goal in 2019 is to take the lawn care program across the globe.

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.

True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

Biases, stereotypes, prejudices—these byproducts of the human brain's natural tendency to generalize and categorize have been a root cause of most of humanity's problems for, well, pretty much ever. None of us is immune to those tendencies, and since they can easily slip in unnoticed, we all have to be aware of where, when, and how they impact our own beliefs and actions.

It also helps when someone upends a stereotype by saying or doing something unexpected.

Fair or not, certain parts of the U.S. are associated with certain cultural assumptions, perhaps none more pinholed than the rural south. When we hear Appalachia, a certain stereotype probably pops up in our minds—probably white, probably not well educated, probably racist. Even if there is some basis to a stereotype, we must always remember that human beings can never be painted with such broad strokes.

Enter Tyler Childers, a rising country music star whose old-school country fiddling has endeared him to a broad audience, but his new album may have a different kind of reach. "Long Violent History" was released Friday, along with a video message to his white rural fans explaining the culminating track by the same name. Watch it here:

Keep Reading Show less
True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn’t have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women’s rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn’t something we’d choose—and we’d hope others wouldn’t choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

Keep Reading Show less
@frajds / Twitter

Father Alek Schrenk is known as one of the "9 Priests You Need to Follow on Twitter." He proved his social media skills Sunday night after finding a creepy note on a parked car and weaving a lurid Twitter tale that kept his followers on the edge of their pews.

Father Schrenk was making his nightly walk of the church grounds to make sure everything was fine before retiring to the rectory, when he found a car parked by itself in front of the school.

Curious, he looked inside the car and saw a note that made his "blood run cold" attached to the steering wheel. "Look in trunk!" the note read. What made it extra creepy was that the two Os in "look" had smiley faces.

Keep Reading Show less