Lonely Planet Writer

This man is travelling every state in the US mowing lawns for the elderly

A graduate student is currently travelling to every state in the US mowing lawns for people in need free of charge. Rodney Smith, Jr. from Bermuda is a 28-year-old student at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville. He is in the middle of completing his ’50 States 50 Lawns’ challenge, where he mows three lawns in each state for someone who is elderly, disabled, a single mom or a veteran.

Rodney Smith is travelling around the US mowing lawns. Image: 50 States 50 Lawns

He completed the same challenge last year, but this year he has the added goals of teaching young people about lawnmower safety, talking to them about the importance of community service, and encouraging them to take up the challenge to mow 50 yards in their local communities. “I plan to stop at schools and community organisations as I believe it is critical that kids get involved with doing community service and move away from the video games,” he says.

Rodney Smith is encouraging kids to take up the challenge of mowing lawns in their communities. Image: 50 States 50 Lawns

The idea came to Rodney when he was pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer science, and stopped to help a senior man mowing his lawn. He set himself a personal challenge of cutting 100 lawns in the community, and was then inspired to launch an organisation, Raising Men Lawn Care Service, which has a mission to help those in need and inspire young people to do the same.

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Now working towards a master’s degree in social work, Rodney believes that this challenge helps young people to learn valuable skills and the joys of giving back without receiving any monetary benefit. They do so while being mentored by an older adult who encourages them to stay in school and make good life-choices. Rodney plans to embark on his next challenge in the summer of 2019, which will see him travelling to all seven continents providing free yard work and getting more children involved in the programme worldwide.

Rodney Smith is encouraging kids to take up the challenge of mowing lawns in their communities. Image: 50 States 50 Lawns

For further information on Rodney’s progress see here and to learn more about the Raising Men Lawn Care Service see here.