Rodney Smith Jr. is a man on a mission. The 26-year-old is set to graduate with a B.S. in computer science from Alabama A&M University next Friday before going on to pursue a master's degree in social work, a field that Smith already has more than a little bit of hands-on experience in.
Going to school full-time and preparing for grad school is one thing, but as Huntsville, Alabama residents will tell you, there's a lot more to Rodney Smith Jr. than books and schoolwork.
That's because Smith has been mowing the lawns of single moms and people who are elderly or have disabilities since last September... for free. He doesn't charge them a single cent, relying entirely on donations to pay for gas and transportation to support his volunteers at Raising Men Lawn Care Service.
His good deeds might only have been known to those that he helps, except for this photo, which went viral earlier this month.
It all started when he saw an elderly man out mowing his lawn.
"I saw that and I just thought, 'I have to do something,'" he told A Plus in an interview.
He tells the story on his GoFundMe page.
"In September of 2015, I challenged myself to cut 40 lawns by winter. A month and a half later, on October 21, 2015, I reached my goal. Since reaching my goal way before [I] planned, I decided to aim a little higher and set a new goal of 100 lawns before winter."
"I reached a hundred and the rest is history," he told us.
Smith goes out every single day to cut grass for those who need the help.
He estimates that he and his partner Terrence cut around 100 lawns a month. "If I have two hours between classes, I can go out and cut two lawns," he told A Plus just minutes after he had finished mowing one family's lawn.
Now he's encouraging young people to develop a sense of responsibility to their community.
Rodney Smith Jr.
"We've got kids from age 7 to 17," Smith said, adding that many have sought him out after hearing about him in the news. "Some boys, 13 or 14 years old, call us up and say, 'I like what you're doing, can I join?'"
It's all part of Smith's vision "to establish an inspiring program to keep our young men and boys (and young women and girls) on a positive path while learning and understanding their value in society," as he describes in his funding campaign.
"I want to restore the importance and understanding of giving back to the community. I want to show our children (our future) that by helping others they too will receive a sense of accomplishment, self-esteem, moral value and purpose in themselves."
"The message I want to instill is no matter how young or old, small or tall they are or [what] cultural background they come from, they are capable of whatever they put their mind to."
Rodney Smith Jr. and his volunteers are truly making a difference.
Check out more of his story here.
Raising Men Lawn Care is raising money to help pay for T-shirts, gas, transportation and equipment. Additionally, Smith hopes to see chapters open up across the United States. He currently has one that is operating in his home country of Bermuda in addition to his team that serves Huntsville and Northern Alabama.
To support Raising Men Lawn Care, please visit their GoFundMe page.
Photos used with permission from Rodney Smith Jr.