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Today I’m talking with Rodney Smith Jr. of Raising Men Lawn Care. I hope this story inspires you to do what you can in your community and, maybe find your calling in the process. Find Raising Men Lawn Care (and donate if you are so moved!) here: https://www.raisingmenlawncareservice.com/
Hey, everybody, I wanted to bring you a guest today just to inspire you to think differently about what you could do that would make a difference in your community. Now, I heard this story, I think I saw it on USA Today or something online. And it’s so inspired me because he was doing just a little thing that ended up becoming a much, much larger thing and really a movement. And so I wanted to bring this to you just to inspire you so that you could start thinking a little bit outside the box of how you could start to help people and maybe turn it into a larger calling. Thanks for listening. Here we go. Welcome to the art of living big. My name is Betsy Pake, entrepreneur, author and personal success coach. This is the show that brings you stories and small ideas to help you live a big life. I hope this once a week podcast will inspire you, motivate you and encourage you to think differently about what could be possible for your life. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now let’s go live big. All right, I have with me today a really special guest. I have Rodney Smith with me on the show. Hey, Rodney, how you doing? Hey, I’m awesome. I’m really excited. You’re here because you have such a cool story. So tell everybody a little bit about yourself.
All right, my name is Rodney Smith, Jr. I’m from the island of Bermuda and currently I am at Alabama and now I’m in 2015 and Lake Park. Um, I saw an elderly man outside cutting his grass. And as I was driving by I stopped and helped him out. And then from that day on, I decided to cut grass free for the elderly, the disabled, single parent moms and veterans. At first, my goal was to reach 40 Lawns by winter because I was cutting in between classes. But I reached 49. so quick that, uh, I got my go to 100 loans, then like a month and a half later, I reached my hundred loans. And that’s when the idea of raising men Lawn Care Service came about. And what we do is we mentor young boys and even young girls ages seven to 17. And we show them the importance of giving back to the community. And that’s basically how everything got started. And we’re about a year a year in right now with raising my lawn care service. So I’m we’re expanding the goal is to get a champion in all 50 states right now we’re in seven states at one country. And then one country is my home in Bermuda. But in the very near future, we hope to get in all 50 states. Okay, so this is really such a cool story. So there’s a lot to unpack that you’ve just said. But first of all, I have to say that that mindset of like seeing somebody that needed something, and yes,
and wanting to help, because a lot of people would just drive by, right. Yeah, I mean, I’ve done that, you know, there was somebody on the road the other day, and I said to my daughter, other broken down, we should stop. But like we had somewhere else to be. So what made you what, what made you stop and go, Wait a minute, this is important.
Well, to tell you the truth. Like when I was driving that day, I wasn’t driving alone, I had a passenger with me. And that passenger happened to be God and to be honest. And he was like running, I want you to stop. So I stopped. And I helped this man Oh, and then as I would drive in whom I can hear him, just tell me Look, this is what I want you to do, I want you to start cutting grass for free. And that night I went home on Facebook. And I told I made a post and if anyone knows anyone who’s elderly, disabled, a single parent, Mom, or veteran, let me know. And I’ll cut the grass for free and people were shocked. You know, at first, I didn’t have a lot more. So I was requiring that the first couple loans I do. All they need to have is a little more and I’ll cut the graph for free but I got more and more requests. And that’s when I went on Craigslist looking for cheap, secondhand more. And I came across one and I wrote the guy. He said do you need a lawn mower? I said yes. And he gave me his number. And I told him I was gonna do yeah and he just gave it to me for free. And he said take I believe in your mission I’m looking for the gentleman today cuz because he’s got his his part of the reason why raising men is raising men today because he he gave me this little more to get me started for free.
Yeah, yeah. Like he believed in you and then the mission.
Yes, you do. So
okay, so you You said you were driving in the car and and God was with you and I you know, everybody that’s there’s probably a lot of people that are listening that have all different kind of viewpoints on on that. And, and I’ll say that sometimes and I call it sometimes like the universe or source or even like my intuition, you know, because I believe that it is the the source energy or the universe or God that gives us that, like that intuition. Like I have to do something. Yeah. And so, like when you heard that, was it really loud? Or was it just sort of a hunch? Like was it like I
because I have had times where I’m like, I cannot
go once Further without listening to this it was is that yeah Matic is that I noticed. Yeah. But when it was like I could see him calm, like it was like a shiny presence. Like, I can’t. It’s hard to explain, but I could just tell it was him because
it just that feeling is just seeing him. I felt like it was just him telling me this is what I want you to do. And yeah, you know, yeah, just
so you did it. Yep. So okay, good. I love this. I am so in love with this story. I’ll read it. So, okay, so then you do it. And then you’re like, I gotta make this happen. But you realized that sometimes like one person having a reaction to something like that really can start like a snowball effect. And you go on Facebook, and you ask people, and then do you keep doing the lawns by yourself? Or how does it work? How did
you? Yeah, first off the first hundred lawns, I don’t hold by myself. Okay, now, once I’ve done my 100 loans, that’s when I came up with the idea of raising men, where we have boys and even young girls take apart the program as well. And then my partner turns he joined during the help. And you know, we just just me and him and a bunch of kids. We have about 60 kids in the homeschool chapter. Yeah.
So now when you you’ve got How do you organize? Like, do you just do it? Like through a Facebook page? Or how do you organize people so they know where to go? And what? How to get everybody?
Oh, well, everything fresh started on Facebook. Now, you know, we got a website, boot and stuff where people can go and sign up, sign up for the loan to get the loan. They are taken care of on our website, we have a legal form that you just fill out. For the kids then we have a signup form for the kids as well. And also for the kids. You know, when they first joined, they start with a white shirt. And then once they cut 10 lawns, they got up on shirt 20 a green 30 a blue 40, a red and 50 a black. So like the karate system? Yeah.
So it’s like you’re moving up your
tissue levels. And then we also, I started a thing called the 50 yard challenge, where kids from around the world, we gave them the challenge if you caught 50 lawns in your city, your country or whatever, for the elderly, disabled, single parent mothers or veterans all for free. You know, once they caught 50, Nolan’s we will send them the shots every time they they cut 10 or 2030 4050. And once they reach 50, we’ll fly down to them, we will give them brand new raising men Lawn Care Service shirts, we will do a lot some a few lawns with them. And we also give them a brand new lawnmower as well. And so far, we have like the three kids to complete the 50 yard challenge. And this summer, the goal is to get about 2020 more kids to complete the 50 yard challenge.
So you’re doing all this and really you’re creating a movement.
Yes. But you’re doing all this while you’re going to college.
Yes, I’m I graduated in 2016 for degree in computer science, but you know, I found my true passion. And that’s helping people. So right now I’m back, back get my master’s in social work.
And you’re still so you’re still in Alabama? Yes, yes. And so I know this summer you have this like 50 yard 50 lawn challenge? Is that like you’re trying to find people in different states? Or are you going to all the different states?
Well, I’ll begin, I got a, I successfully got a loan for each state. This summer, I’ll be doing something called the 50 state 50 loan challenge. I’ll be driving to each state doing one morning each day for someone who’s either elderly, disabled, a single parent, mother or veteran. And this is just to make people more real raising my lawn care service and encourage others to start chapters in their city or state. Yeah, there’s no, there’s so many elderly people, disabled people, single parent moms, and veterans who just can’t afford it. So you know, if someone is able and can donate their time, like one at a time, you know, they should do it.
Yeah. And it really comes down to back to like taking care of each other. And I think that we’ve gone a really far away from that idea. Like that. We’re all connected. We all you know, we’re not just ships passing in the night, we’re really all intertwined. And you know, I’ve said this on the show before and but I truly believe it, and I and I hope that I live it is that, you know, if somebody down the street from me, is suffering in some way, then I can’t fully be everything I’m supposed to be until they’re everything they’re supposed to be and that’s like sort of my mission too. And it’s like well, and that’s like an unusual thing. Where do you think you got that from?
I think it’s just the way I was no raised you know, from an odd number meter. is something called a remedial way. You know, you see someone that’s in need of help you just help them you don’t ask the question, just you just help. Yeah. So that’s where I get what I have, you know,
um, I’ve been to Bermuda. I
ran a marathon. I ran the Bermuda marathon. Yeah. Back in like, yeah, back in like 93 or something like me. It was a long time ago. But yeah, that’s really cool. So when you ever go back to Bermuda?
Yeah, right now, I’m out here on a student visa. You know, I would like to stay out here. But you know, we see if I can get a job once I finished college, but if not, I want to go back home.
Okay. Yeah, yeah. And so are you doing this in Bermuda? Also, do you have?
Yeah, but chapter in Bermuda,
and Bermuda? Okay. Yeah. I didn’t know if that was like, Do you find that that is more the like you were saying it’s the Bermudian way, but do you find that in the United States, we’re much more like, keep to ourselves? We’re not as outwardly sharing like that.
I mean, there’s some people that like that, but um, for the most part, I know, people will hope Oh, you know, yeah, like, I thought, I also do a thing called I do something every Saturday, I go feed the homeless. And I made a post saying, if anyone wants to join, come up with me and feed the homeless, and come along, and we’re about 12 weeks in and people just needed someone to go with they they wanted to do it. Yeah, they just didn’t know how to go about to do it. So I get my outlet. And we have a good decent sized group that goes out every weekend and feeds the homeless. So you know, people want to help, they just don’t know how to.
Yeah, yeah, you’re such a kind soul. Oh, my goodness, like, so. Tell me what are people’s reactions like when they? So somebody like, lets you know that there’s an elderly person that needs their lawn mowed? Or do they reach out themselves? And what’s the reaction that you get?
Well, you know, people that refer people, then the people that contact us themselves. We know a lot of people are shocked. Yeah. They don’t expect anyone to do anything for free. Right? Yeah.
Why are you doing for free?
Yeah. Do you
find Richard? So VX just just take a picture with us? And we’re happy?
Yeah, yeah. So but you find that people probably are a little suspicious,
because that’s how unusual it is. Yeah, you have some people that’s especially a few early people that are referred to us by other people. At first, they’re suspicious, but once they see us, cut the lawn, for free with the kids, and just say, hey, bye bye. And like the shop. Wow, they really can to cut my lawn. And it’s not just a one time thing. We come back every two to three weeks.
So we get like on your regular sad job.
Yeah. So we built that relationship with them. Yeah. Known is nice to you know, cuz love these. I’ll leave folks. Sometimes they’re isolated. Right? No, it’s just them. They don’t have no kids. The kids live in different states. Right. When we buy we cut the grass, we talk to them? You know?
Yeah. Where do you get your money for the gas for the lawn more than the, you know, the T shirts and all that?
donations? You know, a lot generous people have donated to us, which allows us to keep going. And so if somebody is listening, and they want to donate, where would they go? Or they can go on raising men? I mean, we are raising men calm. And we have we are raising men.com.
Okay, we are raising men.com. And I’ll link to it in the show notes too. Yeah. Okay, so that’s one place where people could go, and if they want to start mowing lawns, that’s where they would go also,
exactly, we have a like, if they want to sign their kid up for the $50 challenge, they can go there, all they would need to do is just fill out the form, then have their kid hold a sign saying I accept the $50 challenge. And I will post it and let and post it and post it on my page because I have a good sized following. And everyone will welcome them in. Yeah. And then they would send the pictures every time they do as on and if they want to start a chapter, they can just go on the website underneath the chapter tab and just fill out the form.
Okay, so they could also find a chapter
or there’s no I mean, they can fill out if they want to start a chapter. Yeah, they start calling underneath the raising men Loki servers now. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Cool. So they would just go to your website. And so if someone’s listening, and they think what you’re doing is awesome. They can go there and donate because I’m sure you need money for all of the things that you’re doing and to be able to continue to share with everybody.
Yes, and we also have our Amazon wishlist if anybody wants to like go in there and get like a box of gatorades and send it to us. We have Amazon just with a few things on it.
Okay, cool. And that’s on the site too.
Yes, ma’am. What do you feel like
this has done is this changed you in some way? Um
Well, I wouldn’t say so. It just made me you know, me more we’re have no cuz it’s a lot of people out there that need help and just meet me. There’s so many people I didn’t realize it was this much people. And there’s a lot of people get taken advantage of Especially the elderly people, um, it was one out of the lady, we went to do a lawn, she was telling us a story about a lot more company that was gonna charge her about $200 to cloud on lawn, just at one time. How long wasn’t even that big? Yeah. And she either had to get a fine by the city for not getting along, cut or pay this. Yeah, this company.
Right. So I mean, yeah, you changed your lives. And so many elderly people are on fixed incomes. I’m sure this is like a huge, I hadn’t even thought of that as we first started talking. But that’s like a huge burden that you’re lifting. And money can be such a stressful thing for people on that kind of fixed income
is exactly no fixed income. So once we can come along for free, they can now use those funds for like medications.
things they really need food. Yeah, all of that. So. So how do you think it’s so now you’re noticing more about the world and just about how many people really do need each other? And why do you think it is that we don’t? Why are we so closed up? Why do we not notice that? And I’m at fault? I’m not? I’m absolutely I felt like this is opening my eyes to how else I could possibly help and use my life in a different way. But
why do you think
it is that we as Americans are so insulated and in and looking inward? Really?
Oh, I can’t I can’t really say I’m not. I’ve come across a few people that have the attitude of, Oh, I’m just looking for myself. They only care about themselves. That’s how some people are. I mean, there’s people that care for others. But there’s, I think even more that only care for themselves, right? Yeah,
I wonder, you know, as we’re talking if it’s because
many times, we just don’t know any better, like we do what we do, because that’s all we know. And it may not even be that we don’t want to reach out or we don’t want to help each other. But we don’t even know what to do or where to start.
Yeah. So that’s cool.
Yeah, I wonder like, you know, as you’re talking really starting this movement, maybe opening up a whole new world of people that look outside themselves, you know, we talk a lot about our ripple, like, you throw a stone into water, and it ripples and ripples. And one good thing that you do for somebody equals three good things, you know, and ripples out. And so if somebody is listening, and maybe mowing lawns isn’t their thing, but what are some ideas you think, where they could find something some other way to help people? Do you have any thoughts on that?
Oh, um, just look for look for a need in your community. You know, if you see a need, like, you might, might not be able to cut grass, but you can give someone a ride. You can do other things like, like this past Christmas. Um, what happened like in November, I was at a gas station. I saw I went into gas before I went in the gas station, as soon as man came tapping on my window. And he was asking for help. And he said, he slept in the field right across from the street of the gas station. So I went inside the gas station, and asked the gas attendant, you know, there’s homeless males. I said, he slept outside on the field on. He said, it was really cool. And she confirmed his story. So I went back home that night and said, on my Facebook, I would like to get some jackets donated to me, so I can give it to the homeless. And that was in November. And a lot of people started sending jackets and stuff. Then it came close to Christmas time and people send them more stuff to me to give to him. And it was like I had a whole pack of stuff from Amazon wishlist that people were sending in my dual stack right up top of boxes and stuff. And that Christmas, people were sending in gifts, they wrapped them up, I got a few gifts, wrapped them up myself and I went to I think Walmart and got a Christmas tree that lit up for my car and hook it up to my car and lit it up and just went to different homeless camps and gave them away Christmas gifts on nivola tree. And they were really happy just to receive a gift because many of them have never received the gift before. So I just took that idea and just and ran with it just to help out so I saw a need that in the homeless community. So I’m doing cutting lawns and also helping the homeless community in Huntsville. So those are just two things I saw a need for and I took took it. So you see a need community you can just take action if you’re a way you can do it. Yeah, it’s
it’s really remarkable. Like I’m learning so much just from talking to you. It’s it’s really remarkable. So really, it’s just about opening our eyes. It’s just about seeing the world in a different way. Because we’re So used to looking at what was going on with us. And there are times we just don’t look outward. And yeah, you know, I think the big thing too is like, taking action. Sometimes we may have that inkling or that push, but to take the action seems scary, because what if it doesn’t work? Or what if somebody, you know, with you like with the elderly, somebody could have misunderstood your intention? And I’m sure that was like a scary moment, right? I mean, you know, and so if somebody is listening, and they have that they want to do something, I guess I would encourage my message of starting small, like, if something seems too scary, figure out how you could break it down into something smaller so that you can just start to take the action.
Yeah, it starts small when build up and do anything, you know. Yeah. Everything like every odd idea starts more like as like as watching some stuff on like Steve Jobs and take their ideas started small. But it grew into something that helped a lot of people like every idea, every business, everything started small was just an idea, an idea and take an idea planted as a seed. And you can take care of this see keyboard, and they will keep growing and growing and going to a very large dream. Where
Yeah, what do you have a favorite story about somebody that you’ve helped or something that happened? Oh, not to put you on the spot. I’m sure you have lots of good stories, but something had an impact on you.
Well, yeah, we went to one lady.
It was Yes, it was one lady. Um, she had no family she’s about in her 70s. I think somebody someone referred to us by cutting the grass. grass was really high. And then once we got done, you know, she broke down into tears, because she just didn’t know, she was surprised. She just didn’t know what she was going to do. Because the city kept on giving us citations and stuff, like, and then we came along and just cut her grass and it really touches. You really made us know, you know, we’re making a difference. Yeah, one loan at a time.
Yeah, I think I’m sure people’s reactions is really what fulfills you. And a lot. Yes, I could see that being like, so validating and, and feel like your life has purpose.
Yeah. I mean, that’s what that’s what I realized, you know, everyone has a purpose. You know, you just need to find that purpose in life. I think I believe I found mine. So,
yeah, I believe you have to Yeah. Yeah. Really? If you can give somebody else’s life ease, you know? Yes. That is that’s like such a powerful thing.
Yeah. Because you know, you don’t you never know what someone’s going through. And like, they might look happy notes. Yeah. And so
it’s not all that happy, right? Yeah, there’s a struggle.
Well, this has been really incredible. I’m so grateful that you took some time to talk to me, I hope that we’ve inspired other people that are listening. And we can take your message even further. Because I do think whether it’s you know that someone’s listening, and they want to get involved in in your movement or get their children involved in your movement, or they want to start their own movement. I, I really think that if we can take that step, and we can look outside ourselves and see the people around us and help them become everything that they’re supposed to be then that’s when we can truly become everything that we’re meant to be as well.
Yes, that’s very true.
Yeah. Well, thank you so much for coming on. Rodney. I appreciate your time and taking time away from your lawn cut movement. takes
us a while to get up and go cut some balloons now. But I really appreciate this opportunity.
Yeah, thank you. Yeah, thank you. Thanks for including me in your journey today. Remember, you can find me all over social media at Betsy Pake. I’d love to hear what you think. And, as always, here’s the little message from my husband.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai