Student Cuts Lawns for Elderly at No Charge to Give Back to Community: 'I Found My Purpose'
When Rodney Smith saw an elderly man struggling to mow his lawn in the hot Alabama sun last summer, he knew he had to do something about it.
So Smith, a 27-year-old originally from Bermuda, crafted a Facebook appeal, asking friends if they knew anyone elderly, disabled, with veteran status or a single mom who needed their lawn cut for free.
Within the week, he was mowing the lawn of an elderly woman. In a year, his team has mowed roughly 1,000 lawns through his organization, Raising Men Lawn Care Service, a non-profit organization.
The goal of the organization is to help people and enlist young volunteers to teach the importance of giving back. He has recruited more than 50 Alabama children and has started chapters in six other states – all through Facebook.
“My goal first was to reach 40 lawns, but I reached that so quickly so I changed my goal to 100, and then a month and a half later I reached that,” Smith told InsideEdition.com. “It’s impacted me greatly.
"I love giving back to the people, especially elderly folks who can’t afford things because they are on a fixed income. They can use the money for things they actually need, like medication.”
A GoFundMe page that Smith started to purchase supplies for his organization has raised more than $56,000 of its $60,000 goal.
On Facebook, Smith posts photos of children in different states whose parents send pictures of them participating in the effort, even toddlers with toy mowers.
He explained that part of the Bermudian culture is to give back and that he is trying to teach other kids the same lesson.
Smith recently changed careers from computer science to social work after the effort made him realize his true passion is to assist others.
“When I first started, I only had my car and my lawn mower. I was cutting grass between classes. I was a college student. This got me wanting to go back for my master's in social work because I believe I found my purpose in life, and that's helping people,” said Smith.