Here’s an uplifting article by Roy Berendsohn of Popular Mechanics.
As a college student, Rodney Smith, Jr. started cutting grass for those who couldn’t. Now he can’t stop.
When family finances crumble, a marriage breaks, or disability strikes, one of the first places those problems show up is in the lawn. As much as we love them, the lawn ranks low in terms of priorities compared to buying food or medicine. When something has to give, what gives is a family’s lawn. It gets knee high and contributes to a sense of hopelessness.
That’s where Rodney Smith, Jr. steps in. While as a student at Alabama A&M, he stopped one broiling hot summer day to help an elderly neighbor mow the lawn. His life hasn’t been the same since. Several years since that day, he’s mowed what seems like a countless number of lawns and not charged a nickel for any of them. He’s also discovered his life’s calling. Smith Jr. went on to get a master’s degree in social service work and founded an organization that inspires kids all over the country to help others with their lawn work.
His free lawn-cutting service is named Raising Men Lawn Care Service (RMLCS). The name reflects that fact that at its inception, the service sought to inspire at-risk kids to take a path of public service. RMLCS will, free of charge, mow, rake leaves and shovel snow for the disabled, the elderly, single mothers, and veterans who need help.
His efforts have brought national attention from national news outlets and bloggers. He’s also gone on a lawn-mowing tour and mowed in all 50 states to raise awareness of the need for young people to help others. The RMLCS website reports that 150 kids have joined its 50-lawn challenge, 53,000 people are supporting the effort, and 2,000 lawns have been mowed. The mission has also attracted the attention and support of Briggs & Stratton, the world’s largest manufacturer of small engines. It equipped Smith Jr. with one of its Snapper brand mowers, a machine he calls the Red Beast.
Smith Jr. remains unfazed by the attention. He just sticks by the mission statement on his modest website: Making a difference one lawn at a time.