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Raising Men and Women Lawn Care helping community | On the Bright Side

It's a different kind of 50-yard challenge... In this week's On the Bright Side, meet the teen mowing lawns for the Mt. Wolf community.

MOUNT WOLF, Pa. — Mowing the lawn isn't something you'll typically see done during the winter.

But Thomas Raphael set out on a mission to mow 50 lawns in the Mount Wolf community and beyond. 

"Getting the work done was more of what I was thinking of, than the cold," he said.  

He's part of the Raising Men and Women Lawncare Service, which offers free landscaping services to neighbors in need.

It's an effort the 15-year-old began in August, sometimes working on five lawns per day.

The positive response from the community motivated the Nigeria native to keep going. He was on a bit of a time crunch and working to reach his goal before heading home. 

Founder Rodney Smith Jr. came up with the idea back in 2015 after coming across an elderly man trying to do his yard work.

"It looked like he was struggling, so I pulled over and helped him out," said Smith Jr. "And that night, I decided, I'll start mowing free lawns for the elderly, disabled, single parents and veterans right here in Huntsville, Alabama."

Raising Men and Women Lawncare Service has now grown into a nationwide program for ages 7 to 17 years old.  

More than 4,300 kids and teens are currently gaining life skills through the program.

"He's teaching us how to do lawn care, and when we're done if we wanted to, we can start our own lawn mowing business," said Raphael.

Those involved are not only giving back, but also leaving a lasting impact on their neighbors. 

"It gives them a sense of pride that someone is taking care of their lawn," said Smith Jr. "It's an honor to mow for veterans. as well as the elderly, disabled and those who can't afford it. They can now use that money for food and medication, things they really need."

After completing the challenge, Raphael was awarded a brand new lawnmower, weed eater and blower. He also received a special visit from founder Smith Jr. 

"I was shy at first, but it was really amazing to meet the person who started this," said Raphael.  

"He knocked it out pretty quick; he's a very determined young man," said Smith Jr.

Raphael will be bringing some of those supplies back with him to Nigeria in the hopes of making a difference there, too.

To learn more about the Raising Men and Women Lawn Care Service, head here. 

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