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Unemployed man's free lawn mowing charity started during COVID has grown to over 16 states
via IWantToMowYourLawn / Instagram

Last year, our partners at Scoop highlighted the wonderful charity work of Brian Schwartz, 40, an advertising executive who lost his job during the first wave of the pandemic. Instead of sitting around the house, Schwartz decided to use his free time to give back to others during troubled times.

He started a lawnmowing service out of the trunk of his family's Jeep for the elderly, disabled veterans, and underprivileged communities — all free of charge.

Taking care of a lawn can be difficult for elderly people, and those with physical ailments, and paying for a gardener can be expensive. Without help, a lawn can grow unruly and create a host of problems. In some communities, people can be fined for letting their lawns grow too high.



"I believe in putting some good into the universe," Schwartz of Wayne, New Jersey, told NorthJersey.com. "I see what's going on in the world, and I just want to help out."

Over the course of a month, his charity quickly grew to become a full-blown non-profit.

In June 2020 he laid out his plans for the charity saying he had "a moonshot vision to scale beyond just one small area of the country — through the help of advisors, volunteers & other network partners."

A year later he achieved his vision. His website, IWantToMowYourLawn.com now connects the elderly, veterans, people in disadvantaged communities, and people with health problems, to free lawnmowers in 16 states, including California, Colorado, and the Carolinas.

People who need assistance in those service areas can simply enter their zip code on the website and be connected to someone who can mow their lawn for free. Currently, he has a backlog of 350 people who've requested complimentary lawn care assistance.

Schwartz recently got a new job as the director of an eCommerce company so it's been a little tough for him to handle both his professional life and the charity.

"We're going through growing pains," he said. "There's a ton of new leads coming in every day."

To help meet the increasing demand, Schwartz has begun to work with professional landscapers that have the means to take the occasional free job without it hurting their bottom line.

Christopher Fuller, 46, heard about Schwartz's charity and now cuts the lawn of a veteran in his community. "It makes me feel great," he said. "It's really nothing for me to go over there." His roster of clients expanded when the veteran's wife asked if he could help a neighbor recovering from knee surgery.

"And I said, 'Yeah, I can do that,'" Fuller said.

Schwartz recently announced on Instagram that he's expanding the service to assist single working parents and medical professionals that serve on the front lines.

Schwartz is a wonderful example of someone who faced a hard time and didn't take it lying down. He may have lost his job but he saw it as an opportunity to give back and it's inspired dozens of people to do so as well.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Democracy

Appalachian mom's speech on Kentucky's proposed abortion ban is a must-hear for everyone

Danielle Kirk is speaking up for those often overlooked in our cultural debates.

Canva, courtesy of Danielle Kirk

Appalachian mom gives passionate speech.

Many people felt a gut punch when the Supreme Court issued its decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the decades-old Roe v. Wade decision that protected a woman's right to an abortion. However, for some this was a call to action.

Danielle Kirk, 27, a mom of two and an activist on TikTok, used her voice in an attempt to educate the people that make decisions in her small town. Kirk lives in Kentucky where a trigger law came into effect immediately after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Being a former foster child, she knew she had to say something. Kirk spoke exclusively with Upworthy about why she decided to speak up.

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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