Up for the challenge: Boy plans to mow 50 yards to help those in need

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
Eight-year-old Deegan Patrick is currently participating in the 50 Yard Challenge, a program that encourages boys and girls to mow 50 yards for the elderly, disabled and single mothers in their communities.
Deegan Patrick does some gardening as part of the 50 Yard Challenge.

Eight-year-old Deegan Patrick plans to spend part of his summer helping those in need by participating in the 50 Yard Challenge. The challenge, sponsored by the nonprofit organization Raising Men Lawn Care Service asks boys and girls to help their communities by mowing 50 yards for the elderly, the disabled and single mothers. Patrick is one out of the 50 children in Oklahoma and 1,850 children worldwide who has decided he is up for the challenge.

Lindsay Kaye, Patrick’s mother, said they found out about the challenge after seeing RMLS Founder Rodney Smith Jr. on television.

“We actually saw a story about it on the Kelly Clarkson Show,” Kaye said. “Rodney (Smith) was talking about the program, and I just thought it was amazing. I looked it up on Facebook and it just went from there.”

As children progress through the challenge, they get a new t-shirt with the Raising Men or Raising Women logo for every 10 yards they mow. The shirts are a bit like karate belts in that different colors indicate different levels of progress. Once all 50 yards have been mowed they receive a black t-shirt along with a brand new lawnmower personally delivered by Smith himself.

Patrick, who has been helping out in his own yard since he was five years old, said he started the challenge about two weeks ago. So far he has mowed three lawns.

“My mom told me about it, so I thought maybe I could try,” Patrick said. “I did it because there’s lots of single moms who don’t have people to help them mow. So I want to help them and all the elderly people who have disabilities.”

The 50 Yard Challenge is not limited to only mowing. It can also entail picking up the lawn, raking leaves, shoveling snow or gardening.

“I do gardening a lot,” he said. “I really like getting my hands dirty.”

Right now Patrick can only mow lawns of people who have their own equipment. His mother said people can reach out to her through Facebook Messenger if they are in need or know someone in need of help around their yard.

Patrick said the best part about the challenge is helping others.

“It’s just a warm feeling in your heart knowing you’ve helped someone out,” he said.