Thirteen-year-old Phoenix Brown has utilized his passion for community service to provide free lawn mowing in his hometown of Chesapeake, Virginia. He has now been rewarded with a $10,000 check by Good Morning America and Honey Bunches of Oats to support his prospective projects and interests.
Brown’s journey began after hearing about the 50-yard challenge in 2020 from his father and deciding to see it through. The challenge invites boys and girls, ages 7–17, to cut 50 lawns for free for the elderly, disabled, single parents, veterans, and anyone in need of help in their communities.
Rodney Smith, the Raising Men & Women Lawn Care Service founder, started the 50-yard challenge with a mission in mind. This nonprofit unites “ordinary yard maintenance service and the commitment to establish an inspiring program to keep our youth (girls & boys) on a positive path while learning and understanding their value in society,” as stated on its website.
The Virginia Virtual Academy student has successfully cut 50 lawns for free, which fulfills the requirements of the 50-yard challenge. This accomplished goal earned him a brand new lawnmower, weed eater, and blower from Raising Men & Women Lawn Care Service, as well as a visit from its founder.
“He’s such a determined young man,” Smith said of Brown in an interview with GMA. “Phoenix is my hero, and just like all the other kids in the program, they are my heroes because they’re leading the way, and they’re encouraging America to make a difference in their communities.”
His proud mother, Joycelene Tetteh, told WAVY news that her son’s participation in the 50-yard challenge helped him learn valuable life skills.
“This program really has helped him to build confidence,” she said. “I think it has helped with his communication skills, his ability to network; all of those things matter in life.”
This young community helper has provided such a big help for the elderly, disabled, and more that some people have insisted on tipping him. He took his tips to Norfolk and fed the homeless with pizzas he had bought from Little Caesars, some chips, and water. This giveaway sparked a positive response, and Brown was later presented with a Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Community Service by Chesapeake Mayor Rick West and The Chesapeake City Council.
Brown hasn’t stopped there. He has also volunteered at his old elementary school by taking photographs and mentoring younger kids.
With his future in mind, Brown has already made a decision about his $10,000 reward.
“I’m going to put this [prize] towards my college fund, and some community efforts,” Brown said. “I appreciate everybody.”