The Joseph Group

Inspiring an Army of Young Volunteers

May 3, 2024

To Inspire:

During his senior year in college Rodney Smith Jr. saw an elderly man struggling to mow his lawn and pulled over to help. That act of kindness prompted Smith to start mowing lawns for others for free. Today, Smith leads a nationwide organization inspiring thousands of young people to mow lawns in their communities.

Based in Huntsville, Alabama, Smith’s Raising Men & Women Lawn Care Service helps anyone who needs it. Back in 2017, Smith decided to take his idea nationwide, and personally mowed at least one lawn for free in each of the 50 states.

Since that first tour of the country, Smith has completed more than 10 U.S. tours, raising awareness of, and raising money for charities supporting issues like breast cancer and veterans’ issues. On these tours Smith cuts grass with custom-painted lawn mowers, then auctions the mowers to raise money.

Smith also has a “mow with a cop” initiative encouraging stronger community relations with law enforcement.

These tours ultimately turned into the 50 Yard Challenge. This challenges young people ages 8 to 17 across the country to commit to mowing 50 lawns in their community for free for anyone in need of help.

“When I first started the organization, I really didn’t have a clear vision,” Smith said. “But as it started to go on, I realized the vision was to encourage kids.” Participants get a t-shirt and ear and eye protection when they sign up. The kids post photos of each lawn completed and get a different color t-shirt for each 10 lawns they do. Smith hopes the program will keep kids on a positive path and teach them to be leaders through service to others.

More than 5,000 kids across the United States and in eight other countries have taken the challenge, mowing lawns, raking leaves, and shoveling snow for free.

One requirement of the challenge is participants must find their own lawns to mow. It is important to Smith to inspire the kids to go out and meet people they may otherwise never meet.

With all of this lawn mowing success, it’s hard to believe that mowing lawns was a chore Smith disliked growing up. “God took something I disliked and turned it into something now I love to do,” he said.

Smith would love to expand his tours to all seven continents, and he hopes to get even more young people involved with the challenge. He now has a children’s book telling his story and encouraging caring and kindness.

The organization is a 501(c)(3) and you can find them online at weareraisingmen.com if you’re interested in learning more.

Such a simple act turned into so much good in the world, truly an inspiration!





Written by Michelle O’Brien, Manager of Marketing & Communications



Source: Kinder, Gabriel. He mowed his way across the country. Now Rodney Smith Jr. has an army of young volunteers cutting grass for those in need. CNN.com.