Rodney Smith, Jr.'s free lawn care service for the elderly and infirm doubles as a mentoring program for young men.
- Posted on May 13, 2016
When Rodney Smith, Jr. saw an elderly man struggling to mow his lawn last fall, Smith knew he had to do something to help.
The recent Alabama A&M University graduate asked friends on Facebook if they knew any seniors who needed help with lawn care and the response was overwhelming. After a man on Craigslist gifted him a lawnmower, Smith set a goal of mowing 40 lawns. In two months, he’d cut 100 lawns for free.
With the help of local news station WHNT News 19, who gave him $319 for a “pay it forward” segment, Smith launched a youth program and lawn care company called Raising Men Lawn Care. Through the program, Smith now mentors 20 young men from ages 7-17, building their self-esteem and teaching them the importance of community. Each of the young men manage lawn care services for seniors, single mothers, the disabled and the infirm every two weeks for no charge.
Smith says that his helping spirit comes from his upbringing in Bermuda. “Everybody helps everybody, if they can,” he tells Al.com. He immigrated to the United States in 2009 and just graduated with a degree in computer science this month, with plans to return to get his master’s in social work. “All of this [community service] made me want to do social work,” he says. “I love helping people.”
His plans to have Raising Men Lawn Care become a “global movement,” are well underway, as people nationwide and around the world have reached out to Smith to start their own chapters. Check out his video to see how you can help: